Columbus Shopping Guide: Sole Classics Offers More Than Just Cool Shoes

Owner Dionte’ Johnson, a former Ohio State football player, also uses his business to give back to the community.

Brittany Moseley
Columbus Monthly
Dionte' Johnson in his Sole Classics store in the Short North that has an extensive collection of both men's and women's shoes and clothing (Tim Johnson/Columbus Monthly)

This Short North store has a lot working for it, from its bright, open layout and clean, minimalist design, to its friendly and knowledgeable staffers who are happy to answer questions and make recommendations. Though Sole Classics boasts an online store, the shopping is best experienced IRL, with the store’s impressive footwear selection displayed on floating shelves like colorful pieces of art.

While shoes are the main affair, the store, which opened in 2006, also carries streetwear fashion and accessories from well-known and under-the-radar brands. Last December, Sole Classics expanded to include more space for women’s shoes and clothing. Browse through curated racks of denim, hoodies and tees and peruse tables with neat displays of sunglasses, beanies and leather goods.

Women's sneakers on display at Sole Classics (Tim Johnson/Columbus Monthly)

Owner and former Ohio State football player Dionte’ Johnson, who bought Sole Classics in 2010, is also using his business to give back to the community. Each year, the store hosts a back-to-school drive for local students. At its Community Release events, attendees make a donation to a local nonprofit and are entered into a raffle to win a pair of newly released sneakers. (Past beneficiaries include Elizabeth’s Project, Huckleberry House and Zora’s House.) In 2008, Johnson founded Look Ma’ No Hands, a nonprofit focused on supporting those in need through community service.

You’ll go to Sole Classics for a fresh pair of kicks—but the store’s commitment to the city it serves will keep you coming back.

What to Buy

Limited edition drops from Nike go fast, but for a sneaker that’s always in style—and in stock—opt for the Nike Cortez ‘White/Black’ ($85).

Things to Do

For a unique staycation, book a weekend at Sole Classics’ Stays by Sc, a spacious vacation rental designed in the same style as the store.

Find It

Sole Classics

846 N. High St., Short North, 614-299-2290

This story is from the Where to Shop Now package in the May 2023 issue of Columbus Monthly.