shopping in prague

Prague shopping - Botas 66 sneakers

Jan's Botas sneakers in front of the Ossuary in Sedlec, Kutna Hora. 

Jan's Botas sneakers in front of the Ossuary in Sedlec, Kutna Hora. 

"Hey, Zuzi and Jan, what is the coolest thing we can buy here in Prague?”

We get that a lot during our Prague food tours. And we do have suggestions that we like: instead of the tacky tchotchkes they sell around the Charles Bridge, we like things that mean something to us as Prague locals and that would normally go unnoticed by foreign visitors.

Our most common suggestion? Easy: the Czech Botas 66 sneakers. Virtually the only brand of sneakers available when we grew up in the 80s (yes, it was so hard being cool at that time), the Botas have now been slowly becoming the local hipster favorite since about five years ago when two design students came up with the idea to brush up the 1966 model and turn it into a street style fashion statement. Today they are one of the most popular sneakers around here. 

Now, we have a confession to make: Jan was suggesting them on almost every occasion but did not actually own a pair until about a month ago when he finally opted for the “track” model that is based on the 1980s running model. The model he chose (and which is pictured above) is called “Insane Track” (or “clown shoes”, as the baristas at EMA Espresso Bar dubbed them). They are still hand-made here in the Czech Republic and they allegedly retained all the original suppliers, so it’s still the “Eastern block” sneaker. They are fairly light and very comfortable.



OK, and now for the details:

How much are they?
The prices start at about EUR 50 and never go beyond EUR 75.

Where can I get them?
That’s a tricky one. Botas did close its central concept shop about a year ago and hasn’t found a replacement location since. JB Sport at Dlazdena 3 street in the centre has a small selection. If you want to see the full assortment, you’d have to travel a bit out of the centre to Artis-Botas Praha at Radlicka 11 street (tram 7 or 10 from Andel subway stop to Braunova stop). Finally, they do sell online within the EU (visit their online shop here). If you want to have them delivered to your hotel, why not? (Jan bought them online, too. Their fit is a bit tight so if you are in between regular sizes, he recommends you get the bigger one). 

May 2014 update:

Botas 66 finally has a designated store! (And a really cool one at that.) You can find it at Krizkovskeho 18 street on the border of the Vinohrady and Zizkov districts very near the TV Tower. Visit their website for further details.

Meet a Local I: Magdalena Happyfeet

Jan's most priced 2012 Christmas gift? Prince's Purple Rain and Marvin Gaye's Best Of LPs that he got from Zuzi. Where did she buy them? In our favorite records store in Prague, a small shop in the Lucerna Palace just a few steps off the Wenceslas Square, called Happyfeet. Open in the afternoons from Monday to Friday, Happyfeet sells new and second-hand records, with special emphasis on the old Suprafon and Panton-branded Czechoslovak pressings. In addition to the vinyls, Happyfeet also carries old Czechoslovak Prim wristwatches, mostly from the 1970s but all refurbished and in mint condition. (BTW, did you know that Czechoslovakia (and Prim) was only the 7th country in the world to successfully master the manufacture of an automatic wristwatch?)

Shopping in Prague: Koh-i-noor pencils

If you are following this blog, you know that we have already written about the Kooh-i-Noor mechanical pencils here, so you can read all about the history of this famous Czech brand and the awesome wonder of the mechanical pencils in that post. Unfortunately, the Botas 66 concept store closed down about a month ago (we think the high rent must have played a role in that) so we have lost our most favorite place to get these awesome mechanical pencils and one of the best places, in our opinion, to do some great shopping in Prague.

Prague shopping: vinyl records

This is yet another episode of our never-ending series of tips for Prague shopping. Did you know that the Czech Republic is a global superpower when it comes to turntables and records? If you visited several summer houses or old apartments in the Czech Republic, you would undoubtedly see many variations of a single theme: the reliable Tesla turntable. Sold in many Western European countries under various brands (including such hi-fi names such as NAD), the original design has survived to this day and, slightly improved, is still sold under the Austrian Pro-Ject brand whose products have won many accolades throughout the worlds (just search Pro-Ject reviews on the What Hi-Fi site, you'll know what I'm talking about).

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Where to buy vinyl records in Prague?

We understand that a turntable is not the most convenient of souvenirs to buy, but a vinyl record or two? Why not? It's definitely a gift that will keep on giving through many repeated listens. The quality of the records is decent, and the prices are very reasonable (unlike in, let's say, Berlin). So where do we go hunting for a vinyl record or two?

Music Antiquariat

This small shop in the shadows of the Tyn church focuses mainly on 70s rock, 80s pop, CDs and posters. Don't go searching for rarities here, but it's fun browsing the shelves, and we often walk home with a guilty pleasure or two.

Happy Feet

This very little shop in the Lucerna palace next to the Wenceslas Square is out favorite. Owned by a girl vinyl enthusiast, the shop offers a smaller, but high-quality collection of music, with a separate section for soul, funk and jazz. In addition to records, the shop sells Czech fashion accessories and refurbished old Czech Prim wristwatches (Czechoslovakia was only the 7th country in the world to master the manufacture of the automatic watch). Highly recommended!

This shop near the National Theatre offers a great collection of records throughout all genres. In addition to records, the shop sells (and services) old Czech and foreign turntables and other rare hi-fi equipment. The shop is often busy with DJs searching for new records, and it's clear this is a shop for vinyl nerds.

What to buy?

A Czech turntable, of course! OK, we do understand that a turntable may be a bit of a hassle to transport back home, so we suggest that you buy an old Czech vinyl record instead. But how do you know what is good? Here are some tips:

If you like rock and new wave, we'd recommend, among others, Straka v hrsti by Prazsky vyber (if you can find a pressing - it's a legendary album, banned by the Communist government for years), anything by Vladimir Misik & Etc., Flamengo, Olympic, or Blue Effect.

Or perhaps a Czech chanson? Then go for Hana Hegerova, Marie Rottrova, Eva Olmerova, or, picking among newer ones, Richard Muller (ok, he's Slovak, but it still counts).

Looking for jazz? Choose anything by Emil Viklicky, Jan Hammer, Jan Spaleny & ASPM, Collegium Musicum, or Miroslav Vitous.

And if you're into old, Communist, mindless pop, definitely try Michal David, Kroky Frantiska Janecka, Kamelie, or Dalibor Janda. But you've been warned.

Karel Gott and Helena Vondrackova form a separate category. Great singers, great performances, loved by the nation, but carrying a heavy burden of collaborating with the previous government.

Finally, try to find an album by Michal Tucny. There's nothing like the sound of Czech country & western (really).

Music Antiquariat

Týnská ulička 8, Prague 1

Mon-Sat 10.30-19

Happy Feet

Vodickova 36, Prague 1

Mon-Thu 12-19, Fri 12-18

Opatovická 156/24, Prague 1

Tue-Fri 13-19