Retail Therapy: The Full Kit, Iowa City, IA

I recently found myself in Iowa City for the night... on the way to Omaha. I'd never been in this city before (pretty sure), but lucked into a relatively cheap hotel room and paged through one of those "downtown" tourist magazines. I noticed a store that did some high-end gym shoes, and as any sneakerhead would do, I had to check it out the next morning. 

I arrived on a rainy Friday morning right at their opening time of 11AM, but the door was locked and no lights were on. Since I'd trudged out to the shop through the pedestrian mall in the rain, I didn't have a problem taking some exterior pics and waiting a few more minutes to see if someone showed. Plus, the storefront looked great and even if I had to wait a bit, I wanted to see inside.

As luck would have it, the proprietor arrived a few minutes later and let me right in. I was very glad I had waited. "Pretty little maids all in a row"...

They had a nice mix of product and brands from Nike, Levi's, Herchsel, Adidas, New Balance, Vans, Asics, Saucony, etc... including items like jackets, jeans, t-shirts, hats, etc. It seemed like the full price kicks had all the sizes for a size run still left, and kept the premium prices. The reduced price kicks got a break on the price, but were down to 1-3 sizes left in the size run, so you'd have to luck into your size. They also had a "skater" feel, which I would guess is how the store started, but now seems to be more of a men's fashion store with a casual or street vibe. You could still find a deck, trucks, etc. but that was alongside premium denim from Levi's skate collection (adding Cordura and Lycra), and other fashion accessories that a hardcore teenage skater wouldn't be interested in.

I don't know enough of the complexities to explain the levels of shoe store ranking for each shoe brand, but I believe this store is placed on a higher level than your local Foot Locker or Shoe Carnival. As such, they are given access to premium, exclusive, high-end products, that you can't find just anywhere. It makes the potential to be wearing a shoe almost no one else wears pretty high if you see it and buy it here. And sure, some of the shoes here are similar or the same models at larger stores.

As an example of this upper echelon product, below is a Premium series Vans shoe. High-quality, buttery leathers, and this one sports a zipped on/off option. I'd never seen one before. Pretty dang sweet, but not my size.

If you happen to be on the I-80 highway and would be driving by Iowa City anyways, I'd highly recommend you get off the highway for lunch and walk the ped mall. You can make this a quick stop and then get back on the road. I would also try-on in the store as they only offer in-store credit on returns.

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