Lions Den

Best Sneaker Store, March 2006

Sneakers in L.A. fall into two categories: those you lace up when it’s time to jog around the reservoir and those you walk in from the valet station to the bouncer to the bar. For the latter, Kicks: Sole Provider and Undefeated have long been the places to find out what’s up in sneaker trends. The new kid on the block, however, is not on a commercial strip but tucked among barbecue storefronts and venerable seafood houses in Chinatown. San Gabriel native Raymond Tseng has filled Lions Den with such limited-edition, hard-to-find models as Puma Clydes, Mihara Yasuhiro Pumas, and Tier 1 New Balances. Tseng has rights to distribute Alife’s kicks, and he also goes out of his way to promote L.A. brands like Keep Company and to support local artists—punk-flyer designer Louis Pulido once covered the granite walls with graffiti art.