Before diving into the world of sneaker resale, it’s crucial to clarify what we mean when discussing this topic. For the purpose of this article, “resale” refers specifically to hyped sneakers such as Nikes, Yeezys, and Jordans. While some may argue that “resale is dead,” they’re likely referring to a particular niche within the industry. However, it’s essential to recognize that the resale market for all types of footwear is still very much alive and thriving. Allow me to illustrate my point with an example.
A few months ago, I purchased four pairs of Air Monarch IV sneakers for $19.99 each. After reselling them for $55 a piece, I enjoyed a 32% markup and a profit margin of $19-$20 per pair. Let me also mention that the turnaround was about 5 days. In contrast, a popular hyped sneaker like the Thunder 4 would yield only a 12% markup and a mere $27 profit margin for a reseller who initially bought it for $223 and then sold it for $275 ( the current market price).
So on a $80 investment I made about $75-$80 ( basically doubling my investment). On the other hand, for the Thunder 4, that is an $108 profit on a $892 investment , a 12% mark up ( below average).
This example highlights that while the resale of hyped sneakers might be experiencing a downturn, there are still opportunities to profit from the resale of other, less sought-after footwear. The key to success in this ever-evolving market lies in understanding the nuances of different segments and identifying untapped potential
I chose to use the Thunder 4 as a generous comparison between hyped sneaker resale and general footwear resale. In reality, most general release Jordan retros tend to result in significant losses for resellers. In fact, I previously wrote an article providing evidence to support this claim, which you can find via the link below.
The Emergence Of Dynamic Sneaker Marketplaces
We must also examine the factors that have led to the current state of sneaker resale culture. Several elements have come together to create this unique scenario. Before the rise of social media and the sneaker communities it fostered, sneaker culture was a tightly knit niche where individuals had to navigate various hurdles to be recognized and accepted by prominent sneaker forums such as ISS or Niketalk. Resellers in those days were few and far between, often respected sneakerheads themselves. Notable figures like 23penny, The Coolshoeshine, Arch-USA, Instyleshoes, and Allthingsjordans were among the go-to sources for hard-to-find sneakers. Resellers were seen as respected third-party options, providing valuable connections within the community.
eBay also played a significant role as a popular destination for sneaker enthusiasts, attracted by the possibility of winning auctions at bargain prices. Selling on eBay was no easy feat – the process, from listing to shipping, required a certain level of sneaker knowledge, computer literacy, and dedication to the market. Sneaker forums also hosted marketplaces, and purchasing from a reseller was considered an honorable act, with resellers viewed as essential contributors to the community.
Market Over Saturation
However, the landscape changed dramatically in 2011 with the emergence of social media sneaker groups and the release of the Jordan 11 Concord. Numerous new marketplaces surfaced, and the introduction of StockX and GOAT revolutionized the industry. These dynamic platforms leveled the playing field, allowing virtually anyone to become a reseller – marking the beginning of the end for traditional sneaker resale culture. Nike seized this opportunity to saturate the market with frequent releases, leaving consumers little time to appreciate and cherish their sneakers.
Sneaker hunting was once an art form, with camping out for releases being the ultimate goal for many enthusiasts. In contrast to the past, when sneaker releases occurred perhaps once a month, Nike now releases up to 22 pairs of sneakers in a single week. This shift, coupled with an influx of opportunistic resellers who lack product knowledge beyond the style code, has dramatically altered the sneaker resale landscape.
The Raffle System Is Disastrous
Claiming that the hyped sneaker resale market is dead isn’t entirely far-fetched, and I serve as a prime example. You won’t find any retros or hyped sneakers in my inventory these days. I’ve stopped selling them due to the challenges they posed, which ultimately led to my exit from the hyped sneaker resale market. The emergence of new resellers, coupled with the modern methods of acquiring sneakers (such as rigged raffles and systems), made it increasingly difficult for me to compete. There’s another reason behind my decision that I’d rather not delve into, as it could potentially open up a can of worms. I wrote a post about the downside of bots and the raffle system, see post below
Resale, already in a precarious position, has been further pushed into the abyss by a phenomenon that many are all too familiar with – counterfeit sneakers. No longer referred to as fakes, these 98.9%ers have become increasingly prevalent, as I discussed in an extensive post a couple of years ago.
As mentioned in numerous previous posts, wearing or selling fake sneakers is no longer shunned within the sneaker community, highlighting the shift in attitudes toward this once-taboo practice. The gravitas surrounding authenticity has diminished, allowing these so-called “third options” to gain acceptance and become an integral part of sneaker culture.
Frankly, it’s difficult to blame individuals for choosing counterfeit sneakers. They often closely resemble their authentic counterparts and are constructed using nearly identical materials. It’s even suspected that some of Nike’s contracting factories may be behind this new breed of fakes, potentially having access to the original blueprints.
With the challenges of acquiring hyped sneakers and their exorbitant prices, many are opting for counterfeit versions due to their affordability and accessibility. There’s no need to invest in expensive bots or sit behind a computer for a chance to win a shoe. Moreover, why pay a hefty sum to a third-party merchant who can’t fully guarantee authenticity when you can purchase a near-identical fake for a fraction of the cost? It’s a simple equation: save money, avoid hassle, and still acquire a sought-after product.
In fact, the counterfeit sneaker industry appears to be outperforming both resale and retail markets, thanks to its limitless inventory and on-demand production capabilities. If you don’t believe me, read the post below
An increasing number of communities on platforms like Reddit and YouTube are embracing these new breeds of counterfeit sneakers, often referred to as “option B” footwear. For instance, the Repsneakers subreddit boasts over 785,000 active members and was initially established to prevent people from falling victim to scams involving the sale of fake sneakers as authentic ones. However, this platform has also become a thriving hub for promoting and discussing the latest batches of high-quality replicas. To see this in action, check out the following link: QV Latest OG Batch Jordan 4 Pine. And be sure to check out the following link as well: Fake sneaker spreadsheet (the meticulously crafted spreadsheet was designed to assist buyers in navigating the world of replica sneakers, providing information on where to purchase the finest imitations and their respective prices – an impressive resource indeed). This example aptly demonstrates the growing popularity of these option B sneakers.
Just yesterday, I received an email from an individual requesting that I include a link to a replica website in one of my legit check articles. The audacity of these counterfeiters is astounding; they are well aware of my stance on this matter, yet they had no qualms about seeking my assistance. See the screenshot below for reference:
This thriving sector raises questions about the future of the hype resale market as we know it.As the resale market struggles, the emergence and proliferation of counterfeit sneakers exacerbate the issue tenfold, which is why I argue that fake sneakers will drive resale further into the abyss. To illustrate this point, I’ll conclude this post by sharing an image of an Option B pair of the Jordan 11 DMP. Though it’s scheduled for release in December, replica manufacturers already have the shoe in stock, and it looks impressively authentic. As I write this post, I’m confident that thousands of these pairs are en route to North America, further highlighting the growing impact of counterfeit sneakers on the market.