As the trainer and sneaker culture continues to get bigger in the UK, I guess the next question is where are the best places to pick up some fresh crepes? This piece is going to cover the experiences I have had over the past few years both online and in-store. I am also going to stick to the mainstream (well known) retailers for now. That is no way a shot at the independent guys but that is a separate piece in itself.
The retailers that I’m going to cover are Footlocker, JDSports, Foot Asylum, Size, Office and Offspring. In my opinion this covers the most recognised trainer retailers and also covers a wide selection and price point.
About the Retailers
Foot Locker is a well established brand of about 30 years and has a global presence. Footlocker offers a wide range focusing around the mid to higher end calibre of trainer. The retailer also focuses around its athletic appeal especially around basketball. Due to this Footlocker is known for its staff uniforms replicating a sports referee.
JD Sports was opened in 1981 (an 80’s baby) in the north west of England. The JD brand is more than just a sports shop. JD Plc has several recognized names in its family including; Size, Scotts, Kooga Rugby and many more. JD sport itself caters to a younger audience focusing around the medium to high end of the market.
This company is a fairly new player into the market, taking a different approach to the trainer/clothing retailing and have been extremely successful. Catering to a middle price range, I would say from a personal point of view Foot Asylum have dictated the trainer and mass clothing scene for the last couple of years.
As mentioned Size is part of the JD Plc group and is the group’s premium end sneaker retailer. Size is in most major cities and can be seen with exclusive drops. Notably and maybe unknown to some this company was birthed in the year 2000.
Opened in 1981, the company went from a concessions stand to its own shop in 1984 on Kings Road, London. OFFICE in my opinion caters to middle of the market but does throw some reasonable higher end pieces in there too. However OFFICE is a globally recognized name with a growing online presence too.
Offspring is part of the OFFICE family and is focused around the premium end of the trainer market. Since opening its first store in 1996 Offspring has been at the forefront of doing exclusive collabs with the likes of Adidas and Nike.
How I feel about these trainer retailers
These are my top 3 at this point in time.
For me Size is the best retailer out there due to my interactions with them over the past few years. I have managed to pick up some really good trainers when they have dropped. Also I have picked up good sale pieces too. I personally have found Size really consistent in what they stock, price has been good and any online order/delivery has been smooth.
2. Foot Locker
If you are shopping in Foot Locker you know you are dealing with a reputable brand. In most Footlocker stores there is a large selection and because of this, sometimes when a hyped trainer has dropped and sold out online, going in store to buy has always worked for me. One thing to note though with smaller Footlocker’s, is the selection will be only based around the demographic and purchasing habits. However Footlocker online has a huge selection to choose from.
Offspring hold a really good selection including the hype trainers and this is because of their focus around the sneaker purest. Sometimes I have found that if I cannot find items on other sites Offspring will have what I’m looking for (kinda weird). If you are looking for a physical location there are only 15 of them so your best bet is to look online. I have found prices to remain a tad high at sales times but take into account you’re dealing with a premium retailer.
The Other Stores
The other retailers for me personally just don’t quite do it for me at the moment. However I have bought from them in the past and will continue to buy from them, if I see a steal. That said, I still respect the efforts these companies make in targeting towards their particular demographic.
So there you have it a quick rundown of what my preferences are at the current time. As the trainer game becomes bigger and the market changes, I may have a totally different opinion in a year’s time. Like I said earlier I’ve missed out the independent stores this time because that is a whole blog post in its own right.
Anyways thanks for reading. Let me know if your thoughts are similar or completely different by dropping a comment below.
Until next time!