Sneaker Cents

Stars are endorsing affordable gear, but is the cheap stuff worth it?

Steve and Barry's

Ace Price – Venus Williams shows off her inexpensive threads, called EleVen, which debut in mid-November.

Walk into Steve & Barry's sprawling New York City store, and a perplexing sign greets you: DUE TO LIMITED SUPPLY AND TO BE FAIR TO ALL CUSTOMERS, STARBURY FOOTWEAR IS LIMITED TO TEN PAIRS PER PERSON, PER DAY. Yeah, right. Ten pairs of quality, star-endorsed basketball shoes? Don't you need a second mortgage for that?

Not since Steve & Barry's, the fast-growing retailer, and Stephon Marbury, the oddball NBA point guard, got behind the Starbury brand. Their message: You don't have to break the bank for a sweet pair of sneaks.

For years, ridiculously priced brand-name shoes have dominated athletic footwear:...

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