Best Sneaker Store - 2009
Project 51 Premium Goods Store
Courtney Williams is rummaging through a bottom cabinet inside Project 51 in Coconut Grove. He pulls out an alien-looking boot in a moss green, violet purple, and night black color motif. The heavyset sneaker pimp proudly holds up a Nike Convoy Huarache basketball shoe, circa 1993. "I had a pair just like these when I was a kid," Williams explains. "I dogged them out. I found this pair two years ago on eBay." Ten months ago, Williams converted his sneaker love into a business, opening up the first specialty store of its kind in the Grove. "I was going to open on the Beach," Williams says, "but then I realized the Grove didn't have anything like this." Indeed, Project 51 is like walking into a candy store, except the sweets are the multicolored Adidas, Nike, Puma, and Supra athletic shoes lined up on the rainbow-hued shelves. "I'm a sneaker collector," Williams says enthusiastically. "I collect them like crazy. You are not gonna find these shoes at Foot Locker or Champs." And his eye for exclusive kicks can't be doubted. He has stocked the limited-edition ?uestlove gold pack Nike Dunks. The Portland sneaker maker produced only 200 of them. "Those sold out quick," Williams notes. But there are still plenty of other tight sneakers to choose from, including a nice selection of skateboard sneakers by Supra, which have gained notoriety since Lil Wayne has been sporting them. Of course, buying a sweet pair of kicks requires that you find an equally dope T-shirt to match the ensemble. Project 51 has you covered there too, carrying underground labels such as Kidrobot, 10.Deep, DGK, and Crew. You can check out Project 51 Monday through Wednesday from noon to 9 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.