Sole searchers

Two lo­cal foot sol­diers are work­ing to give Hal­i­fax the sneaker des­ti­na­tion it’s been miss­ing.

The Coast - - SHOPTALK - East Coast Kicks and Clas­sic Soles 5687 West Street BY BRAN­DON YOUNG

East

Coast Kicks and Clas­sic Soles want to make it eas­ier to stay fresh in a pair of sneak­ers. Open­ing ear­lier this year, the two com­pa­nies have been of­fer­ing ex­clu­sive high­end kicks and sneaker clean­ing, restora­tion and cus­tomiza­tion to Haligo­nian shoe en­thu­si­asts, pro­vid­ing the ul­ti­mate one-stop-shop so­lu­tion for all their footwear needs.

Pro­pri­etors and self-pro­claimed sneak­er­heads John Con­nor (founder of East Coast Kicks) and Ty­rone Good­win (Clas­sic Soles boss) bonded over their love of fly shoes when they first met at Sole Ex­change—an en­tire con­ven­tion ded­i­cated to sneak­ers.

“We kind of knew of each other be­fore,” says Con­nor. “I met Ty­rone and saw him do­ing his clean­ings and restora­tions—be­fore then he wasn’t do­ing cus­toms—so we de­cided to col­lab­o­rate and get our own spot to­gether, and the rest is his­tory.”

Mov­ing to West Street, the two en­trepreneurs set up shop in Jan­uary, sit­u­at­ing their re­spec­tive shops next to each other. Since then they’ve been run­ning a suc­cess­ful op­er­a­tion with Con­nor keep­ing the shelves decked out with dope footwear brands (read: Yeezys, Nike x Off-White, Gucci) and Good­win keep­ing pa­trons’ favourite shoes in tip-top con­di­tion.

“Some shoes don’t even re­lease in Canada, most don’t re­lease in Nova Sco­tia, and the only place to find them are shops in Montreal, Toronto and Van­cou­ver,” says Con­nor of his ex­clu­sive finds. “And with Clas­sic Soles we of­fer the pre­mium shoe clean­ing, restora­tion and cus­tomiza­tion—we try to give the full ex­pe­ri­ence at our store.”

While business is good at the mo­ment, skep­tics might be quick to bring up the sneaker shops that have come and gone in Hal­i­fax, but Con­nor says this shop is noth­ing like the rest.

“Most of those stores that are gone now were ac­tu­ally re­tail stores who bought di­rectly from com­pa­nies like Adi­das,” he says. “Whereas with my shop, I buy what I want and I also of­fer con­sign­ment, so it gives peo­ple who want to sell their shoes a chance to use my plat­form and get them­selves paid a lot faster than sell­ing them­selves.”

When it comes to their place in the sneaker fa­natic cul­ture, Con­nor says they hope to be a hub for cus­tomers look­ing to stay up on what’s hot and new: “We want to see peo­ple com­ing through and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing our shop, even if they’re not buy­ing any­thing—just to ex­pe­ri­ence it.”

The unique ex­pe­ri­ence they of­fer is def­i­nitely pay­ing off. Just nine months into set­ting up shop, Con­nor and Good­win are pre­par­ing to re­lo­cate as their small 290 square-foot shop is lit­er­ally stacked “floor to ceil­ing” with shoe­boxes full of kicks wait­ing to be worn. With plans to find a new home on the penin­sula and in­volv­ing them­selves in char­ity ef­forts like shoe drives, the dy­namic duo is in for a mas­sive un­der­tak­ing, but prom­ise keep the orig­i­nal spirit of their shops alive as they con­tinue to grow.

“We’re not your typ­i­cal mall type of store,” says Con­nor. “We just want to al­ways be the place that peo­ple go to for the af­ter-mar­ket sneaker world in Hal­i­fax as well as the shoe clean­ings.”

IAN SELIG

Ty­rone Good­win and John Con­nor are pumped on kicks.

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