The entire landscape of the rapidly growing city of Atlanta is evolving but on certain street corners, like the corner of Decatur Street and Peachtree Center Ave., there are pieces of the city that are extremely familiar to long-time residents.
For more than six decades Walter’s has reigned supreme as the go-to shop for the many sneaker heads that call Atlanta home.
For true shoe-lovers, many come from surrounding states to make their way into the tiny shop with a big name and a deep history.
The downtown mom-and-pop shop has grown to be much more than just a key source of fashion and one of the few places to carry a large variety of outsize shoes (their shoes go all the way up to size 18). Walter’s is a landmark and a piece of hip-hop culture.
Countless NBA ballers frequent the shop along with Atlanta-based rappers like Future, Trinidad James, Ludacris, Jermaine Dupri, Young Jeezy and Gucci Mane.
In fact, most Atlantians will even recall one time where the popular meeting spot became a battle ground for two hip hop rivals.
It was back in 2010 that Gucci Mane’s and Young Jeezy’s entourages exchanged shots after crossing paths in the store.
While it made major media headlines, it still wasn’t enough to overshadow Walter’s true reputation as the ideal destination for hip-hop lovers and sneaker heads alike.
The historic shoe store is home to every major sneaker brand that anyone would want to get their hands on, with styles dating back decades for those who want to get back to the classics.
For one Walter’s employee, Patrick Morrison, it’s hard to explain what it is about the humble shop that’s been attracting big names for years.
All Morrison knows is that it just seems natural.
“People come to certain places,” he told NPR. “It’s just the way it is. You just can’t explain it.”
The store is also conveniently nestled across the street from Georgia State University’s main campus, making it a popular spot for students. When news of a new shoe hits the market, lines of students can be found spilling outside of the store.
So while multi-million dollar plans are being put in place to turn the city of Atlanta into an even bigger economic hub than it already is, Walter’s will remain in the center of it all, providing a heart-warming sense of familiarity in an environment that is likely to look completely different in a matter of years.