As an East Coast city with infamously cold winters, the arrival of warm weather in Philadelphia is a cause for celebration.
Water ice is available in countless flavors, neighborhoods throughout the city host block parties, and for commuters and residents who pound the pavement every day, it’s also the start of sneaker season.
Sneakers are more than just comfortable alternatives to shoes in Philadelphia. They help people show their personality in colorful, stylish ways.
“There are has to be a little exclusivity behind it,” said longtime sneaker collector and entrepreneur Jorge Rodriguez. “They could be a limited-edition color or be one of a limited number of pairs. I want to know [my sneakers] will make a little bit of noise when I step out with them.”
A fan of classic looks and having sneakers nobody else does, DJ and marketing expert Sean McMillan said Philly is known for classic sneaker looks that were ahead of the curve.
“Philly had a strong connection to ‘80s retro sneakers, like your Puma Clydes, adidas Gazelles,” he said. “They were clean, versatile shoes where you didn’t look like you were trying to do too much. You always wanted to look good without ‘doing too much.’”
Finding the right pair of sneakers to explore Philadelphia in is just as important as knowing where to find a good cheesesteak. No matter how loud the colors of your kicks or what they are made from, you’re going to wear them with pride.
“When you lace up a new pair of sneakers, there are few feelings that compare to that,” Rodriguez said. “We come from places where people don’t have much. No matter what, you at least have a new pair of sneakers.”
Great Philadelphia Sneaker Moments
NBA Hall of Famer and former Philadelphia 76ers star Allen Iverson earned the nickname “The Answer” for his brilliant scoring prowess, but it was his footwork as the face of Reebok that made him a trendsetter off the court. His Question signature sneaker was extremely popular and has gone on to become one of Reebok’s most popular designs ever.
Boyz II Men
Legendary Philadelphia singing group Boyz II Men showed the world that sneakers can also be high fashion in a way only Philly natives could. The award-winning quartet wore patent leather Nike Air Jordan XI basketball sneakers with tuxedos at the 1996 Grammy Awards and influenced generations of fans to come.
Where to get your next sneakers
It is the time of the year where the sun is out longer and we all work hard and play harder.
Whether you’re a student looking for the perfect pair of kicks to wear when you’re out with your friends or are just want something fun on your feet to reflect the season, here are a couple of keys to finding the right footwear for the warm months ahead.
Walnut Street sneaker boutique UBIQ has received international acclaim as a notable stop for both diehard sneaker aficionados and casual shoppers alike. Boasting two floors of exclusive offerings from Nike, adidas and other emerging brands, UBIQ has an excellent combination of timeless summer looks like the Nike Air Force I and the latest innovative breakthroughs in sneakers like the adidas Ultra Boost. 1509 Walnut St.
Lapstone & Hammer is a departure from the norm and a great place to start. Lapstone & Hammer features the latest from fashion forward sneaker brands like ASICS and has rare editions of classics like the Reebok Question, a staple in Philadelphia sneaker history. The well-curated sneaker selection keeps up with trends in a way that ensures every sneaker you find will be a breath of fresh air perfect for the season.