Foot Locker has come a long way from the small store in your local mall with teenage employees dressed like college basketball refs. For the last few years, they’ve been offering up some legitimately sharp apparel and lots of genuinely funny commercials with professional athletes. Their most recent achievement: a massive, two-story flagship store in Times Square that spans more than 17,000 square feet and features more than a half-dozen shops within shops.
The location opens on Thursday, but Foot Locker invited us and a few other media outlets in for a look around the place last week. But this wasn’t just any old boring media tour. Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Nastia Liukin showed folks around the SIX:02, a women’s shop that brings together fitness, sneaker and runway culture (not to mention leggings by Beyonce’s brand). Cleveland Cavaliers star guard Kyrie Irving was camped out in the House of Hoops shop, pointing out everything from the new LeBrons to his own latest sneakers.
And 7-foot-3-inch New York Knicks sharpshooter/basketball unicorn Kristaps Porzingis posted up in The Foundation, the place for the latest in adidas sport performance. Said Porzingis of the shop: “I think it’s pretty dope. Especially this section right here, The Foundation. This is where you can go and get all the exclusive stuff.”
A few of the mega-store’s other highlights:
>> Puma Lab, showcasing Puma’s most premium footwear and apparel styles (and plenty of pictures of Kylie Jenner and Rihanna).
>> Timberland Legends Club, chockfull of Timberland boots and such.
>> NB United, the elevated retail concept from New Balance.
>> Kids Foot Locker, offering the latest for kids from top brands, as well as a full Nike Fly Zone store (making it a shop within a shop within a shop).
To be honest, it’s a pretty impressive store. If you’re in New York, it might be worth braving all the tourists in Times Square to check it out.
As for whether Foot Locker plans to ever change the look of their employee outfits—maybe upgrade them from college basketball referee uniforms to NBA referee uniforms?—Foot Locker VP of Brand Marketing, Jed Berger, didn’t rule it out. “I think there will be a time when we modernize the uniform a little bit,” said Berger. “But it’s not something we’re planning. And I don’t think we’ll ever lose the uniform DNA.”