Get Your Kicks

DJ Vice to start the Cosmopolitan off on the right foot with his sneaker boutique

He just might be the DJ world’s answer to Carrie Bradshaw—and he has the closet to prove it. 

“My running shoes are on top, and there’s a Dunks section that goes across, and this is the Air Jordan section,” DJ Vice says, explaining the layout of the massive shoe closet in his Hollywood, Calif., home, where Vegas Seven paid Vice a personal visit. “These are my favorite Air Jordans, Air Jordan 3s, and it continues with the Air Jordan 4s, down there.”

Indeed, there is a method to the madness that is his 100-plus sneaker collection. “It’s like a supermarket,” he says.

But there is gravity, too, to the collection he curates. In the middle of the colorful array sits a pair of custom Dunks that once belonged to Vice’s friend and mentor, the late DJ AM.

“They’re size 12, so I can’t wear them; they just stay right there,” he says, crediting AM as the one who got him into interested in collecting shoes in the first place. “He really helped me kick up my shoe game,” Vice says. “He started showing me the eBay ropes.”

Not that Vice has to go online to buy shoes anymore. Two years ago, the DJ opened his first shoe store in Santa Barbara, Calif. He and his business partner, Nick Sakai, will up their combined games next month inside the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, when they open their second CRSVR (pronounced “crossover”) shoe boutique. 

Vice and Sakai had been searching for a Las Vegas location ever since they developed their business concept.

“The feel of our store wouldn’t fit at a Forum Shops, or a Wynn, or even the Palms,” Vice says. The DJ, who is a resident DJ at Tao and Lavo, says the Cosmo offers convenience: “We’re literally right outside the doors of Marquee, the new club that Tao Group is doing,” he points out. “It’s going to be a nonstop, constant flow of traffic—which is scary, actually.”

The 1,800-square-foot shop, which opens Dec. 15, along with the hotel, will offer a colorful variety of fashionable footwear, as well as clothing, accessories and a Beats by Dre listening station. 

Included in the design is a DJ booth, which Vice and his DJ friends will hop on from time to time for impromptu shows and occasional special events.

Vice admits he and Sakai, who met at McCarran International Airport, are unlikely business partners.

“We were on the same flight out of Vegas going to Santa Barbara,” Vice recalls. “We ended up sitting next to each other and both had Air Maxes.”

Vice asked his seatmate where he got his sneakers, and Sakai, who was working as a wedding planner at the time, said he had driven all the way to L.A. to get them. The two agreed that there was a void in the sneaker scene and, six months later, they opened their first location.

“We had a five-day camp-out for these shoes,” Vice says, pointing to one pair in his closet. “People slept outside of the store for five days, but, luckily, since I own the store, I got to skip the lines.” (He picked up two pairs: one to wear and one to save for later.)

While shoe store ownership certainly has its perks, Vice maintains that he’s earned his stripes, so to speak. “I used to get in lines and wait for shoes, so I paid my dues, in that sense,” he says.

“I remember I walked a few hours in Germany just to find these,” he says, of his beloved pair of Stone Mesas by Nike. “I literally drove two hours, then waited another two hours in line for these,” he says. “I bought two pairs.”

While Vice never thought he’d open a shoe store, he says the retail projects have been a good fit, allowing him to mix business with pleasure. Or, in his case, business with passion.

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