A Look At the Business of Sneakers

Child's Play and Serious Business At the Same Time


The Nike Foamposite One Paranorman (pictured) have a low asking price of $1500, and go as high as $4500. At retail they sold for $220.

While women frequently take the rap for shoe obsessions, anyone who’s known a sneakerhead knows shoe worship regularly crosses gender lines. The Cut takes a look at teen sneakerheads who are finding the sneaker market more lucrative than the street market.

“Fueled by testosterone and a few lone moms handing out bagels and Capri Suns, attendees stormed a Best Western ballroom, dragging around trashbags full of shoes as dubstep blared from a D.J. booth. Wallets stuffed with fat rolls of $20 bills were taken out; shoes were swapped. It was Rick Ross–style hustling, only the PG-13 version.” {NYMag}

One 15-year-old seller, who also trades in flavored electronic cigarettes (at a much lower price) says mastering the sneaker market is “better money than selling weed.”

Indeed the Nike Foamposite One Paranorman Galaxy can be currently found on eBay for $2800, with asking prices on other sites as high as $4500. While the sneakers may be street, the nature of the trade borders on luxury, and not just for price. Originally retailing for $220, the markup is primarily based on limited original supply. Unlike Birkin bags and similar products that can generate waitlists to buy from brand controlled scarcity, the majority of the markups for sneakers take place in the secondary market.

Teens and under-25s may control the sell side of the market, but the guys who shell out  thousands for a pair of sneakers are likely the 30 and 40-somethings who once learned the art of the trade themselves 10 or 20 years ago. While some worry about the fad dying out, the men who redefine well-heeled tomorrow are more than likely the same boys selling to that crowd today.

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