A popular shoe store in Towson has moved its digs to Baltimore City this month and is already booming with business.
9/10 Condition, a shop specializing in pre-owned, like-new sneakers and streetwear, opened its doors in Pigtown last Saturday to an already formed line of loyal and eager “sneakerheads.” Owner Roberto Fontanez has been immersed in sneaker culture since 1999, working for a number of well-known shoe stores before branching out on his own with a store model more fitting to Baltimore.
Early in his career, Fontanez took note that many die-hard sneaker fans wear a pair of shoes only once or twice, taking care not to scuff them and leaving on the tags. Then? They put them back in the box, in the back of the closet.
So now, instead of letting them collect dust, Fontanez explains, they can bring in those shoes and give someone else the chance to get a coveted style they missed out on, whether for cost or scarcity. In an age when image is a big part of our culture, he explains, he wanted to be a place where people of all income levels could shop for high-end gear without breaking the bank.
“What sets us aside from retail chains like Finish Line, Foot Locker, Champs and so on, is that we offer a buy/sell/trade aspect,” he explains. “A lot of people want to have high-end sneakers or apparel, but sometimes they can’t afford it. That’s where we come in.”
And that’s not all talk. Recently, Fontanez found a way to give back to the community by donating a few bags of basketball shoes to an organization working with young men at a group home in Baltimore.
Yet 9/10 Condition appeals to a greater audience than just budget-following shoe fans. Celebrity athletes from both the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles have been seen inside, as well as members of music group Dru Hill.
The new location in Pigtown, which opened March 11, will carry the same mix of sought-after items in the sneaker and streetwear culture that made them popular in Towson. They accept trade-ins anytime they’re open and regularly carry well-known brands like Jordan, Nike, and Adidas, including the Yeezy’s, as well as vintage clothing, sports apparel and jerseys. In addition to selling gently used pieces, they have a selection of new styles in stock at slightly higher prices.
9/10 Condition is located at 775 Washington Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21230. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 12-8 p.m., and Sundays from 12-6 p.m. More info can be found at the website here.