STORE: Air Traffic Control

CITY: Miami Beach, FL

SINCE: 2008

OWNED BY: Daai Lo, Mark Bolkovich, David Toribio

PRICES: $$$$ (out of 5)

WHY WE COSIGN: As of late, sneaker boutiques have been popping up like babies in the '50's. And if you consider yourself a sneakerhead that should be good news. But what we've noticed are a bunch of stores with no differentiating qualities, all peddling the same semi-exclusives. What happened to having design concepts as dope as the products you were selling? Looking to distance themselves from the rest of the kick pushers, the folks behind Miami Beach's Air Traffic Control have done just that with one of the most inventive shop themes we've seen: an airport. What better place to get fly?

Opened by three homies who shared a love of sneakers, it's obvious as soon as you walk through the doors that this isn't one of those fly-by-night pop up shops. The first think you'll notice is the cool stainless steel shelving that holds sneakers sick enough to make Bun B drool—If you can't find a pair in this consignment-type shop, you probably can't get 'em. You'll then peep the large conveyor belt that shuffles sneakers around much like the baggage claims found in real airports. Pretty genius. And, of course, they also stock dope t-shirts and hats to match with your newly purchased kicks. All in all, this is easily one of the coolest sneaker spots we've visited. If you wanna get your shoe game proper, Air Traffic Control can guide you in the right direction.

Read on for our interview with the Owners, pics of the store, and the address/web site...

BRANDS CARRIED: Jordan, Nike, A Bathing Ape, Adidas, Reebok, Puma, New Balance, Converse, Fila, aNYthing, Crooks & Castles, D.A.D.E., Mi Gente, Play Cloths, and Staple

ATC x New Era 59Fifty Fitted

Complex: What is the aesthetic you're striving for at Air Traffic Control?

Owners: Our goal was to bring concept to consignment. So mixing industrial stainless steel shelving with our check-in style register, conveyor belt centerpiece, and a pair of waiting room style benches, we felt we'd arrived at a good balance in carrying out our airport-inspired theme. As well as offering the largest variety of exclusive kicks in the Miami area.

Complex: Describe your favorite piece in stock right now.

Owners: The Nike Air Force 1 "Atmos" is a shoe commonly overlooked at our shop. To us it represents an era when collaborations weren't a dime a dozen, before quality control seemingly went out the window and "Obsessive Sneaker Disorder" made its debut on Oprah, and when Flight Club was simply,

Complex: Who are your style icons?

Owners: Collectively, we share an affinity for anything Ralph Lifshitz (Ed Note—that's Ralph Lauren to those who don't know). As far as sneakers go, we can't go without acknowledging Tinker Hatfield. Elephant print is arguably as iconic as any LV or Gucci monogram print. Style icons are everyday people just the same, though. They walk the streets of New York City, and they're the basis and true inspiration for our style.

Complex: What was the first designer item you bought or wore?

Mark: My prized possession as a youth were a pair of tan, Polo Country cookie boots, which I'm happy to say, I still have to this day in their original box. I break them out every now & then for nostalgia's sake, but that quickly fades after an hour or so, when I realize my foot has grown some since then, and sacrificing comfort for the sake of style just isn't a priority these days. I know, sad.

Complex: What are your retail plans for the future?

Owners: Our business was born based on a shared love for sneakers, and while that's currently the core of our shop, we'd be fools to pigeonhole ourselves to that category only. The market is forever changing. Versus being stubborn and essentially going down with the ship, we're prepared to embrace change. ATC is beyond sneakers and we're looking forward to building our brand and introducing products outside of the world of sneakers. Stand by.

Complex: Any anticipated collaborations?

Owners: Our focus at this point is really just on growing our own brand to a point where we feel comfortable collaborating with others. We're essentially still newbies, and have a lot of ideas that we want to present on our own. When the time is right, and if it makes sense, you'll start seeing ATC collaborations.

1601 Washington Ave. Suite 114
Miami Beach, FL 33139