ZJ Boarding House

Best Athletic Shoe Shops, November 2008
For athletes whose insouciance is legendary, skateboarders are surprisingly fussy about their footwear. Perhaps that’s because their playing surface of choice is concrete and steel. Skaters large and small mitigate the ouch factor at ZJ Boarding House, where there are at least 15 manufacturers to select from, including best-sellers Emerica and Lakai and the ever-popular Vans. The staff, skaters all, are happy to discuss toe box toughness, the merits of vulcanized soles over cupped, and why canvas feels better than suede. It also has bragging rights: In 2007, ZJ’s skate team triumphed in the statewide “Battle of the Shops” competition.