Ten/11, billed as Oakland’s Premier Sneaker Store and located at 494 Wesley Avenue, had its Grand Opening on May 13th. I stopped in to check it out a week later and chatted with the owner, Peter Abramov, and his store manager, Qais Shaghasi.
This space, in the same building as the Leaning Tower of Pizza, was a dry cleaners for many years. More recently it was a bike shop with an occasional pop-up famers market, but has been vacant for a few years. So it is great to have a new business there. The shop is narrow, but it does not feel cramped – the displays are on the side walls, with a table with T-shirts in the middle, and the checkout desk towards the back. Only one shoe of a pair is displayed, and each is shrink-wrapped.
Why the name Ten/11? Peter told me he had a collection of 1,100 pairs that were overwhelming the space in his apartment. So his shoe size explains the name, but there are lots of other sizes too. The collection has many very high-end and/or limited editions (i.e., expensive). Peter said that some are more distinctive/rare than some in the recent “Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture” show at the Oakland Museum. But don’t worry! There is an entire wall of “under $100” choices as well, and that does not mean they are all $99 – the least expensive I noticed was $40, with many in the $50-80 range. One I noticed on that shelf had the New York Mets logo – why? Peter is originally from Queens, but has lived in this neighborhood for over fifteen years.
A week later I went back with my husband (who pretty much prefers shopping at hardware stores), and he was also intrigued and impressed. I highly recommend that you check it out, even if you are not in the market for sneakers. Peter and Qais are very knowledgeable and fun to talk with, and the shoes are beautiful.
Ten/11 is open 12-7 Tuesdays-Saturdays, 12-5 on Sundays, and closed on Mondays. You can follow them on Instagram @TEN11.OAK, on Twitter @TEN11OAK, or on Facebook @TEN11OAK. Their website, TEN11KICKS.COM, is not up yet, but you can enter your email to be informed when it goes live.