This year marks our 20th anniversary of our innovative sneaker fraternity here at Footpatrol! With an exciting year approaching us, we thought we would give back to our amazing community that has shown uttermost devotion to us over the years. On that note, we take a look at the undeniable history behind our iconic brand. From our humble beginnings in St.Annes Court to the opening of our first European store in Paris. As a special thanks-we are also giving you an exclusive follow up of our celebratory year ahead. We look to do more than just showcase and talk about footwear, we aim to use this anniversary to reconnect with our community and give back in more ways than just through footwear.
Our authentic sneaker journey started in our original flagship store in St Annes Court, located in Soho. Founded by streetwear pioneers Michael Kopelman, Simon Porter and Fraser Cooke in 2002, who envisioned an independent sneaker store with a realm of exclusive possibilities. Feeding into a consortium programme that was top-level and niche, distributing the most exclusive trainers on the market from a limited handful of brands.
Unlike the present day, the sneaker scene in 2002 was a much more closed off subculture that wasn’t fully understood by the masses. With minimal resources to find rare pairs, JP exclusives and other oddities, this left collectors down to their own demise. With access being so slim, this allowed Footpatrol to open their doors to capitalise on the market and help fuel the fire that has become present day.
Taking an inaugural spot as store manager was Wes Tyerman at the time, who became an integral part of our brand’s authentic charm. Sharpening his creative fruition and contributing to some of the most innovative collabs, Wes kept things fresh and inventive, paving the way for eccentric sneaker innovation. Footpatrol became known for specialising in unique drops, top releases and the occasional deadstock pieces – similar to as we know it today!
Boasting a mesh wire cage aesthetic embossed new meanings of a streetwear sneaker space; it was lauded for its remarkable construction that became a well-known trademark across the world. Authentic, unique and simply fluent utilitarian language, Footpatrol was one-of-a-kind; becoming a mecca for sneakerheads not only for London’s growing subcultural sneaker hub, but for those internationally that were deeply ingrained into our community.
After 6 reigning years at St Annes Court, Footpatrol resided into a short departure from the sneaker world. After a 2 year closure, we re-opened our doors in 2010, in the heart of Soho in Berwick street, becoming a standalone member of the JD Group. Signifying new admirable beginnings but also keeping things authentic; we opted for an innovative store change. Swapping our mesh cage aesthetic for a wooden cabin structure that became an iconic translation of our ‘space within a space’ ethos. With our new store fit pushing architectural boundaries, it became a well-renowned space for sneaker enthusiasts across the world.
Berwick street has become the most coveted home for our flagship store, cherishing the unique and outgoing social hub around it. Inundated with record stores, lively bars and clothiers fuelling the niche and hip market that spends a lot of their disposable income in the area- Soho is notoriously a melting pot for culture. With our original St.Annes residency within walking distance, we believed that Soho would be the best focal point for our store, retaining the same unwilted sneaker identity that is authentic – a true resemblance of our community.
2018 signified momentous change; with the decision to expand our brand globally, opening our first European store located in the Le Marais district in Paris. The Le Marais District is synonymously known as the fashionable district in Paris boasting an array of bars, boutiques and galleries. Reflecting a unique, culturally diverse community, reflecting the authentic audience we possess in London.
Mirroring the Paris store aesthetic, our London flagship store was undertaking an immense overhaul, replacing the wood hut exterior into a polished futuristic metal and stone finish that provided an inviting open space fit. The refit was designed by London based architectural design studio, Counterfeit Studio who remains faithful to the same utilitarian charm that underpinned previous store iterations. Oversized benches have replaced the fibreglass sections, with display shelvings and cladding embossed throughout the store, creating a tangible space for both our staff and consumers.
Taking cues from our Paris store, we also opted for a trademark logo change, with the London store also featuring an infinity gas mask neon, with a white refined colour rendition-designed by artist Marcus Bracey and his team – that compliments the new ingrained change for the new Footpatrol London store. As well as being an integral focal point for us.
20 years is a long time and within those 20 years Footpatrol has been able to bring a whole host of releases, collaborations, events and much more. In the early days of Footpatrol this was showcased through introductions to artists such as KAWS, co-hosted with Gimmie 5 having him produce a limited run of pieces including a Footpatrol x Kaws Gasmask logo (to this day is used as the @Footpatrol_Ldn profile picture). It didn’t stop their though, collaborations and special SMUs also passed through St.Annes Court with the likes of the Unkle x Nike ‘Dunkle’, Nike ‘London’ Dunk, Footpatrol Air Stab, Footpatrol Air Epic, adidas Campus and one that we feel is sometimes forgotten, the Footpatrol x adidas ZX800 part of the original A-ZX pack.
Moving forward to our Berwick Street reign we have been able to maintain that momentum initially kick started by Michael Koppleman and Fraser Cooke. Footpatrol have continued to be at the forefront of the London sneaker scene, being a part of projects such as the Consortium 4D Futurecraft, ASICS Gel Lyte III 25th Anniversary with the launch of the ‘Squads’ and even highly limited SMUs with Le Coq Sportif. When you think of footwear and London it’s hard not to think of Footpatrol and some of its memorable events and installations. Things such as Action Bronson’s ‘F*ck Thats Delicious’ book launch, the annually released All Gone book series with Michael Dupouy, Nikes ‘Vote Forward’ campaign where Footpatrol’s very own Alex Hackett showcased her own Airmax iteration and one of our personal favourite moments, the week long Off White x Nike ‘The Ten’ in-store take over! Footpatrol is more than just shoes, it’s a cultural hub based in Soho that has always been there to showcase something new, someone new or offering a platform for you to share your stories and support our community in more ways than one.
Our platform has been used to help supply access to our community to some of the highest heat releases to drop over the last 20 years. Going forward to aim to continue that, you aim to grow and we aim to offer more support than ever before. Make sure you also have the Footpatrol launches app downloaded to keep up to date with any exclusive draws, releases and content.
With the platform we have, the community we have created and the loyal enthusiasts that have supported us since day one. We aim to continue our work and help give our community a safe, inclusive and supporting space that makes all feel welcome the moment they step through our doors. There are more ways retailers can help their communities than just giving access to shoes, there are opportunities for us to teach, uplift those who want to work within the industry and haven’t found their way in and learn more as they find their first few pairs to their collections. Most importantly use our platform to raise awareness on topics we feel need focusing on, our community is more than just a customer. It is our foundation that keeps Footpatrol afloat.
So keep your eyes peeled, we got a year packed up with events, talks, collabs and much more!