Sneakerheads Can Stop Searching for the Perfect Shop Now

Sneaker culture has exploded over the past few years. At the height of sneaker hype, sneakerheads camped overnight outside storefronts and shut down entire street blocks. So when Jeff Staple released the now-legendary Nike SB “Pigeon” Dunks at Reed Space in 2005, the New York Police Department had to deploy a SWAT team to tame the crowd. 

Sneaker Riot

Since then, shops have shifted their focus to internet releases to prevent similar situations. Unfortunately, online drops present their own headaches because the most hyped sneakers sell out within seconds. Part of successfully curating a personal sneaker collection is knowing which stores have access to the most exclusive sneakers and sneaker trends. We’ve rounded up a list of stores that should be on your radar. 

Bodega (Boston, MA / Los Angeles, CA)

“Hidden in plain sight” is Bodega’s slogan. It fits since the sneaker boutique is tucked away behind a secret door behind fake shelves in a facade convenience store. Over the shop’s history, they’ve collaborated with Nike, Vans, New Balance, and Reebok to release their own versions of legendary silhouettes. Those relationships with the biggest brands have made Bodega a reliable spot for exclusive sneakers. 

Pro Tip: Bodega has a calendar on their site that tracks upcoming releases. Click on the icon with the sneaker you’re interested in, and it will list release details. If the item is a QuickStrike, it will be released via raffle.


Black Sheep (Charlotte, NC)

Nike SB Dunks have been making a comeback. As resale prices climb, original releases are getting more attention. However, only a few select shops get shipments, or buyers have to try their luck on the SNKRS app. Charlotte’s Black Sheep is one of the few skate shops that have been blessed with a Nike account and even released their own Dunk collaboration in 2019. However, like other small skate stores, they only limit exclusive releases to locals. However, the shop will make their collaborations available for nationwide purchase.

Pro Tip: Black Sheep provides release details on their Instagram. They tend to partner with Copdate for raffles if it’s an exclusive release.


Concepts (New York, NY + Boston, MA)

Concepts is a prominent name in sneakers and streetwear. With multiple storefronts in Boston and New York, the shop is regularly at the forefront of hyped releases and is a go-to for sneakerheads. In addition, they have released several collaborations with Nike SB (including the famed lobster series) and have an ongoing partnership with NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving.

Pro Tip: Keep a close eye on Concepts’ release page. They will list upcoming releases with details on how to purchase in-store and online.

Flight Club

Flight Club (New York, NY / Los Angeles, CA / Miami, FL)

Many sneakerheads have found their grails thanks to Flight Club. The store changed the sneaker game when it opened in 2005. With a consignment set up — meaning the store acts as a facilitator of sales between collectors — the shop provided buyers new access to rare sneakers. Many Flightclub’s sneakers are overpriced compared to their market value because resellers set the prices. 

Pro Tip: Flight Club is more of a marketplace for resellers, so there are no raffles or calendars to follow. You can simply check the website to see if the pair you want is in stock, select your size, and browse through price options.


KITH (New York, NY / Brooklyn, NY / Miami, FL / Los Angeles, CA)

KITH is one of the biggest streetwear brands in the industry. Its name is short for “kith and kin,” which is an old-fashioned way of saying “friends and family” — perhaps a nod to their ability to deliver the very best to their consumers. Through thoughtful collaborations with New Balance, Nike, and Lebron James, the store has built its reputation.

Pro Tip: KITH’s blog details upcoming releases with full details on how to purchase online and in-store.


Premier (Grand Rapids, MI)

Premier is another skate shop that gets a steady stock of sought-after sneakers. Like Black Sheep, the store is a go-to for Nike Dunk SB releases. They’ve teamed up with Nike a handful of times to release several Dunks bearing the Premier brand. In addition, they are one of the very few skate stores that will ship exclusives nationally — if you can manage to win the raffle. 

Pro Tip: Download Premier’s app from GooglePlay or App Store and follow them on Instagram. Premier usually posts exclusive releases 12 to 24 hours before raffles go live on their app. Raffles are only open for entries for a 10-minute window, so make sure Instagram notifications are on for Premier. 


UNDEFEATED (Los Angeles, CA / San Francisco, CA / Phoenix, AZ / Las Vegas, NV)

NBA players have become marketing and media moguls, and with that, signature sneakers are often among the most hyped releases. The store, which opened in 2002, has credited its inspiration to merging sports, art, music, and street culture. UNDEFEATED is a primary source for the latest basketball kicks and a limited number of brands that have collaborated with the late Kobe Bryant. 

Pro Tip: Release options vary depending on the sneakers. Follow UNDEFEATED’s news page for details. Additionally, UNDEFEATED may release in-store at their locations, on their own site, and through SNKRS.


Union Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)

Although Union has only recently taken the sneaker industry by storm, the store has been around for years. Union was initially opened by Mary Ann Fusco and James Jebbia (who would eventually found Supreme) in 1989 in New York. Unfortunately, that store was forced to close in 2009. Its Los Angeles counterpart opened in 1991, but collaborations with Jordan Brand in 2018, 2020, and 2021 have launched the store to new heights.

Pro Tip: You can purchase from Union on their site. However, if you reside in LA County, Union often reserves some stock for in-store purchases for locals. 

If you would like to learn more about sneaker marketing and distribution or would like to explore a career in sneaker retail, download Yellowbrick’s Ultimate Sneaker Career Guide.

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