Words // Gerald Flores

If you’re a basketball fan or into sneakers, Chicago is the place to be this week. With Nike’s World Basketball Festival touching down in the Windy City for the first time ever, Team USA is in town to prep for the FIBA World Cup, as well as international media looking to cover their every move. But what are the best places to check out in the Chi? We talked to the guys behind Chicago’s best sneaker spots to weigh in on where to cop the best kicks, and most important, where to get the best food in the city.

Diego Ross, GM and buyer, LDRS 1354 
“Our store is kind of known as the epicenter, we might not have the same selection of footwear as some of the other guys, but I think a lot of people feel very welcomed at our shop. We treat people like family, we have a lot of repeat customers, and we also have a lot of art in the store. So we get, on the crossover, a lot of tourists. Our store is kind of like a hub. People come like, hey what should I eat, or hey, where should I go tonight, or where should we stay? So, aside from them shopping and buying our brand, and buying footwear from us, we become that go-to place in the city.”LDRS 1354
Where to go? “From a tourist standpoint, you want to go to Millenium Park and check out the Bean.”
What to eat? “Number one of all is Portillos [Chicago-style hot dogs]. If you’ve never been there before, you’ve got to go”

(LDRS 1354 photo by Brooklyn Wheeler)

“Basically, we’re a smaller Flight Club. It’s a consignment store. It’s pretty much the only major consignment store in Chicago right now. Sneakerheads come here when they missed out on something. A lot of people snooze on a sneaker, but then they know the only place to get it at a good, decent price would be us. I’m not trying to bash Flight Club or anything, but if you’re local, or if you’re in visiting the city, this is the best spot for you. We have people, prices, we can pretty much get our hands on anything, even if we don’t have it in the store.”
Where to go? “There’s one really cool spot that just opened up called Fulton Market Kitchen. It’s a restaurant, bar, and a fully functioning art gallery where you can actually buy the art as well. They have a lot of work from local artists.”
What to eat? “Hands down, you have to go to Giordanos. If you want a really good deep-dish pizza, then that is the spot.”

David Robinson, manager and buyer, Saint Alfred
We're listed as a top-tier account so we're fortunate enough to be able to bring in some of the more sought after product consumers are looking for. We've also positioned ourselves to become synonymous with Chicago. All of our graphics and most collabs are inspired by the rich history of the city as well the people that live in it.”
Where to go? “Chicago is a such a complex city you can't just name one thing. The main thing I tell people is don't spend all of your time downtown go to some of the neighborhoods around the city. Talk with the people and experience the culture and food of the city. Just be aware of where you go. It's the same thing I tell people when they first go to NY, don't spend all of your time in Manhattan.”

Where to eat? “Chicago has a really big food culture and we're fortunate that there are more than a few good restaurants near the shop so it really depends on what mood you're in. If you're in the mood for Chicken you obviously have to go to Harold's which is a Chicago staple. Lillie Qs also has good BBQ. If you want Mexican there's Big Star, La Pasadita or Antique Taco. If you want Middle Eastern there's Falafel grill and Sultan's Market. If you want a ill salad you can go to Goddess and the Grocer where you can make your own. For good breakfast there's Milk and Honey or Bongo Room. For really good vegetarian you have to go to Handlebar. For good Jerk of you're lucky you can catch Dion's Jerk trick rolling around Wicker.”  

Melo Rosario, owner, Born With Soul
“We have a large variety of older stuff- releases from back in 2000, a lot of quickstrike stuff, Air Maxes, and a lot of really rare stuff. We’re also a full service salon with three female stylists, and two barbers. It’s all one space with the front half of the shop being the boutique, and the back half being the actual hair salon. It all works in one space, and at the same time, as a hobby I build motorcycles, so there’s a motorcycle in the middle of our floor that I built from the ground up.”
Where to go? “I would say definitely Wicker Park for all the stores, clubs, and bar scene. It’s like being in New York and going down Broadway.”
What to eat? “Wasabi is a pretty well known sushi spot. Three blocks away from the store is a small bar district. One of those places is Revolution Brewing Co, which is a top shelf bar.”