This is what riding Nike's streetcar shoe store is like
As part of NBA All-Star weekend's many festivities, Nike and Jordan completely transformed a TTC streetcar into the ultimate destination for first access to the newest footwear releases. Having taken a trip on this thing yesterday, I can assure you the entire experience is forward-thinking from the futuristic decor to the innovative technologies.
Toronto sneakerheads will no doubt lose their sh*t.
Beginning at a check-in and lounge at 277 Queen Street West, the adventure starts in an atmospheric room illuminated by glowing basketballs, bumping intense music. Archival samples from the vaults at Nike HQ are on display alongside new releases like the Air Force 1 Ultra Flyknit and Air Jordan XXX. Just like the NikeID Loft, a Jason Markk station offers shoe cleaning while you wait for your ride.
Once the streetcar arrives, your ticket gets punched by an attendant and you're free to hop on. Stepping onto to the SNKRS XPRESS is what I imagine entering a (high end) wooden spaceship feels like. The walls and windows are lined with birch, rose gold and marble paneling; the whole ceiling is covered with mirrors.
You're directed to your assigned leather seat and instructed to pop on a pair of headphones and watch an intro video reminiscent of in-flight safety (except it's presented by a cartoon basketball player and tells you how to buy cool new kicks instead of how to avoid death).
At this point, you can scroll through Nike and Jordan's newly released sneakers (including several surprise drops that change every day!) and swipe your credit card if something tickles your fancy. For the rest of the 20-minute ride, you can play games (like basketball trivia or virtual hoops) or waltz towards the back end of the streetcar to gawk at more iconic shoes of Nike's past.
The drop-off location is a second space at Peter Street that's just as ambient and smells like fresh kicks, probably because it's where they store all the shoes. Finally, you can pick up your new purchase(s) and head out feeling really special that you're one of the first to snag these designs.
The SNKRS XPRESS is open to the public (via Nike+ membership) by appointment only, although I think all the spaces are are filled at this point. Kudos to you if you managed to book one earlier this week!
Photos by Jesse Milns.