The Sneakerhead’s Ultimate Paris Guide

You no longer need to go to NYC to give your feet some love. Paris now boasts a sneaker selection as nuanced as New York’s, and an equally established sneaker culture.

In 1987, Nike wanted innovation, so they turned to architect turned footwear designer Tinker Hatfield. The result was The revolutionary Air Max whose birthday is still being celebrated thirty years later. The inspiration for the sneaker was the controversial Georges Pompidou Center in Paris, France. Hatfield was inspired by the “inside/out” style of the building which revealed all the inner structuring. With this style in mind, the idea of the “air window” was born: a simple ventilation system in the heel of the shoe that revolutionized the athlete’s sneaker. This creative exchange between the City of Love and the Big Swoosh was only the beginning of the Parisian obsession with Sneakers.

New York may have started the sneaker craze, but Paris has taken control

Outside of New York, Paris is the best place to go for sneakerheads. Annual events like Sneakerness and Sneakers Event attract thousands of people each year. All Gone, an almanac of global streetwear that circulates the most hip stores in the world, is the brainchild of frenchman Michael Dupouy. And sneaker stores are becoming bigger and more innovative each year. New York may have started the sneaker craze, but Paris has taken control.

If you’re a sneakerhead and you’re headed to Paris, here are all the places you need to hit up.

Shinzo Lab

27 Rue Étienne Marcel, Paris 75001

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Shinzo Running

37 Rue Étienne Marcel, Paris 75001

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Shinzo Basketball

39 Rue Étienne Marcel, Paris 75001

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L'Eclaireur Sévigné

40 Rue de Sévigné, 75003 Paris

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L'Eclaireur Hérold

10 Rue Hérold, 75001 Paris

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L'Eclaireur Boissy

10 Rue Boissy d'Anglas, 75008 Paris

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Le Royal Eclaireur

39 avenue Hoche 75008 Paris

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L'Eclaireur St Ouen

77 rue des Rosiers, 93400 Saint-Ouen

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Sneakers and Stuff

95 Rue Réaumur, 75002 Paris

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Black Rainbow

Black Rainbow, 68 Rue des Archives, 75003 Paris, France

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Le 8 Rive Gauche

Le 8 Rive Gauche, 8 Rue Grégoire de Tours, 75006 Paris

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Le 8 Rive Droite

Le 8 Rive Droite, 8 Rue Dancourt, 75018 Paris

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Size?

Size?, 16-18 Rue Berger, 75001 Paris

Opium

Opium, 9 rue du Cygne 75001 Paris

N°42

N°42 Paris, 42 Rue de Sévigné, 75003 Paris

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Jordan Bastille

Jordan Bastille, 12 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, 75012 Paris, France

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Printemps de l’Homme

Printemps de l'Homme, 64 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris, France

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Sneakers & Chill

Sneakers & Chill, 78 Rue d'Aboukir, 75002 Paris, France

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Multi Brand Stores

 

Shinzo

 

 

 

With five addresses all on the same street of the city center, Shinzo floods the capital with sneakers, mostly Nikes. They cover Basketball, action sports, running, and simple aesthetics—nothing has been left out. Here you can find the latest releases as well as collector’s models. If you’re looking for a pair of sneakers that are out of stock at one store, Shinzo is the place to go. They restock at such a quick rate. It’s like magic. The regulars here don’t mess around. They often leave with several boxes beneath their arms. The store even opened up a pop-up shop on the occasion of their reedition of the Air Max “Atmos Elephant.”

Read expert review of Shinzo

 

SNS (Sneakersnstuff)

 

 

 

Straight out of Sweden, Sneakersnstuff is the shop that put Sweden on the sneaker map. Since then, it has ridden the wave of its popularity and has expanded to London and Paris. Their formula is perfect: they mix the exclusive with the general releases and unknown brands. Be prepared though, you can expect at least a fifteen-minute line before you get to the door. But trust us, the wait is worth it.

Read expert review of SNS (Sneakersnstuff)

 

Black Rainbow

 

 

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The store Black Rainbow is indispensable because it doesn’t just sell Nike: they have a massive stock of brands. Originally a lifestyle magazine, Black Rainbow has become one of the more nuanced sneaker shops in Paris offering brands like the upcoming Falling Pieces and the underrated Puma. And while many shops let the shoes speak for themselves, Black Rainbow goes the extra mile to create a hip atmosphere that sets it apart from other similar stores.

Black Rainbow, 68 Rue des Archives, 75003 Paris

 

Le 8 Rive Gauche

 

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Le 8 Rive Gauche is made by sneakerheads, for sneakerheads. Their sneaker selection and informed advice is proof of this fact. There isn’t a store quite like Le 8 Rive Gauche that will treat you like a fellow sneakerhead. This is the place you want to go if you want to admire, talk and learn all the ins and outs of the different shoes before you make a purchase.

Le 8 Rive Gauche : 8 Rue Grégoire de Tours, 75006 Paris
Le 8 Rive Droite : 8 Rue Dancourt, 75018 Paris

 

Size?

 

 

 

From all the way across the English Channel, Size? has been a staple of the Parisian sneakerhead for five years. Its smooth transition from the UK to France was aided by a number of collaborations with Nike and Adidas that resulted in a huge selection and a number of limited editions. As the name suggests, this is the place to go to finally snag those pair of Air Max TR17 you need in a size 13.

Size?, 16-18 Rue Berger, 75001 Paris

 

Opium

 

 

 

If you’re loyal to Nike and/or Jordan then Opium is the shop for you. This place is a straight-up museum for sneakers. A few years ago a friend of mine was traveling to NYC and I told him he had to cop me a pair of my dream sneaks: Black Jordan VI. Not two weeks later, sporting my new purchase, I discovered this shop. And there they were, a pair of Jordan VI, much cheaper, posed on a shelf in the window, taunting me. Please, do not make the same mistake as me. Go to Opium first!

Opium, 9 rue du Cygne 75001 Paris

Concept Stores

If you think that two heads are better than one then concept stores are the place for you. Here you will find the most recent and interesting collaborations of the footwear world.

 

Nike Lab P75

 

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Nike Lab is the most creative branch of the Swoosh. The Lab has teamed up the world’s greatest athletes with the best designers to blend top-notch innovation and performance. They emphasize rarity and exclusivity, positioning themselves at the high end of the game. Two times I have fallen in love here: once with the Dunk Pigalle, and next with the Air Force One Tisci. Got a broken heart? Find love at the lab.

Read expert review of Nike LAB P75

 

N°42

 

 

 

Nike isn’t the only heavyweight in the industry to reinvent itself with the concept store. N 42 is the conduit between the art world and modern streetwear. The entire Adidas galaxy exists under one roof in this store with a raw and stylized interior design. When the store had its grand opening it was accompanied by performers like Yoji Yamamoto, Stella McCartney, and Jeremy Scott. The store is more of a venue than a shop: I wouldn’t be surprised if they threw a fashion show here.

N°42 Paris, 42 Rue de Sévigné, 75003 Paris

 

Jordan Bastille

 

 

 

The official name of this shop is “Jordan Bastille in partnership with Foot Locker.” Notice anything missing? No Nike. The Jordans have become a brand in themselves. And this store delivers on the Jordans. Two floors entirely dedicated to the great #23. First floor: performance and training. Second: lifestyle. As Jordans are a huge part of any sneaker addict’s obsession, this is the place to go to find all the novelties and reeditions that you can’t find anywhere else. Plus, you have the option to customize your own pair of kicks. Thank you Michael, for blessing the world with your amazing basketball skills. And shoes. Mostly the shoes.

Jordan Bastille, 12 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, 75012 Paris

Luxury Sneakers

You no longer need to scurry the shops of Montaigne Avenue to find high-end sneakers. These shops have done the work for you.

 

L’eclaireur: The Most Luxurious

 

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Since their beginning, the main focus of L’eclaireur has always been to give voice to the talent of upcoming and avant garde designers. Now with five stores in Paris and one in Los Angeles, this shop’s M.O. has definitely paid off. To be sure though, you will still find some of the tried and true original looks that began the sneaker craze. Right now the leading brand of the store is Rick Owens, but many other lesser known designers are fighting for their spot at the top. This is a store more for lovers of rock than hip hop.

Read expert review of L’Eclaireur

 

Le Printemps de l’Homme: The Most Mainstream

 

 

 

Like most large stores, the newly opened Printemps de l’Homme has a huge section dedicated to shoes with only a small, yet well-stocked section for sneakers. The most well-known brands are all available, from Common Projects to Givenchy, all in a welcoming and illuminated atmosphere. A very conducive place to make some real bad decisions. Proceed with caution. And a fat wallet.

Printemps de l’Homme, 64 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris

A Category of Its Own

 

Sneakers and Chill

 

 

 

This store may be the most important one on this list. With Sneakers and Chill, you can finally bring your old pairs of sneakers back to life. Whether it’s a simple cleaning or a complete overhaul, this store can bring back even the direst of cases. You can even let your imagination run free in customizing your kicks. Everyone on the staff is there to help you achieve your personal style. If I had known, I would never have gotten rid of my very first pair of ratty old Reebok Pumps!

Sneakers & Chill, 78 rue d’Aboukir 75002 Paris

Picture courtesy of Coup d’Oreille (Flickr Creative Commons)

Julien Giacalone As far as Julien can remember he always wanted to be a gangster. Unlike Henry Hill, he mostly became a writer. But a strong part of him is still anti-establishment. Which part? Only the good half.
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