At Sneaker Pol itics it is obvious at first glance they take sneakers seriously, with the shoes displayed like works of art against the wall.
But in the past year, their passion has run deeper, with staff taking on designing their own sneakers as well.
Sneaker Politics joined the Reebok Certified Network last year, an elite group of Reebok partner retailers who collaborate and sell each other’s limited edition products. Their first sneaker was the “Rougarou,” their Cajun interpretation of the classic Reebok Insta Pump Fury that took its inspiration from the mythical French swamp-werewolf. It was a short-haired chocolate fur shoe with black, swamp green and red detailing.
“It’s pretty cool that we get to do something, local people doing it, and then it’s actually seen worldwide more than it’s seen locally,” said Sam Breaux, the shop’s manager and a sneaker enthusiast. “We’re a different store that’s doing things that’s seen all over the world, making a better name for our city.”
Since then, the employees of Sneaker Politics have branched out to design for New Balance and in the past month released two designs with Saucony.
The Saucony sneakers were designed in honor of the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. “The Jackson” sports a navy and gold color palette associated with Gen. Andrew Jackson’s uniform. “The Cannon” is a light blue shoe that pays homage to cannons that were painted blue to blend in with the sky.
Both shoes retail for $125, according to the company’s website.
The kind of high-end exclusive merchandise they offer in the store draws in customers from all over the Gulf region, Breaux said.
“A lot of the stuff we sell in here, a lot of the shoes guys buy and they don’t even wear it,” said Breaux. “They just keep them in their closet just because they want that shoe. They have to have that shoe.”
Founded in 2006 right off Johnston Street, Sneaker Politics can now be found in a shopping center on Arnould Boulevard, as well as in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
They are also prepping a second boutique to open soon next door to their Arnould Boulevard location, which will cater to younger people, with less expensive merchandise. They hope to open that store sometime during the holiday season.
Next year’s lineup of collaborations will grow to include Asics and Puma, as well as New Balance and Reebok.
“The coolest thing ever is when Festival International comes around,” Breaux said. “You get all these parents from France and all these different places coming in because their kids were like ‘You have to go to the store. You have to get this shoe for me. It’s the only place they have it.’ ”