Don’t call it a shoe store. If all you see when you walk into Undefeated are shoes, then you’re missing the point entirely.
Hidden behind heavily tinted windows in a strip mall on Paradise Road across from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, the Las Vegas store is selling something far more valuable than silver New balance sneakers, printed canvas kicks and high tops so stylish they sell out in minutes.
“It’s more of a lifestyle,” explains Las Vegas native and Undefeated Las Vegas managing partner Chris Julian. “[Undefeated is] a beacon of anything fresh in the city. From the architecture to the clothing that you see and the sneakers that you see, everything is sort of artistically curated. It’s the best of the best.”
One of six Undefeated stores with the rest divided between L.A. and Japan, the Las Vegas outpost opened in 2007 with a mission.
“We want to embody all the things that LA does but do so specifically for this demographic,” Julian explains, adding that the chic minimalist space functions as both a store and a meeting place.
Come in for a pair of Nike SB “Blue Lobster” Dunks and leave with your name on an email list for local parties and events. Purchase a pair of colorful Saucony shoes and take home a new appreciation for streetwear and an updated image. It’s the image of a sophisticated consumer who prefers limited edition Nikes in yellow leather to the mass-produced trainers on sale at the mall. Buying high tops for ankle support? Not exactly. If Kanye owns the same pair, all the better.
At Undefeated exclusivity filters not through exorbitant prices attached to Jimmy Choos or Manolos, but through the simple recognition of inherent coolness.
Of course, it doesn’t stop at the shoes, or even at the shop’s heavy front door.
Julian sees Undefeated as an “instrument to empower and propel Las Vegas creatives and Las Vegas locals. [It’s] an opportunity to see an international prospective of not only footwear but fashion and everything that comes with it – music, personalities.”
“The entire gamut of influencers and brilliant minds of our world comes in here,” he adds, “anyone that’s in the music industry, anyone that’s in popular fashion, anyone that’s in the artistic community.”
That means people like Pharrell and Kanye West, even LeBron James. “Even people with Nike contracts come in and want to have a piece of our imprint,” Julian says.
“For someone to be interested and intrigued by our brand opens them up to a Pandora’s box of different things. It’s not just purchasing a T-shirt; it’s making a friend and being able to listen to new music and see new Web sites and see the lifestyles and the layers behind how all this was created.”
Stepping into Undefeated is like taking a baby step into a local urban community that Julian describes as “brilliant minds and forward thinking people.”
“It’s all a reflection of never not winning. You know, Undefeated. That’s what we do.”