This is Pasadena’s Only Underground Sneaker Store

Tuesday, August 23, 2016 | 7:34 pm

What makes NEO unique isn’t just its subterranean location but the boutique sneaker shop experience it provides. They’re known for their distinctive feel and hot new sneaker releases.


NEO grew out of Neo39, a sneaker and clothing store that was a Pasadena staple for 16 years. The store’s Creative Director, Nick Love, describes NEO as a more exclusive, sneaker-centric iteration of the Neo39. They’ve taken the old storage room of Neo39 and transformed it into an urban paradise – the walls are lined with distressed, reclaimed wood funky details like a retro dentist’s chair and a framed collection of vintage Playboy magazine covers (it stays hidden behind a curtain during the day) add to the store’s laid-back yet classy feel.

“People are very passionate about sneakers and care about the little details,” said Love.

Luis Lopez, the store manager, explains that most stores markup prices on newly released shoes because the demand is so high. As a self-proclaimed sneakerhead, Lopez says “the game” has changed in the sneaker world and retailers are sensitive to this shift.


The first pair of Air Jordans was released in 1985 and the people who bought that shoe were usually fans of Michael Jordan or had seen him play. Lopez says that now the sneakerhead demographic has shifted to younger people – some of whom are interested in the shoe’s design and others who just want to resell the shoes for a profit.

The hype around sneakers has grown to an epic proportion with a new or re-released pair of Air Jordans dropping almost every week. He adds that Adidas is becoming more popular and that they release new shoes a few times a month. NEO operates on a first-come-first-served basis so dedicated fans even camp out overnight to get their hands on the latest shoes.


Love adds that re-released Air Jordans are always in demand and that, out of the 31 retro styles, #11 is a favorite. NEO focuses on men’s shoes and Grade School (children’s) sizes but also carries women’s. They’re found that men’s sizes are the most popular and children’s are a close second. Lopez says that the most in-demand women’s shoe they have is the Adidas Ultra Boost but the Stan Smith and Superstars – both from the late ‘80s – are making a comeback.

“We’re not just a store for sneakerheads but we accommodate the sneakerheads too,” said Love.

NEO Pasadena is located at 33B East Colorado Boulevard. Call (626) 793-7403 or visit


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