Gangsta’s Paradise

by July 28, 2008

Not sure how far behind I am on this spot but, en route to Temple University in Philly to catch the AND1 Mixtape Tour, I made a wrong turn and ended up in the parking lot of a business whose sign simply read “Sneaker Outlet $26.99.” I probably shouldn’t have spent any money at all, but I felt like this was worthy of some investigative journalism – kinda in the way that a UFO sighting is. What I found was a treasure chest of various brand new kicks that was well worth the twenty-minute detour.

The clothing the spot carries might be a little too tough for me fashion sense, but the selection of kicks is above average and you really can’t beat the price – $26.99 for every shoe in-stock. While there were no Nike shoes that I saw, they did carry various styles of Puma, Reebok, Adidas, and oddly enough, a dope variety of AND1 kicks that I’ve really only seen online and in the KICKS section of our magazine. The Outlet’s selection of AND1 dogs made sense considering that AND1 was founded in Pennsylvania by an innovative group of grad-students. Although the brand has been sold to a California-based company AND1 still gets a lot of love around the Philadelphia area. Later that evening fans showed up in strong numbers to check out this years Philly stop on the 11th Mixtape Tour.

I picked up a pair of crispy Reebok classics in white with hints of grey, blue and black. The selection was pretty deep and I was tempted to take home a pair of AND1 Mystique Mids in this blue/purple color, but they were about half a size to big for my feet and my wallet. Just a little less than half of the store is made up of a flea-market style display of various kicks of numerous styles, sizes, brands and colors. Besides that, they had a pretty decent selection of discounted fitted-caps on top of cheap jeans, belts, hoodies, sweatsuits, socks, sunglasses and all of that hood stuff. They also have isles of quadruple-XL tees for those cats posted up on park benches checking out summer runs.

The specific “Sneaker Outlet $26.99” spot I stumbled upon was in Pennsauken, New Jersey and if their black and white computer print-out (“flier”) is correct they have locations in Philly, Trenton and Chester, Pa as well. Though they seemed to totally lack those swooshes that I wish were more affordable, Sneaker Outlet is for the sneakerhead who doesn’t discriminate and enjoys a little variety in their footwear. While the fashion they were pushing wasn’t in my taste, it’s definitely the right place to bring your friends to once they are paroled. Also broke rappers need to check out this place out for all their bootleg tee needs.

While their sneaker selection seemed like it is regularly “hit or miss,” real sneaker heads know the value of a good deal and the benefits of good “pick-through” skills. If you’re ever lost in New Jersey, why not look for a “Sneaker Outlet $26.99.” Even if there is no ring to it – it sounds like a good deal. – MATT CAPUTO