Sneakers: Worth the Hype?


Have you ever seen a pair of sneakers and thought ‘those would look cool’? I’m gonna get those for myself! Seems like a simple task, you see some cool shoes online and you wanna buy them but oh no, they’re sold out. Well that’s ok, you say to yourself, i’ll just go buy them on ebay at a reasonable price. The price for those cool sneakers you want on ebay? $1000. 


The market for sneakers today is quite frankly, insane. Sneakers are sold very limited by companies such as Nike and Adidas. Instead of having a high stock of many pairs so everyone gets a pair, they want the stock to be made much, much lower. Recently a pair of Jordan 1 mochas released with a stock of 100,000 which is pretty big compared to most hyped sneakers. Some pairs are as low as 1000 pairs or less. The sell out time on the Jimmy Jazz retail website, a sports sneaker and clothing website, was under 5 seconds.


Why would a company want to sell at such a low stock? Wouldn’t they make more money if they released more? Surprisingly and not surprisingly the answer is no. When a company releases shoes they can make a certain amount and guarantee it sells out. Let’s take a look back at the Jordan 1 mochas, which were released at a price of $170 with a stock of about 100,000k, that guaranteed sellout of $1.7 million dollars.


Most of the stock, however, is not bought out by the consumer but rather resellers using a special computer software to buy multiple pairs or, like me, entering raffles and camping on websites trying to get lucky with a pair. According to Sneaker News, “The odds of winning a draw on the Nike SNKRS app is 1/900”. It’s not just sneakers either, it can be clothing or accessories too, but the big money is made in sneakers. The resell of those Jordan One mochas have been reselling on StockX for above $300.


This is a pretty average price for reselling a good pair of jordans or other hyped silhouettes as some shoes go for thousands or tens of thousands depending on hype, rarity, and release location. Who would pay this and why? In an interview with Jeff Staple, creator of  brand Staple Pigeon, he states, “Worth, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. A sneaker will have value to someone somewhere. Maybe the frenzy of sneaker culture will subside, but there was a core subculture before and there will be one later. And likely, it’ll be a little bigger than it was before.”


The most expensive and hyped sneakers are collaborative efforts with Nike and another brand. One of the most rare Nike SB Dunks were by Staple Pigeon which in 2005, caused a small riot in New York outside of the store as a result of the low stock and want for the shoe. The shoe recently resold for $25,000 at auction. In an interview with Nike CEO Mark Parker on the topic of collaboration, he states “Collaboration among individuals, brands, and industries will only continue to accelerate as technology facilitates and enables greater connection in real time from anywhere in the world. It’s why we’re experiencing such an unprecedented pace of innovation in every aspect of our lives. It’s clear to me that if all the ingredients are right, collaboration can help shape your vision of the future and get you there faster.”


Will the hype see an end and will you yourself ever be able to have a exclove pair of sneakers in the future? From my experience of being a reseller and a buyer, I only see an increase in hype and price for reselling which is bad for the consumer but good for the seller.