ColaKicks was started in 2017 by then-USC students Josh Kilgore and Adam Patrick. (Photos by Langston Brooks/Carolina News and Reporter)


Retro-black toe is accented by royal blue with a snowy white base.

That’s a description of the original Jordan 1 Retro High sneaker named “Fragment,” which is ColaKicks co-founder Josh Kilgore’s favorite athletic shoe of all time.

Kilgore and Adam Patrick started ColaKicks in 2017 during their senior year at the University of South Carolina to bring the “sneakerhead” community and its culture to Columbia and students. Now, the store is arguably the place to shop for your favorite athletic shoe.

The business trades sneakers and buys them, making the ColaKicks environment unique and interactive while extending the life of footwear and other apparel.

The two started the idea in their shared college apartment, selling items online as a side gig to make some extra money for rent, food etc.

“Rather than working a job, I could flip stuff online,” Kilgore said. “Patrick would sell me a couple of shoes he would purchase and I sold them online, so it got to the point where it was real.”

As their senior year kicked off this past September, the two started to look at spaces around Columbia– turning their ideas into a bricks-and-mortar business.

“Right before classes were about to start, we went and looked at some spaces for the hell of it and thought, ‘Man, we could really do this,’” Kilgore said.

Kilgore and Patrick thought at the very worst, opening up a store would look good on a resume and to future employers after graduation.

ColaKicks originally started at a space on Rosewood Drive but when the business became more profitable than expected, they moved it to their now permanent location in Five Points.

Its reach has expanded as well, to locations in North Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Augusta, Savannah, Columbiana Mall and even Long Island, New York

“I used to get my one pair of school shoes a year and be pumped to wear them the first day of school,” Kilgore said. “There are people that come in like that now. So it’s cool they can get what they want even if it is sold out somewhere else.”

The business trades sneakers and buys them, making the ColaKicks environment unique and interactive while extending the life of footwear and other apparel.

USC student Que Smalls says ColaKicks – Five Points will always have a special place in his heart even after he leaves Columbia.

“I really like going to ColaKicks because they always have something different and diverse than other retailers,” Smalls said. “Plus it’s affordable, so that’s always a plus for a college student’s budget.”

Smalls’ favorite sneaker brands include Nike, Jordan, Crocs and Yeezy by Kanye West, with one of his favorite shoes in his collection coming from ColaKicks.

“One of my favorite purchases is the Cap and Gown Jordan 11s that I bought from ColaKicks,” Smalls said. “They were such a lifesaver because I couldn’t find them anywhere else and they were helpful from start to end.”

ColaKicks also sells other fashion items such as vintage streetwear, designer bags, various hats and collectible items such as Wheaties boxes and toy figurines.

One of Kilgore’s highlights of the business and what he says makes it different from other competitors is the appreciation that is shown for its employees.

“We shut all our stores down for 4 or 5 days and we take all of our employees on a trip going to the beach or the mountains just becoming closer and having friends,” Kilgore said.

Trips like these are what the two co-owners look forward to every year as they feel it strengthens the true “sneakerhead” bond that has made them successful.

“Now we’re at the point where people talk back and forth on a day-to-day basis from different stores but they’ve never met in person so it allows them to do that and I really get a lot out of it,” Kilgore said.

Looking into the future of ColaKicks, the business is about to expand again, opening a second store in Charleston on King Street.

“We like having a feel that we enjoy ’cause we know what we remembered as kids, so we wanna pass that along to other people,” Kilgore said.

The business sells its merchandise online as well at, where you can find new and pre-owned products from any of its stores on the East Coast.

The business’s Five Points store is located at 902 Harden St.

Vintage streetwear, designer bags and hats are sold at ColaKicks as well. 

The business buys and trades sneakers with customers, making for an interactive environment. 

ColaKicks just opened its second Charleston store, on King Street, earlier this month.