rarebreedOrlando Dawkins of Tinton Falls checks out a pair of sneaks on opening day at Rare Breed earlier this month. (Click to enlarge)



Newly shuffled into downtown Red Bank is Rare Breed, a sneaker store at 16 White Street.

Owners D.J. Senatore and Stephen Perri, who moved their business here from Brighton Avenue in Long Branch, are counting on what they say is a distinctive  mix of sneakers, T-shirts, caps and accessories to draw customers to their storefront across the street from Nirvana.

“I hate the word ‘streetwear,’ but that’s one way to describe what we sell,” says Senatore.

Rare Breed, which also sells through its website, carries Adidas, Nike, Reebok, Puma, New Era, Converse and Stussy, among other brands. But “we mainly do stuff you won’t find in the malls,” Senatore says.

The 26-year-old, who lives in Woodbridge, has been a sneaker collector for more than a decade. He owns 200 pairs of Reebok Pump sneakers. Opening a sneaker store was the logical move after he graduated as a communications major from Seton Hall in 2006. He met his 28-year-old partner through a mutual friend.

Perri, who lives in Oceanport , was looking to start a shoe store. Senatore had the sneaker expertise. They opened in Long Branch’s West End section in May 2007.

So why move to Red Bank?

“It’s a better location, more foot traffic year-round,” says Senatore, whose initials stand for David Jon. “Long Branch is great in the summer, but winter is slow.

“You still have people walking the streets here after 5 p.m.,” he adds.

Rare Breed takes over the 700-square-foot storefront last occupied by high-end women’s shoe retailer Bellini. The space is owned by the Valente family, which also owns and operates the owns Quicksilver jewelry store a few doors away.

Rare Breed, which also sells sunglasses, earphones and wallets, is open from 11a to 8p Monday through Saturday, and 11a to 6p Sunday.