One vital and key element to the sneaker community and culture as a whole are the shops that supply us with our never ending hunger for the thing we love.

Over the years, shopping for footwear has evolved immensely. Some of our childhood stores are long gone while others have survived the corporate takeover. Then we have to take into consideration what the internet has done for both retailers and consumers alike.

Much like all of us, sneaker shops vary… coming in all shapes and sizes. Small shops and boutiques, large retail chains and the online retailers that often times make our thirst for fresh kicks easier to quench.

If you were to ask me what my favorite spot to shop is, honestly, I would have a hard time coming up with an answer. Each shop I frequent caters to different needs that I have. There are the large retail chains that make purchasing the latest performance sneaker easier than it ever was. All the while small shops, boutiques and online retailers are my go to spots to find Retro releases and even older releases no longer available in stores.

Though it is hard to come up with a solid answer, a few things come into play before I head out, or log on, to find a new pair.

The atmosphere found at small shops is what keep me coming back, allowing me to have an experience not found at a generic chain. For example, Sole Supremacy offers me hard to find Retro kicks at prices that end up wont drilling a hole in my wallet. Not only that, I end up staying there for far longer than intended… and its not because of inability to make a decision on what I’d like to buy. Hanging out with other Sneakerheads, enjoying a good conversation or debate all the while surrounded by all the wonderful shoes. A great sneaker shop is like having your very own sneaker convention, every day of the week.

Then there are the online retailers, and I’m not talking about the major chains that frequently have servers crash at checkout or make you refresh your email while you await an order confirmation time and time again. I’m talking about the great online retailers… the Pick Your Shoes, Uptempo Air’s and so on. These online retailers give you all the product the larger chains give you without the stress. No crashes, no canceled orders and you typically can purchase your pair a little earlier than release date. Always providing you with fast shipping and double boxed orders… trust me, I’ve paid good money for shipping at some of these other major retailers and end up receiving a beat up shoe box placed in a plastic mailing bag that took close to two weeks to receive, not worth my $8-20 if you ask me.

There are many options for all of us to choose from, the more the merrier if you ask me.

What is your favorite sneaker shop to shop and why are they your favorite? Whether it be an online retailer or a physical storefront, what keeps you coming back on a weekly basis?

Your local stores don’t usually get the praise they deserve, show your appreciation in the comment section and shout out your shop below.