Courtside Kicks, a Luxe Streetwear Brand, Opens in Copley Place

Meet the unstoppable Burlington-reared trio who turned their sneaker addiction into an empire by age 20.

Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1 Low sneakers, starting at $5,000, Courtside Kicks. / Styling by Anica Buckson/Ennis / Photo by Karin Dailey

Theirs was not the usual cafeteria chatter at Burlington High School. Between bites of school lunches, Kenan Wilson, Spencer Reith, and Danny Sullivan frequently discussed sneakers, from luxury Air Jordans to Louis Vuitton Nikes. Their passion would later plant the seed of a lucrative idea.

See all »

Sullivan recalls one of these moments. “At 15 years old, I was watching Spencer trying to buy a pair of Off-White x Air Jordans. I was trying to understand why he wanted that particular pair so badly,” he says. “Then he explained it—Spencer told me he was going for this shoe because the retail price was $170, and he was going to try to sell it for $2,000.”

By the time the friends graduated high school in 2020, their love of sneakers had only grown stronger. Known for their impressive personal collections of no fewer than 50 pairs each, they’d become the go-to guys in school for advice on sneaker purchases. They realized their hobby had potential when they started making a fair bit of pocket money reselling hundreds of exclusive sneakers on Instagram and eBay that they’d managed to snag.

Then came the pandemic, and with it, a growing demand for limited-edition kicks as people indulged in online shopping to cope with the lockdowns. Observing the ultra-hot sneaker resale market on websites, the trio wondered: What would happen if they took the concept to a brick-and-mortar store? With their college classes moved online and ample time on their hands, they decided to take a risk and turn their passion into a business venture. “Looking at the limited storefronts that were out there [for sneakers], we knew we could create a strong store,” Sullivan reflects now.

Three young men in hooded sweatshirts sit on a bench with a wall of mint-condition sneakers behind them.

From left, Courtside Kicks’ Kenan Wilson, Spencer Reith, and Danny Sullivan. / Photo by Pat Piasecki

Pooling their savings, they leased a vacant space in Natick Mall in March 2021, naming their venture Courtside Kicks, an homage to their love for basketball and the sneaker culture it inspired. What distinguished the store was its unique business model, which involved purchasing sneakers from enthusiasts who had the know-how—and the perseverance—to queue for limited-edition releases. Using state-of-the-art authentication techniques, including AI and blacklight inspections, they verified each pair before offering their ultra-curated selection to their clientele. The best part? Unlike online resale outfits, Courtside Kicks allowed customers the rare privilege of trying on these coveted sneakers, providing a tactile, personal experience.

The initial success in Natick set off a chain reaction. A second location sprang up in Burlington Mall by April 2022, followed by a pop-up on Newbury Street that has since closed. And last month marked their triumphant foray into the big leagues: the opening of a Copley Place storefront in the former Sur La Table location across from Dior.

Looking back on their rapid rise, Sullivan says, “We were all 18 years old when we opened our first store. It was kind of shocking how it boomed and did really well.” For Courtside Kicks’ legions of sneakerhead fans, however, it’s not much of a surprise—after all, the trio has been leaving their footprints on the footwear industry with every pair of kicks they sell.

First published in the print edition of the July 2023 issue with the headline “Best Foot Forward.”