San Francisco for the sneaker fiend.
March 8, 2006 6:32 AM   Subscribe

What are the best places in San Francisco to find good sneakers? Rare and vintage is nice, hard to find colorways, basically anything that would make people ask, "where'd you get those?"
posted by cramer to Shopping (17 answers total)
I don't know of anywhere in San Francisco, but if you're comftorable shoe shopping online, Zappos has a pretty good selection of the type of shoe you're talking about.

I've purchased from them with no problems, and they offer a great return policy (they have free return shipping) if the shoe doesn't fit, or you don't like it.
posted by nitsuj at 7:05 AM on March 8, 2006

posted by atom128 at 7:29 AM on March 8, 2006

You know what, I've been to SF one time, and it was my most favorite place ever. While walking back from the center of town, we went into a place that had every imaginable style in the history of Adidas and Puma, and some other wacky stuff too. I cannot remember the name unfortunately, but I'm pretty sure it's on Geary St. west of the Fillmore, but way way before Union Square area...
posted by blastrid at 8:54 AM on March 8, 2006

There was Harputs on Filmore. But I went in there a few weekends ago and it seems like they are having a going out of business sale. Very strange. Shoe Biz - multiple locations around the city- has a decent selection - the one on Valencia probably is the best for sneakers. Haight street has a plethora of shoe stores - most of them carrying a decent selection. There is a newish store in Hayes Valley that is all sneakers - sorry I can't remember the name.
posted by Wolfie at 9:07 AM on March 8, 2006

Wolfie - Thats HUF. They also have a location of Sutter and Jones. Theres also a few more other shoe stores on that street.
posted by atom128 at 9:55 AM on March 8, 2006

Response by poster: atom128: Which street, Sutter or Jones?

Thanks for the help.
posted by cramer at 9:58 AM on March 8, 2006

Fluevog is at Haight and Cole (1697 Haight, to be exact). That is all.
posted by idontlikewords at 10:41 AM on March 8, 2006

Best answer: Blastrid -- that was the Harputs that Wolfie mentions.

There used to be the Underground Shoe Store on Valencia, but they've been replaced with some other shoe store (that's still pretty good).

Your best bet? Don't go by store, but neighborhoods. Best neighborhoods for men's trainer shopping are going to be (in order) 1. Upper Haight, 2. Castro, 3. Valencia/Mission District. You can walk the length of each of these districts in about 30 min - 1 hour and the shoe stores are pretty obvious.

There may be some "can't miss" shoe stores elsewhere (like the one mentioned in hayes valley or huf, or whatever) and maybe you can check those out as well.

There's a PUMA store on market near Powell, if you're a fan.

Depending on where you come from, you're not going to find shoes you can't find at home. LA and NYC regularly get limited edition shoes before SF does. I guess if you are travelling from bum-f you'll be happy.

Consider following (a little mainstream/trendy now, but still ok) to find out if there's going to be a launch while you're in town, or to find other sneaker sites that may have sf specific info.
posted by fishfucker at 10:54 AM on March 8, 2006

Huf is on sutter. You should hit that up, then go to the one on Hayes, as they have different things. Also then check out Gimme Shoes, which is a few blocks away on hayes, towards market. near the corner of jones, next door to a coffee shop. Underground got replaced by yet another damn Shoe Biz.
posted by atom128 at 11:45 AM on March 8, 2006

Best answer: Woah I mangled that post. Huf is on Sutter, near the corner of Jones, next to a coffee shop. Then go to the one on Hayes, and check out gimme shoes while youre there (a bit more dressy, but still has some cool things). Underground got replaced by another damn Shoe Biz, and sucks :D
posted by atom128 at 11:47 AM on March 8, 2006

Response by poster: Follow-up, if I may. How does the special edition release work? Are these shops (like those in NYC and LA) just on short lists at shoe manufacturers that get a rep and are sent special editions? Do shops petition for consideration as a special edition destination?

fishfucker, I'll be travelling from the sneaker-deprived province of Cincinnati, and I'll be very surprised is I can't find things I can't get here.
posted by cramer at 12:00 PM on March 8, 2006

Shoe Biz has one on Haight and one on Valencia.

The Adidas Concept Store on Haight St is awesome. It's upstairs from another shoe store.
posted by radioamy at 12:16 PM on March 8, 2006


I've only known what I've read about it, but it seems like what'll happen is the larger shoe companies will announce a limited edition run launch date, give the addresses of stores that will carry these shoes (sometimes company stores or boutiques -- i don't know how they're decided), and then a bunch of fools line up on that date and (seemingly) buy them out before the end of the day.

those sorts of things are for collectors -- if you're just looking for a nice pair of kicks, any one of the stores mentioned will probably have something you like.

Why don't special edition releases occur in smaller cities? I don't know -- probably along the same lines as why films tend to launch in LA and NYC. They're just the biggest markets.
posted by fishfucker at 12:19 PM on March 8, 2006

oh, and i wouldn't say that I deserve a "best answer" mark -- I think many of the other responses in this thread are just as valid. I'm in no way a sneaker/trainer collector, so I'd pay close attention to what other people are saying.

I just think you'll be able to cover more ground if you go by neighborhood -- i mean, you could do 3 or 4 hours in upper haight, check out some shoe stores, get a nice meal, go to amoeba -- then swing through the castro/market (walkable, but easier to taxi cause it's possible to get lost), check out some of the men's boutique stores there, maybe see if anything good is at the Castro theater, then go to the mission (maybe via hayes valley) and check out some of the shops there and then go out drinking, take the BART back (or taxi, if you end up being out late) to where your hotel is at (if it's bartable).

you get the added bonus of getting to see all the other cool shit that's around those locations.

but if you're *just* interested in shoes, maybe map out what people are saying and just go to those places.
posted by fishfucker at 12:24 PM on March 8, 2006

and by "just as valid" I mean "probably much better".
posted by fishfucker at 12:24 PM on March 8, 2006

ShoeBiz has 3 locations on Haight.
posted by atom128 at 12:26 PM on March 8, 2006

Response by poster: Trying to talk me out of a best answer check, how charming. And after you said it was my best bet.

No, I think your advice is solid, since the shoes aren't the main focus of the trip and I already had those neighborhoods on the list of things to do. I'm no sneaker whore myself, just a poseur, but since I'm already using AskMe as a trip planner, I thought I might ask about some unique shoe shops. Great advice by all.

I'll hit the neighborhood business districts and mark some can't miss spots. Checks for fishfucker and atom128.
posted by cramer at 12:55 PM on March 8, 2006

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