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A

Allegro Dance Boutique
2114 Central St., Evanston, 847-733-8460
724 S. Northwest Highway, Barrington, 847-277-1009 
 

A dance boutique that provides everything for “bodies in motion”—girl and boy clothing for dance, gymnastics, and ice skating, dance shoes, and professional pointe shoe fittings for little ballerinas.

 

Alpine Accessories
9219 Illinois 31, Lake in the Hills, 847-854-4754
 

This family-owned ski, snowboard and stand-up paddleboard shop carries a great selection of gear for first-time skiers including children’s skis and boots in fun colors and base layers, pants, and jackets from the likes of Quiksilver, Roxy, Rip Zone and Powder Room. Alpine Accessories also rents ski and snowboard gear and stocks new and used equipment for all ages. 

 

B

Bass Pro Shop
Gurnee Mills, 6112 W. Grand Ave., Gurnee, 847-856-1229
709 Janes Ave., Bolingbrook, 630-296-2700
 

Serious gear for junior outdoorsmen—Carhartt overalls and duck jackets, camouflage bodysuits, kid hunting and fishing gear, heavy-duty boots, and life vests.

  
Body and Sole
931 Green Bay Rd., Winnetka, 847-446-2005
 

This dancewear boutique has been in business since 1974. Shop for children’s dance clothing and shoes, as well as outfits for gymnastics and ice skating—leotards, ballet dresses, jazz pants, ice skating dresses, leg warmers, and tights. Staff can expertly fit dance shoes, which include ballet jazz, tap, hip hop, and pointe shoes.

 
Burton
56 E. Walton St., Chicago, 312-202-7900
 

The bottom floor of the flagship Chicago store houses the children’s merchandise (starting at 2T) such as colorful coats, snow pants, hats, gloves, helmets, and (obviously) snowboards.


C

Cabela’s
5225 Prairie Stone Pkwy., Hoffman Estates, 847-645-0400
 

The outdoor superstore carries outerwear from Columbia, The North Face, and Carhartt, as well as snow pants, base layers, rain gear, kid’s fishing waders, hunting attire, and camouflage. Also find sandals from Teva and Crocs, hiking shoes from Merrell, and boots from Kamik and Bogs.

  
Champs Sports
Visit champssports.com for locations
 

These mall-based athletic stores carry footwear, clothing, and some sporting equipment. Shop children’s sneakers and athletic shoes from brands such as Nike (including Nike Shox and Nike Air Max), adidas, Reebok, Timberland, and Converse. Shorts, T-shirts, hoodies, and hats are designed for sports, but are more likely to be worn for fashion.

 
Chicago Dance Supply
5301 N. Clark St., Chicago, 773-728-5344
 

This Andersonville shop outfits young dancers in leggings, jazz pants, ballet dresses, leotards, tutus, and tights. Ballet, jazz, and pointe shoes are also sold, and custom shoe fittings are taken very seriously. Appointments are recommended for first-time pointe shoes.

 
Chicago Fly Fishing Outfitters Ltd.
1279 N. Clybourn Ave., Chicago, 312-944-3474
 

This fly fishing emporium carries a small selection of children’s gear, like fly fishing reels and waders.

 
Chicago Soccer
4839 N. Western Ave., Chicago, 773-271-2255
2901 S. 49th Ave., Cicero, 708-656-3100
3415 W. North Ave., Melrose Park, 708-410-2255
Old Orchard Shopping Center, Skokie, 847-674-0543
 

If soccer requires it, Chicago Soccer has it: soccer pants, T-shirts, zip-up jackets, team jerseys from Nike, adidas, Puma, and Pele Sports, a vast selection of gear from balls to bags to shin guards, and youth soccer shoes from adidas and Nike. 

Columbia Sportswear
830 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-951-2679
 

Columbia’s Chicago flagship store carries heavy duty outdoor gear for babies, toddlers, and kids—baby buntings, toddler thermals and snowsuits, fleece, parkas, snow pants, heavy duty boots, gloves, hats, and scarves. Check out a link to their coupons here.

 

D

Dick Pond Athletics
927 S. Roselle Rd., Schaumburg, 847-985-9720
26 W. 515 Saint Charles Rd., Carol Stream, 630-665-3316
2775 Maple Ave., Lisle, 630-357-6884
303 N. 2nd St., St. Charles, 630-587-0745
2164 Randall Rd., Carpentersville, 847-783-0701
29 S. Prospect Ave., Park Ridge, 847-720-4083 
 

You might know Dick Pond from its Shoemobile, a caravan that travels to schools and races around Chicagoland to fit kids and adults in the perfect running shoe. This running emporium carries youth running shoes, cross country and track spikes, running accessories, shorts, pants, and warm-ups, and youth wrestling shoes and gear.

 
Dick’s Sporting Goods
Visit dickssportinggoods.com for locations
 

Sports gear galore. Performance tees, shorts and athletic pants, sweatshirts, and jackets from brands such as Under Armour, Nike, Livestrong, Adidas, and Reebok. Shoes are mostly sport-centric—running shoes, soccer shoes, and cleats—although there is a selection of sneakers and sandals as well. Of course the shelves are also lined with soccer balls, basketballs, golf clubs, skates, bikes, and other sporting goods.


E

Eddie Bauer
Visit eddiebauer.com for locations
 

Eddie Bauer’s children’s selection consists solely of high performance outerwear, such as puffer vests, down jackets, fleece coats, and baby buntings. (Some stores also have youth sizes in snow shoes, skis, and poles.) The Eddie Bauer car seats and strollers are not sold at Eddie Bauer stores but can be found at Target and Babies R Us.

 
Erehwon
1000 W. North Ave., Chicago, 312-337-6400
20505 N. Rand Rd., Kildeer, 847-726-1301
2585 Waukegan Rd., Bannockburn, 847-948-7250
 

The outdoorsy superstore carries a small selection of infant, toddler, and kid apparel: fleeces, coats, hats, base layers, snow pants, rain gear, and baby bunting from Columbia and The North Face. The shoe selection is on the small side, but The North Face boots, Merrell shoes, and Bogs are available for toddlers and kids.


F 

FA Skate Shop
131 W. Prospect Ave., Mount Prospect, 847-392-3377
 

A suburban skating outpost since 1985 (the original was located in Arlington Heights) that sells skateboards, decks, wheels, bearings, and helmets; snowboards, boots, and goggles; and shoes from Adidas, Converse, and Nike.

 
Finish Line
Visit finishline.com for locations
 

Shop children’s shoes from infant to size 7, including the ever popular Nike Shox, Air Jordans, and Reebok Zigs, as well as Jordan sandals, Polo boots (particularly adorable in toddler sizes), and Jordans for infants. There is also a good selection of team gear and activewear from Under Armour and Jordan.


G

Golfsmith
2782 N. Clybourn Ave., Chicago, 773-281-1494
 

This golf and tennis shop carries a selection of youth merchandise, like Callaway and Lynx golf clubs, Prince and Wilson tennis racquets, and clothing, shoes, bags, and balls for both sports.

 
Goskand Sports + Ski
5657 S. Harlem Ave., Chicago, 773-586-2577
 

A family-owned business that specializes in ski and soccer equipment for the whole family. Skis, ski boots, winter coats, and base layers come in children’s sizes. Boot fitting, ski rentals, and repair are also available. On the soccer side, shop for cleats, balls, jerseys, and Chicago Fire apparel. A sampling of supplies and equipment for other sports, such as volleyball and basketball, are also in stock.

 
Gunzo’s Hockey Headquarters
7706 W. Madison St., River Forest, 708-771-8666
6730 W. Dempster St., Morton Grove, 847-965-2300
 

A one-stop hockey shop that carries skates, sticks, helmets, gloves, jerseys, shin guards, bags, goalie gear, and fan wear for the hockey player or fanatic. A small selection of figure skates is also available. Gunzo’s also offers skate fitting, sharpening, and repair.


H

Hildebrand Sporting Goods
1809 W. Roosevelt Rd., Broadview, 708-344-0800
 

A family-owned, old school sports store that carries equipment for nearly every sport—baseball, football, basketball, golf, tennis, soccer, hockey—and offers services like baseball mitt repair and skate sharpening.


I

Ivivva
1351 W. Roscoe St., Chicago, 773-472-6191
 

Victoria’s Secret did it with the “Pink” brand, and now Lululemon has Ivivva Athletica, the gateway to a grown-up brand.  The Chicago showroom carries the line of the product for active girls aged 4 to 14, with colorful and fun yoga pants and activewear for gymnasts, ice skaters, dancers, or those who just want to look really good laying around. Call first; hours are irregular.


K 

Kiddle’s
258 Market Square, Lake Forest, 847-234-0025
 

This family-owned sporting goods store has been in Lake Forest for more than 40 years. Shop for equipment, clothing, and accessories for soccer, baseball, football, hockey, volleyball, swimming, tennis, lacrosse, field hockey, cheerleading, and bicycling. Kiddle’s provides expert shoe fitting across all sports from brands such as Adidas, Asics, Nike, Saucony, and Wilson.

 
Kid’s Foot Locker
Visit kidsfootlocker.com for locations
 

Athletic shoes and clothing for kids from infant to size 7, such as the best-selling Air Jordans, Nike basketball shoes, Adidas, Skechers, and Converse. Toddlers can kick around in Nike Air or New Balance sneakers, and infants in Jordan and K-Swiss. Under Armour and Nike tees, shorts, and hoodies are available in pint-sizes.

 
King Keyser
41 S. Washington St., Hinsdale, 630-323-4320
 

This ski and snowboard shop has been a Hinsdale institution since 1952. The kid selection of outerwear is outstanding and boasts possibly the most fun and colorful array in the area, from brands Obermeyer, Bitsy, and Spyder.


L

Leo’s Dancewear Factory Store
1900 N. Narragansett Ave., Chicago, 773-745-5600
 

Originally founded in 1924 by a designer who made dance shoes for the performers in the Loop theaters surrounding his store, it is now a third generation family business that specializes in dance shoes of all kinds—ballet, tap, jazz, modern dance, and pointe shoes. The factory store carries closeouts at clearance prices on shoes, leotards, dance dresses, leg warmers, and a selection of costumes.

 
L.L. Bean
Old Orchard Shopping Center, Skokie, 847-568-3600
Arboretum, 100 W. Higgins Rd., South Barrington; 888-552-5548
 

These large L.L. Bean stores carry coats, fleece jackets, snow pants, rain and snow boots, flannel shirts, pajamas, and swimsuits for kids, and buntings, hoodies and boots for infants and toddlers. Gear includes BOB strollers, sleeping bags, backpacks, tents, sleds, wagons, bike trailers, life vests, and helmets.


MC Sports
71 Danada Square, Wheaton, 630-665-4051
727 W. Route 22, Lake Zurich, 847-550-9940
440 E. Rollins Rd., Round Lake Beach, 847-740-4510
Joliet Mall, Joliet, 815-254-2451
 

This Midwestern sports chain carries youth sizes in clothing and shoes for football, soccer, baseball, basketball, running, golf, and tennis. Selection varies by store, but most also carry supplies for skateboarding, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.

 
Moosejaw Mountaineering
1445 W. Webster Ave., Chicago, 773-529-111
 

The youth selection is on the small side, but baby and kid items include jackets from The North Face and Patagonia, snow pants, swimwear, Sorel boots, Keen sandals, and hiking baby carriers. Check the online outlet for deals.

 
Motion Unlimited
218 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, 312-922-3330

A dancewear boutique owned by dancer and choreographer Greg Begley, this shop always has expert shoe fitters on site. Youth sizes are available in dancewear such as leotards, tights, dance dresses, jazz pants, and leggings. Also shop ballet, jazz, and tap shoes, and a large selection of pointe shoes. (No appointments necessary for fittings.)

 
Motiv8 Skate Shop
415 N. Ardmore Ave., Villa Park, 630-833-3747
 

A family-owned shop that carries skateboards, clothing, shoes from Vox and etnies, and skate parts. BMX bikes and parts also available.


Niketown
669 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-642-6363
 

The enormous Nike superstore on Michigan Avenue carries the entire breadth of the Nike line, with apparel and shoes for basketball, tennis, running, and more. The children’s selection is a mix of fashion and function, including performance and trendy sneakers, baby Air Jordan shoes, shirts, warm-ups, and puffer vests.

 
The North Face
875 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-337-7200
1600 Sherman Ave., Evanston; 847-733-0875
 

You’re never too young to wear a fleece from The North Face. Fleece jackets, down jackets, snow pants, hiking and snow boots, baselayers, and convertible cargo pants are available for toddlers and kids. For babies, find heavy duty jackets, down bunting ($129), and snow booties.

 
NorthShore Soccer & More
1745 Orchard Ln., Northfield, 847-501-3630
 

This locally-owned store has served North Shore athletes since 1989. Soccer gear includes soccer balls, shin guards, jerseys, and Adidas, Nike, and Puma shoes. The “and more” comprises a mix of men’s and women’s volleyball gear and apparel, field hockey sticks and cleats, and badminton racquets.


P

Patagonia
1800 N. Clybourn Ave., Chicago, 312-951-0518
48 E. Walton St., Chicago, 312-640-5934
 

Climbers, skiers, snowboarders, and fishermen outfit themselves at Patagonia. The kid selection is small but heavy-duty. Baby buntings, puff jackets ($80), kid’s parkas (around $149), insulated jackets ($199), vests, and snow pants can withstand rain, snow, and cold.

 
Payless Shoe Source
Visit payless.com for locations
 

Payless carries the American Ballet Theatre for Spotlights line of dance shoes. Jazz, tap, and ballet shoes are priced at less than $30.

 
Play It Again Sports
Visit playitagainsports.com for locations
 

When your kid wants to try a new sport, needs new gear for an old sport, or has just given up on one altogether, these franchises are the spot to sell, buy, and trade sports equipment. Golf, baseball, hockey, soccer, and football gear is available, as well as fitness equipment, rollerblades, and skateboards. Alongside used gear is a sampling of new gear, much of which is overstocks and closeouts at discount prices.

 
Play Soccer
4717 N. Clark St., Chicago, 773-561-3465
 

This Andersonville shop is devoted to all things soccer, from practical items like shoes, balls, and bags, to fan gear like professional team jerseys.

  
The Princess Club
3300 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, 773-472-4733
 

Anything a little princess (particularly a dancing one) could need: tutus, leotards, bows, tiaras, princess dolls, plush toys, puzzles, and holiday outfits from Mudpie.


R

Rainbo Sports
1440 Paddock Dr., 
Northbrook, 
847-998-1000
 

The figure skating emporium in the area since 1956, Rainbo Sports carries youth ice skates for all skill levels and has worked with Olympians Katrina Witt and Dorothy Hamill. Shop ice skates, practice and competition outfits, skate bags, and take advantage of professional figure skate fittings.


REI
1466 N. Halsted St., Chicago, 312-951-6020
888 Willow Rd., Northbrook, 847-480-1938
17W160 22nd St., Oakbrook Terrace, 630-574-7700
1209 E. Golf Rd., Schaumburg, 847-619-6729
 

Although there is plenty of gear for the outdoorsy kid (snow pants, long underwear, ski equipment), the selection of outerwear works just as well for heading to the school bus. REI carries down jackets and performance fleece from The North Face, Patagonia, and Columbia, as well as hats, gloves, snowsuits, and rain gear. Also find hiking boots, winter and rain boots, sandals, and comfy kicks from Merrell and Keen. There is a smallish selection of baby gear like BOB and Baby Jogger strollers, heavy-duty carrier backpacks for long hikes, bikes, and helmets. 

 

S

Scandinavian Ski and Snowboard Shop
1621 Waukegan Rd., Glenview, 847-729-0550
 

Ski and snowboard equipment and clothing for kids 3T and up. Shop for skis, boots, bindings, snowboards, helmets, and coats from The North Face, Burton, Spyder, and Obermeyer. Ask about the kid’s ski and snowboard club.

 
Shred Shop
3801 W. Oakton St., Skokie, 847-679-3060
 

Snowboards, skateboards, paddleboards, and wakeboards abound at this Skokie store, which also sells all the accessories (boots, helmets, goggles) to go along with each sport. Burton jackets, clothing from Paul Frank and Volcom, and shoes from etnies and vans also stocked here.

 
Snowbird Ski Shop
2709 Pfingsten Rd., Glenview, 847-920-7547
1439 Peterson Rd., Libertyville, 847-920-7547
 

Both locations of this ski shop carry infant, toddler, and kid apparel and equipment like goggles, snowboards and snowboard boots, skis and ski boots, helmets, hats, gloves, snow pants, and jackets from Obermeyer, Spyder, and The North Face.

 
Soccer 2000
224 Ogden Ave., Downers Grove, 630-241-9500
 

A family-owned soccer emporium that is part retail store/part warehouse to accommodate team orders. Find everything and anything a young soccer player needs from Puma and Adidas shoes and cleats to uniforms, bags, and jerseys.

 
The Soccer House
999 Waukegan Rd., Glenview, 847-998-0088
 

Everything a soccer-loving kid could need: Cleats, balls, shin guards, nets, bags, and jerseys from European and national teams. The store also carries lacrosse and field hockey equipment.

 
Soccer Madness
364 W. Half Day Rd., Buffalo Grove, 847-947-2060
 

This well-organized store carries shoes, cleats, bags, team jerseys, and apparel from Umbro, Nike, and Puma. Soccer Madness recently added field hockey equipment—sticks, eyewear, and shin guards—to its product mix.

   
The Soccer Post
936 Roosevelt Rd., Glen Ellyn, 630-942-9300
24402 W. Lockport St., Plainfield, 815-436-6635
 

This chain has two area locations that supply equipment for indoor and outdoor soccer including cleats, team jerseys, sweatshirts, and training pants from Nike and Adidas.

 
Soccer Shop
359 S. Randall Rd., Elgin, 847-931-0750
 

Balls, bags, jerseys, cleats, and warm-up suits, available in youth sizes from Adidas, Champion, Nike, and Puma.

 
Sports Authority
Visit sportsauthority.com for locations
 

Sports apparel for boys and girls: hoodies, T-shirts, workout pants, and swimwear from The North Face, Under Armour, and Nike. The girl selection also includes tennis skirts and dance leotards. Shoes for almost any sport (running, soccer, golf, even bowling) come in a broad range of sizes. Backpacks, camping equipment, bikes, skates, golf clubs, tennis rackets, skateboards, and trampolines are also here.

 
Strings Attached
1369 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago, 773-857-6900
 

The pro shop for Lincoln Park’s Lakeshore Club across the street is all about tennis, racquetball, badminton, and squash and the racquets, bags, clothing, and shoes to go along with them from Wilson, Prince, Dunlop, Adidas, and Harrow. Kid sizes available.


T 

Total Hockey
1230 W. 75th St., Downers Grove, 630-322-9850
2751 Pfingsten Rd., Glenview, 847-272-8930
170 Barrington Rd., Schaumburg, 847-798-9820
2111 Founders Dr., Northbrook, 847-205-0828
550 St. Charles Rd., Elmhurst, 630-279-7221
 

This Missouri-based hockey superstore has 12 locations throughout the Midwest and carries a wide selection of hockey gear. Youth equipment includes bags, skates, goalie gear, sticks, jerseys, helmets, and protective wear.


U

Uncle Dan’s the Great Outdoor Store
3551 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, 773-348-5800
901 W. Church St., Evanston, 847-475-7100
621 Central St., Highland Park, 847-266-8600
 

This local, family-owned outdoor store carries camping, hiking, and other adventure equipment including a selection of baby and kid gear (with more to choose from in the suburban stores). Find little backpacks, coats like Patagonia puff jackets for babies ($80 to $99), hats, gloves, snow boots, and buntings.

 
Uprise
1820 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, 773-342-7763
 

This Wicker Park shop—run by skateboarders, for skateboarders—is friendly and encouraging to newbies. The shop sells complete boards as well as individual components like trucks and decks, as well as tees, hoodies, hats, and shoes from Vans and Adidas.


 V 

Viking Ski Shop
3422 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago, 773-276-0732
131 W. Northwest Hwy., Barrington, 847-381-1188
 

A snowboard and ski shop that carries baby, toddler, and kid’s coats, as well as snowboards, skis, helmets and boots for children. Both locations offer rentals, services, and ski trips.


Z

Zumiez
Visit zumiez.com for locations
 

A skate and snowboard lifestyle chain, with boy and girl sizes in T-shirts, hoodies, jackets, and snow pants from brands Burton, Volcom, and Billabong, as well as skateboards, snowboards, and shoes from DC and Vans.