In order to play sports, people all over the world need the same commodity: sneakers. In order to play the value game on Wall Street, investors need a commodity that's often in short supply: patience. In both cases, players can get their game on at Foot Locker ( FL). The world's leading athletic-footwear retailer hit a rough patch in 2005 amid a marketwide slump in Europe, where Foot Locker derives 25% of its sales. Its shares slipped more than 14% for the year. Now, the stock looks cheap, and Foot Locker's long process of shifting its real estate around to improve its business continues. Its domestic business is chugging along. Its balance sheet and cash flows continue to improve. For anyone willing to stick it out through the downturn in Europe, the price is right to own the dominant force in the world's $17 billion sneaker market. "People have gotten bored with Foot Locker because there is no immediate catalyst to drive up the stock, but it's very safe and cheap without a lot of operational risk," says Kenneth Shubin Stein, a hedge fund manager with Spencer Capital Management. "It's highly probable that this is going to be a more profitable company. It's just a matter of time. They have to negotiate their leases as they come up, but they can't do them all in one year. They've been at it for a couple years, and it'll take a few more years." About three years ago, Foot Locker began relocating, remodeling and closing U.S. stores in earnest. It had amassed a number of large-format stores housing multiple concepts, but the locations worked poorly. So the company backtracked. "When you open up stores and commit yourself to real estate, and it turns out it was a bad decision, it's a hard situation to get out of," says Shubin Stein. "You either have to negotiate out of your leases, or wait for them to expire. It's a long, difficult process."