By Annie Vazquez
"The dopest sneakers at the illest prices" is the slogan for South Beach’s newest unisex boutique: Training Camp. And rightly so.
Straight from New York, the 3000-square-foot shop is filled with over a few hundred kicks, clothing and accessories priced under $250. Popular brands like Nike, Reebok, New Balance and Adidas are the main attraction. Also, stocking the shelves are lesser-known labels or what Store Manager Claude Hayot likes to call the three "alternative brands": PF Flyers, Supra, and Clay.
The brainchild behind Training Camp is Udi Avshalom, 37, an Israeli immigrant who has been in the sneaker biz for decades, with leading names in the hip-hop world such as Wu-Tang Clan and Sean (Diddy) Combs buying from him. "He’s considered a sneaker guru," says Oded Nir, the store’s director of operations. "But he likes to be like one of the guys."
Avshalom started hustling kicks in the streets of the Big Apple as a tween and then later on while working at his dad’s discount store called The Boss is Crazy. The first sneakers he sold were a pair of purple KangaROOS in 1983. By 1996, he had opened the first of twelve boutiques with the 3-month-old Sobe location being numero uno out of NY.
Nir says all the stores look similar in design and exude comfort. Cream-colored floors, white couches and walls, and wood shelves are the décor. Playing up the vibe is loud hip-hop and rap music blaring from the store’s speakers. Catering mainly to teens and 30-year-olds, the boutique offers the ladies and gents their own shopping areas. In the women’s section, Nikes featuring girly prints with pink neon shoelaces are the showstoppers. Also noteworthy are the ballet slippers by Report, which are perfect for any dancing diva. Aside from footwear, there’s workout apparel and gym bags. And Avshalom didn’t forget the mommies, as he has a table overflowing with itty-bitty Jordans for toddlers and babies. For the fellas, rows and rows of shoes, from Air Force One to Nike Dunks to Converse, fill the walls. There are also T-shirts by Fox, Levi’s jeans and Supra hats galore.
Although they might be the new kid on the block, Nir says he’s confident the store is going to be a success. "There’s no store like this in Miami," says Nir. "And no store that cares about the consumer like we do."
Training Camp, 100 16th St, Miami Beach; 305-673-4828
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