words // Zac Dubasik

Sure, NIKETOWNs are great. And yeah, there’s a Foot Locker in every mall. But if you're a fan of this site, and reading this, chances are you’ve probably shopped, and even picked up a pair or two of kicks at a boutique. You may have even dreamed of opening up your own.

Boutiques are commonplace in the sneaker world these days. In cities both big and small, they seem to pop up with regularity. Some last, and others don’t. Many of the best, which you’ll see featured here, have been around for years. They’ve earned the opportunity to collaborate with some of the brands they carry, on exclusive footwear, which has become bragging rights for a successful spot.

But while exclusive collaborations are great, there’s more that makes a boutique a unique experience. You expect a different level of customer service and knowledge from the employees at a boutique than at some of the larger chains. You may also look for them to carry harder-to-find brands, and products that, while maybe not as popular, push trends in new directions.

If you frequent these boutiques, or even just wish you had access to one, here’s your chance to tell them what you want. What can your local spot do better? What are they already doing right, and you’d like to see more of? Beyond just having the most exclusive releases and collaborations, what do you want from your local boutique?