Sneakersnstuff, a Swedish multi-brand retailer catering to the global sneakerhead, has chosen the Venice boardwalk as the site of its second U.S. store — and just its sixth worldwide — which is set to open its doors today, 20 years to the day after its first boutique bowed in Stockholm.
A delightful departure from the minimalist, intimidating cookie-cutter sameness that characterizes many a SoCal premium sneaker boutique, the 3,500-square-foot space is warm and welcoming and chock full of nods to its surroundings, from its concrete floors that are the same shade of beige as the sand that stretches toward the water just beyond its doorstep to store fixtures that pay homage to the canals of Venice, California’s Italian namesake.
A piñata in the shape of a giant Nike Cortez sneaker marks the space dedicated to all things Swoosh-emblazoned (including, if you take the time to look, the woven Mexican rugs on the floor) while the space dedicated to Adidas is dominated by an homage to the concrete barbells of nearby Muscle Beach.
Other sneaker brands in the mix include Jordan, Converse, Vans, Under Armour, Puma, Reebok and Saucony (among many others), while the “stuff” part of the Sneakersnstuff merchandise mix includes laid-back streetwear offerings from Freshjive, Pleasures, Levi’s and Carhartt WIP (the U.S. workwear brand interpreted through a decidedly European lens).
In an additional nod to its surroundings, there’s a souvenir shop just inside the front door stocked to overflowing with ironically SNS-branded lighters, Wham-O Frisbees, floating key rings, Nalgene water bottles and graphic print T-shirts advertising make-believe palm-reading businesses.
Co-founders Erik Fagerlind and Peter Jansson, whose adventures in retailing began with sneaker-buying trips to the U.S. more than two decades ago, explained that the locally inspired details — which here included carved wooden column toppers depicting sneakers, sand-sculpture artwork of Dodgers caps and Swedish fish, and a changing room customized to resemble an old-school low rider (complete with a car door handle outside and eight-track tape player inside) — are something that they’ve done with each of their other boutiques around the world (including Stockholm, London, Berlin, Paris and New York — the first U.S. outpost — which opened in the Meatpacking District in December 2017).
With most of the city’s high-end sneaker boutiques clustered around the Fairfax District, what prompted Fagerlind and Jansson to head to the Venice boardwalk?
“Well, there’s a lot of foot traffic, first of all,” Fagerlind said last week, pointing to the steady stream of people passing by the not-yet-open store. “And there was nothing else [like this] on the beach.
“Also, we’re from Sweden, and growing up, we watched movies like ‘White Men Can’t Jump,’ so this is California to us.”