There is a place in NoHo, Manhattan, that serves as the nexus for sneakerhead culture in New York City. It’s a store to be exact, nestled in a two room space behind the high-end apparel store Atrium. And as your[quote align=’right’]Unlike in sports, the world of sneakers doesn’t have statisticians, but even without a record keeper it’s easy to tell that Ronnie is the collaboration equivalent of a Michael Jordan[/quote] feet carry you over the threshold from the high-ceilinged walls of Atrium into the dimly lit confines of this store, you find yourself transported into a world of sneakers, boots, brogues and nearly every other kind of footwear imaginable. This store is called Kith NYC, and the man behind Kith NYC is Ronnie Fieg, NYC’s resident sneaker god.
Mr. Fieg’s story begins over 16 years ago, when the Queens native started in the sneaker world. It was as a 15-year-old stock boy for a footwear chain owned by a man named David Z [Did you know that David Z is Ronnie’s uncle? We didn’t either]. From there he graduated to salesperson, then to manager, climbed the ladder from buyer to head buyer, and then got his break: In 2007 he collaborated with ASICS on a set of designs for their Gel Lyte IIIs, and they were such an instant hit that they landed on the cover of the Wall Street Journal. The rest, as they say, was history.
Mr. Fieg has worked hard for his success. His work ethic is reportedly unparalleled and, as you scroll through his Instagram, there is an endless stream of photographs from of his travels and meetings. He appears to be in constant motion, tirelessly designing, selling, and promoting his creations.
The story of Ronnie Fieg entered a new chapter in 2011 when he opened a Manhattan retail space, Kith. The space is as much a monument to Ronnie’s prolificacy as a store where his designs and collaborations are sold. On it’s shelves you’ll find the pinnacle of shoe design and within it’s confines you’ll see an endless stream of customers as diverse as it’s offerings.
Unlike the world of sports, the world of sneakers doesn’t have statisticians, but even without a record keeper it’s easy to tell that Ronnie is the collaboration equivalent of an All-Star: he’s reportedly done over 100 collaborative footwear pieces and apparel, working continually with a laundry list of brands, like ASICS, adidas, Chippewa, Clarks, Converse, Jon Buscemi, PUMA, Red Wings, Saucony, Sebago, Timberland, and many more.
As successful as Mr. Fieg is, his best years are likely in front of him. There’s no telling who he’ll bring into the Kith family next, but waiting for that mystery to unfold is why streetwear is so exciting; you never know what you’re going to get next. So, upon your next visit to Kith NYC, it’s sister store in Brooklyn, or one of Ronnie’s pop-ups (like the most recent #CoatOfArms event in Paris), just know you’re at the center of the sneaker universe.Kith NYC
New York, NY 10012 Kith Brooklyn
233 Flatbush Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217
[Photos via Ronnie Fieg]