Shops We Love: Kendo

This Hollywood sneaker haven might as well have a "No Boys Allowed" sign on the door. Not that guys aren't welcome, but this shoe emporium is devoted entirely to hip kicks for the ladies. Co-owners Arsen Salatinjants and Vladimir Borges decided to focus on L.A.'s women when they opened up shop on the bustling stretch of Melrose Avenue. "Most sneaker stores are very male driven and offer women's styles as an afterthought," says Arsen. "Our vision was to have a destination store for women with a wide selection of designs, so women had more of a choice."
The diminutive space with rich woods was designed to convey a classic Victorian feel, and the result is both sophisticated and friendly, as well as an unusual contrast against the amped-up contemporary offerings from brands like Nike, Adidas, Toms, Converse, and Etnies. But these aren't the same shoes that you'll see on every girl in town. Arsen and Vlad choose limited and special editions that are tough to find elsewhere. Wacky color-combos abound, but understated tones and traditional fabrics with interesting twists are also on view.
"We have fashion forward women who visit us often, but we also have customers who you might never think would be interested in sneakers who come in and make the most surprising choices," Arsen says. "Our customer ranges from the super sneaker head to women who know how to switch it up between heels, sneakers, flip-flops, and everything in between."
Kendo, 7218 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046, 323-934-9450,

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