by Otsile Mabote
If you think sneakers are just for “sneakerheads” then you'd be wrong. Looking back 10 to 15 years ago, you would need a lot of knowledge and major connections to get ahead in the sneaker game. Whereas now, it is easier to get your hands on high-demand sneakers that sell for even higher prices. This is why sneaker-reselling, once viewed as a cranny market by sneaker lovers, has evolved into a full-blown and profitable industry.
What is reselling?
Sneaker-reselling, in simple terms, is when an individual buys a sneaker and resells it at a higher price. When highly anticipated items drop, snake-like queues form outside streetwear shops such as Supreme, Bape and Kith. As customer’s line up, their hopes are to walk away with limited edition clothing and sneakers. But, in most cases, many of the customers go back home empty-handed.
This is where the reseller comes in. The reseller is essentially the middleman between the manufacturers and customers. They will resell the item to those who could not get the item as it dropped, but always at a higher price.
There are two types of resellers. The first one sells in-demand products. This reseller will resell the sneaker for about 200-300% mark up.
Then there are resellers who hold onto older, limited releases. For example, the Nike Yeezy Red Octobers. Sometimes these older secondhand shoes will cost more than a secondhand car.
In order to make it in this game, you do not need to be a “sneakerhead” or collector - you just need to do some research on what you are buying and where you will sell your ‘pieces’. If you do know your way around sneakers and view yourself as a collector, then you can make a living off of reselling – it is a career in itself.
In 2017, the top resellers sold more than $2million and in 2018 those same resellers increased their sales to $10million.
A reseller can make a loss though, and this happens when an item does not resell for more than retail. This is called a “Brick”.
Best places to resell?
Reselling is not just a face-to-face interaction. You could simply just DM a customer or reseller. Sites are also available for you to buy and resell pieces. Everything is just a click of a button away.
The few best sites you could use are StockX, Crepe City, Grailed and Kick Game in the UK. All these sites are the best because they all have something that sets them apart from the other reselling sites.
StockX sets themselves apart with an analytical approach to buying and selling; the site constantly updates market values on sneakers. Crepe City runs a Facebook group for buyers and sellers which is heavily populated and heavily regulated. It also provides information about resale events. Kick Game is a personal favorite because it analyses and prices your shoes for you in exchange for 20% of your profit.
Best sneaker to resell?
Any sneaker can be resold but in order to make “big bucks” the sneaker should be special. The perfect example of a special sneaker is the Nike Air Mag Back to the Future. This sneaker is the best sneaker to resell, as only 89 pairs were ever made so the rarity and nostalgia comes with a higher price tag.
A pair of this sneaker has sold for $45000.
Politics behind reselling?
Even though reselling seems like it does no harm, there are politics and negative stigmas around it.
Reselling can be seen as an activity that devalues the brands such as Nike. Others say reselling ‘kills the culture’ because it makes everything about money and hype. The argument is that genuine love and passion for the sneakers disappears.
I asked a few people how they felt about reselling and I received mixed responses, ranging from:
“It’s beneficial for both parties, the reseller and customer. The reseller will be happy with the money he gets and the customer will be happy because they get a product they’ve always wanted," to “Reselling is a scam because you spend so much money knowing you can get that product for a cheaper price. That’s just ridiculous.”