In celebration of the new Stadium Goods Chicago retail store opening on October 1, 2020, we’re highlighting the city’s rich sneaker culture with a look at Chicago’s favorite footwear of all time.
Chicago is the biggest cultural hub of the Midwest. Everybody always gives love to New York City and Los Angeles, that’s a given. But roughly halfway between the two coasts is The Windy City, the place many would agree is the USA’s third most relevant destination when it comes to finding the best art, fashion, music, food, and of course, sneakers.
Like any other city, Chicago has its own styles, tastes, and favorites. Chicago Blues, deep dish pizza, and hot dogs covered with neon green relish are just a few of the things the city is known for. As for sneakers, Chicagoans love Air Jordans because, well, that’s obvious. But beyond the city’s love for Michael Jordan and his signature shoes, what other sneakers do the fine people of Chicago wear?
One shoe that comes to mind for me, personally, when I think of Chicago is the Air Jordan 3. And that may be the same for most of us that hail from outside the city. There’s just something about it that screams “Chicago” like the way an Air Force 1 screams “New York” or a pair of Nike Cortez screams “LA.”
But since I'm not from Chicago, I won't claim to be an expert on all the sneakers the city loves. To get the most accurate info on what the favorite sneakers of Chicago are—both all-time and currently—we went right to the source: staff members of the new Stadium Goods Chicago store. Below you’ll see some obvious picks, but also some that are more surprising. And yes, the Air Jordan 3 “Black/Cement” was indeed mentioned by the born-and-raised Chicago team, so I guess this outsider's guess was correct.
Like in NYC, the Nike Air Force 1 is also a staple in Chicago.
“Air Force 1s, especially white on white. That is a summer time classic.”
- Zeus Ceniza, Consignment Supervisor
“White on white Air Forces are always huge here.”
- Luis Alcala, Consignment Supervisor
“This CDG collaboration resonated with Chicago due to its high quality and Supreme collab co-sign.”
- Vedant Vasavda, Consignment Manager
Like Michael Jordan, Chicago has another superstar they can claim in none other than Kanye West. It’s no surprise that his adidas Yeezy line is huge in the city’s sneaker community.
“The Yeezy 700 “Wave Runner” has been seeing a boost, as well as the Yeezy 350 in any of the new colorways coming out.” - Zeus Ceniza
“This colorway is undeniable and is my personal favorite silhouette from the adidas Yeezy line. The reflective material goes absolutely crazy. Too slept on.” - Vedant Vasavda
And Chicago didn't forget about Kanye’s first run of sneakers with Nike, which hold legendary status in the city.
“The Air Yeezy 2—Such a time and a place! They don't make 'em like this anymore.” - Vedant Vasavda
As we said earlier, we all know Chicagoans love Air Jordans, but which models specifically? It’s actually pretty much all of them, but the Chicago team called out two in particular.
“Retro 11s still have people going crazy.” - Luis Alcala
“The retro of this shoe last year proved its legacy status, as now it seems to be in the rotation of every sneakerhead in Chicago. The materials and colorway fit in so well with Chicago and Jordan Brand. It's a no-brainer.” - Vedant Vasavda
Chicago winters are especially brutal. The city combats the ice and snow with a Nike ACG icon.
“Since the cold weather is approaching soon, the Goadome is a staple.”
- Carlos Hernandez, Consignment Specialist
Nike Air Max
Like pretty much everywhere else, Chicago also loves Nike Air Max. Two models in particular were called out, the Air Max Plus and its beefed-up relative, the VaporMax Plus.
The Chicago community shows local pride by supporting the city’s boutiques that have collaborated with sneaker brands throughout the years.
We’ll close with a couple of unexpected picks, which are both understated models that seem to show the city’s no-nonsense, utilitarian sensibilities: comfortable sneakers that still have plenty of style.
“Chicago is a bit more subdued than LA or NY. This style reached from Wicker Park to Lincoln Park and all the way back through the city. A basic option that can be appreciated by all is very on brand for Chicago.” - Vedant Vasavda
“A personal favorite of mine. The A-Cold-Wall collaboration put it on a lot of people's radars, but the comfort and sleek silhouette extended this style well beyond that initial launch. This was another style that seems to in everyone that is “in the know” here's rotation.” - Vedant Vasavda