Monday, October 19, 2009

Rugged Sole

Rugged Sole is a sneaker shop I visited deep in the heart of Brooklyn--Crown Heights to be exact. Wait a minute, the Crown Heights where the 1991 riots took place? The Crown Heights where Biggie and Jay-Z grew up in? Yup, that's the place.

The store is located on Utica Ave just about a block south of Eastern Ave, the big tree-lined main street that runs through the neighborhood. To get there, we took the B line outta Manhattan, over the East River on the Manhattan Bridge (great views of the city) and into Brooklyn, then transfered to the 3 at Atlantic, and finally got off at the Crown Heights - Utica station. Musta taken us 45 minutes including the wait at Atlantic. Once we got up to street level, we realized just how different this part of the city is from Manhattan.

This is the New York that tourists don't see. Dirty, decrepit, forgotten. Trash everywhere. People just hanging out on street corners, going nowhere, doing nothing. Every restaurant--except for McDonalds--seemed to operate their cash registers from behind a protective glass wall. The hustle and bustle of the Manhattan shopping, all those tourists spending money, none of that is anywhere to be found in Crown Heights. Just the people who live in the neighborhood, trying to make it. That's it. We actually bought a fresh cut mango in a Ziplock baggie off a woman on the street corner who was sitting there with a box, a knife, and a cutting board. What the hell? You'd never see that in Manhattan. LOL

But on the corner of a small three story building, behind a bus stop and an overflowing trash can, is this great little sneaker shop, Rugged Sole. I think just about every brand was represented: Nike, Jordan, Adidas, Puma, Vans, Alife, Asics, Converse, DC, Clae, Creative Recreation, Keds, New Balance, PF Flyers, Dr Martens, Timberland, Sperry, Red Wings, Clarks--damn I mean, it's hard to come up with a sneaker brand they didn't have. On top of that, the entire back wall of the shop was covered in New Era 59fiftys, including some unique Brooklyn collabs.

What really made the place stand out, though, was the prices--and the random old deadstock they had laying around. So like, there's these pair of Jordan 1s in the metallic red Do The Right Thing colorway that I'd had my eye on the whole trip. Every single sneaker shop in Manhattan had them, and everyone was selling 'em at full MSRP of $110, but Rugged Sole had them for $80 bucks. You know I had to cop em right then, didn't even blink.

Then, while I was looking around at other stuff, I found a pair of Jordan 5s in the original colorway from the 2008 Countdown Pack--the ones that came with the 18s no one wanted. But they were selling the 5s alone, split outta the CTP without the 18. They only had two pair left, and one was in my size. But the icing on the cake was the price: they were originally marked $310, marked down to $260, then $150, and finally were tagged at $100. WTF??? I'd literally held the exact shoes in my hands the day before at Flight Club for $195--and had considered buying them. At $100 it was a no brainer. Cop'ed!

I don't know if it was because of their location, or clientele, or what, but they had tons of older sneakers that they just hadn't sold, colorways that other shops had run out of months or even years ago. So many Air Max 95s and Dunks and Blazers that you haven't seen anywhere else in forever, and at killer markdown prices. This place was a gold mine!

NOTE #1: Rugged Sole has another location in Manhattan in the West Village, which I also stopped by. Even though it's smaller, current brands and products were well represented, but the crazy good deals and the old stock were nowhere to be found. You know those $80 Jordan 1s I bought at the Utica location? They were $110 at the Manhattan shop--and it was the same day.

NOTE #2: In the month since I was there, the Utica location and phone number has been removed off their website. When I called their old number, it was disconnected, so I was afraid the location had been closed, but I called their Manhattan shop friday and they said the Utica location was still open. Dunno why the info is off the website; maybe they're gonna close it or maybe move in the future? Who knows. Probably worth giving them a call first before you head down there tho, just to make sure it's still open.

Recommended for adventurous sneakerheads

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