There are plenty of ways a sneaker shop can maintain its exclusivity -- like keeping spotty operating hours, answering the phone only occasionally, and having a non-functional website. Adding East Bay semi-remoteness to that equation: Verse Oakland. Just a 15-minute BART ride away, Verse is a smallish shrine to sneaker culture, with century-old tiling offset by Run-DMC chains and gold Adidas signed by defunct boy band B2K (formed 2K '01, dis-boy-banded in 2K '04). The stock includes classic Jordan 14's, Bobbito AF1s, and Destroyer Dunks, plus a selection of Adidas and the imaginatively named Bay-Area brand "Bays." Verse also sells custom, hand-painted kicks by The O's own Artistic Sole, whose previous foot-work has honored neighbors like Levende East (local bar) and Cal football (local bears). The store also carries tees and hats from locals like Leroy Jenkins and Oaklandish, plus bigger brands like Crooks and Castles, 10 Deep, and Artful Dodger -- whose president also happens to man Verse Oakland's phone.
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