The Most Recent Evolution: Collaborations and Mouth-Dropping Prices

If you’ve read any of this blog, you know that it’s all about how the Sneaker Industry is being modernized and revolutionized as a result of this changing world, generation, and market as a whole. However, the sneaker industry is still not what it was two years ago, even one year ago. The market is constantly changing, and the latest aspect to hit the shoe stores has been frequent collaborations between shoe brands and high-end fashion brands to jack up the prices of shoes that already seem expensive to those outside the market.

SUPREME x NBA x NIKE AF1

Undoubtedly, the most notable name in the sneaker market that isn’t a sneaker company is Supreme. Even outside of footwear, Supreme is a streetwear brand glorified by celebrities such as actors, singers, rappers, and many others sporting outerwear that exemplifies modern culture. Pictured to the right is the
Supreme x NBA x Nike Air Force 1, with Supreme putting their own twist on Nike and the NBA in their own sneaker. The retail price is $165, however Supreme is in such incredibly high demand that after their limited quantity sells out, the prices basically triple. For a pair like this, you’ll end up spending WELL over 500-600 dollars if you purchase them resell.

Another frequent sneaker collaborator is Off-White. They are a Japan-based clothing company that sells vibrant and eccentric clothing for an incredibly high price. Their coats, sweatshirts, jackets, and more for men go for about $2,000. You could only imagine what their sneaker price would be. The crazy thing is, people actually buy Off-White. The reason is simple: just like what was covered in the first post on this blog, sneakers are becoming an important part of many people’s lives because they make a statement about what one stands, ones likes and interests, etc. With Off-White, you most certainly are making a statement: you have a lot of money.

The NIKE x OFF-WHITE Hyperdunk, worn in game by Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson

The Sneakers pictured above are valued at $750. If you are in the NBA and making millions of dollars, more than likely your budget can take a $750 hit for a pair of sneakers. Jordan Clarkson, a guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers, was the first to wear Off-White shoes in an NBA game. Clarkson, who makes $12.5 million a year (hoopshype.com), can definitely afford a pair of sneakers for a measly $750.

Even though this market is changing by the day with collaborations, new ways to customize, and even new markets being combined with the market for shoes, sneakers, from now on, will always be something near and dear to my heart personally. I hope by reading this blog you became a bit more educated in the new and improved industry that stands for so much, and allows people around the world an outlet to express their feelings on their feet.

NIKEiD: Tending to Consumer Desires

As previously mentioned, millions of people acrossthe world are part of the new industry bubble of sneakers. Many people outside of this sneaker bubble, however, have strong views on modern footwear. People who observe the crazy footwear and intense color-ways of today sometimes just don’t understand the statement that the consumer is trying to make. Sometimes, all these observers see are the ridiculous footwear, not matching their outfit, and making them look ridiculous. For this reason, the biggest athletic apparel company in the world decided to create a new option. Even those who aren’t into the budding sneaker industry now have a new way to get in and introduced: by customizing a pair of shoes, having say over what colors and what styles they sport, rather than being constrained to whatever the brick and mortar store has to offer.

NIKEiD promotional: Customizing however you’d like

I personally have bought one pair of shoes that I customized myself, but this was far before I was really into footwear. NIKEiD was one of the things that got me into sneakers. Before I was really was a consumer, NIKEiD was my first big sneaker purchase. For customers, the real catch is the price; you usually pay an extra 20% of MSRP, however this number can range from 10%-50% of the original price. By signing on to NIKEiD.com, you have your choice of over 100 pairs of shoes that are eligible to be customized. Once you pick a shoe, you then pick every aspect of that shoe: the colors of everything from the logo to the laces, you can add your name (any word as a matter of fact) to the back of the shoe, you pick the material and design, and so much more.

Obviously, the sneakerheads love this. But it also appeals to those who aren’t so keen of the market, opening a new target market for Nike; they can do whatever they want with any pair of eligible Nike shoes they want. Customize it however they’d like, so they have nothing to complain about (except maybe the price).

Recognizing Business Opportunity: Cleaning up the Industry

As I mentioned before, I own many pairs of shoes myself. Because of that, it’s important I keep my older shoes in good condition so I can wear them out just as much as my newer pairs of shoes. That’s why, in my opinion, maintaining your older sneakers is just as important as buying a new pair. Personally, I own an incredible shoe cleaning kit that helps me keep my shoes in great condition; It helps me keep my whites bright and my darks unblemished. Many companies have recognized the need for cleanliness in a rising industry that so many consumers have become a part of.

inc.com discusses multiple ways to find and recognize great business opportunities. One of the most important factors in recognizing a good opportunity to jump into is simply recognizing a need, capitalizing on that need, and providing a good or service that will meet that need. In addition to realizing the need for a good or service, it’s important to have the right timing. Because of all of these factors, in accordance with the surging popularity of the sneaker industry, the market for cleaning products that tend specifically to shoes boomed and rose at the same time. These companies and firms found both a need for, and the right time to dive into this industry.

Many sneakerheads obviously have their cleaner of choice. Whenever I’ve bought a new pair of sneakers, the cashier offers me a cleaning product to make sure I keep those shoes in great condition. Many shoe stores themselves have come out with “Store Brand” cleaner; for example, Foot Locker has their own brand of sneaker cleaner that they promote whenever anyone purchases a new pair of shoes, obviously in an effort to increase revenue. The stores that sell sneakers obviously realized, after various companies had already came out with special shoe cleaner, that it was an area they should explore, and since they were late to the game, they figured out how to make people buy their own products: decreasing the price. When the clerk offers me a single shoe cleaner for $19, I politely decline because I own the aforementioned incredible shoe cleaning kit. This cleaning kit is Crep Cure by Crep Protect; a company that recognized the need for cleanliness early, and quickly sought to establish a monopoly over the shoe cleaning market.

The cleaning kit that I personally own: Crep Protect Ultimate Shoe Care Pack, MSRP $40.00

“Protecting our kicks is something, as sneakerheads, we always wanted, but there was never a truly effective way of doing so, so when we sat together and sketched out the idea, it was truly a no-brainer if there ever was one. From that day, we can say that Crep Protect was born, and we vowed to never look back from that moment” (crepprotect.com).

Crep is a company started in mid 2012, that didn’t make its first sale until late 2013. After the company was founded, the creators didn’t stop until they felt they had perfected their formula. The first product they had created was their protect spray, which is actually quite incredible. After applying two coats to a pair of sneakers, the sneakers applied will be completely resistant to all liquids and stains and will whisk away by spraying water on the dirty area.

Crep Protected pair of Yeezy Boost Blue Tints covered in chocolate syrup

Crep constantly promotes their original product with videos of clean shoes having their product applied, continuing to have various liquids, usually condiments, poured on them, proving that their product works and keeps your shoes in clean condition. Just check their youtube channel; running covered sneakers through mud and pouring ketchup on sneakers worth thousands of dollars to prove that their product is incredibly reliable. Now, their cleaning kit comes with a bottle of crep protect, yet also comes with cleaning wipes, a brush, cloth, and their new “Cure” cleaner. This cleaner, that they also believe they’ve perfected, is constantly displayed on forums and sneaker websites as the best cleaner on the market. Crep posts videos of tattered and disgusting sneakers being restored to like-new condition with this cleaner. For me, it’s worked for years, which is why I’ll never say yes to the cashier’s $19 store brand cleaner. Crep is just one of the cleaning companies that got into the business; yet they clearly seem to be the best at what they do.

The Resellers: What do they do?

“At one point or another, sneaker collectors always ask themselves, “What’s going to be my next pick-up?” Well, choosing the next sneaker to add to your collection isn’t hard at allit’s actually securing a pair that can sometimes prove to be difficult.” (Complex.com)

Blue Tint Yeezy Boost 350 V2

In the sneaker industry, the demand for a newly released pair of sneakers incredibly high. For example, adidas released a new pair of Yeezys, a shoe associated with rapper Kanye West on December 16th, 2017. The shoes were a white and gray color-way with a slight blue tint, hence their name, the “Blue Tint Yeezy Boost 350 V2”. These shoes were released at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $220. However, the Adidas website only put a small number up for sale, only about 75,000 pairs, which is a small number when compared to the amount of people who signed up for the waitlist (about 3.5 million). If you wanted to buy a pair, you needed to add yourself to the waiting list, and if you were chosen, you were billed the $220 and the shoes were sent to you within a week.  If you were to go online and search for a pair right now from an authorized seller, the cheapest you would pay is closer to $400. This is just one example of a pair of sneakers that are in incredibly high demand, with resellers netting almost an 80% profit if they were to sell a pair for $400. Sneaker Resellers do this all the time. They sell pairs for their market value in relation to the demand for these shoes. If you aren’t willing to pay $400 for a pair of sneakers, then you just don’t understand the business; in this case, many people desire a pair because they exclusively wear Yeezys, whereas some want them because they look to own the rarer shoes on the market. Whether you work for a certified reseller, or pick up a pair for MSRP and flip them on auction sites like eBay, the sneaker reselling business will net you a large profit. The only problem is the difficulty of snagging a pair of new release sneakers for MSRP.

Just touching upon one of the many big names in the reselling game, Flight Club is a sneaker reseller that excels in its area of business. Their main location on Broadway in NYC was opened in 2005. Ever since then, Flight Club has evolved from a one-stop sneaker destination to a cultural hub for sneakerheads across the nation. Flight Club takes the reselling step further than most others. In addition to selling new pairs of sneakers, they have a consignment relationship where you can send them your sneakers to sell, and after they basically refurbish them, they sell them in store or online, taking 20% of your selling price for themselves.

Flight Club NYC Location

This opens a whole different world for Flight Club. In addition to purchasing shoes at MSRP easily because of their popularity, they added an outlet for people to sell their shoes while also making money for themselves, increasing their market to include those who want to buy, and those who want to sell as well. They aren’t just an online resource or brick-and-mortar shop, however; their NYC and LA locations have become tourist destinations, featured on HBO’s series How to Make it in America. They shot up in popularity not just because of their almost perfect operation of business, their huge market for customers, and their incredibly large selection of hard-to-get sneakers dating more than 10 years back, but also due to the rising popularity of the Sneaker Industry as a whole, and the increasingly high demand for sneakers that goes along with that. “The name brand of aftermarket footwear resellers, [Flight Club] is simply the place to go if anyone wants to find the sneakers they missed out on recently or 10 years ago. (Matt Welty, Complex.com)

Two of my friends successfully bought a pair of Blue Tint Yeezys last month, one of them keeping the pair to rock for years to come, and the other selling on eBay, netting almost a 127% profit, selling his pair for a whopping $500 within a week of getting them. If you want to become a reseller, it’s easier to go though a system similar to Flight Club… but if you’re willing to put the work in, it’s possible you net a lucrative sum of money in this area.

Who are the “Sneakerheads” of Today’s Society?

“Sneakerhead” is a 20th century phrase coining those who are in love with what they wear on their feet. In the past, footwear was an area that was rather untapped by men; many people actually associate an obsession with footwear with women, as the “stereotypical women” has a closet containing hundreds of pairs of shoes. In these modern and changing times, sneakerhead-men are giving these “stereotypical” women a run for their money. I’ve personally been into sneakers for quite a while. I was always worried about what I wore on my feet because I believe it spoke to who you are. If you wore a pair ofbeat-to-the-ground New Balance’s everyday, chances are you don’t quite care about what’s on your feet. However, I’ve joined the millions of people across not just the nation, but the world, that have indulged in this ever growing industry. I only brought 5 pairs of shoes to college, not including the shoes I sport for basketball. But at home, I own almost double that, and the total cost of this collection of mine is around $1,500.

A timeless classic in the collection of many sneakerheads, including mine: Nike Air Force 1 Low

Most adults would call me crazy, or rather think I’m insane for spending that kind of money on shoes. My father who is 53 years old tells me I’m wasting my money when I get a new pair; he practically goes into cardiac arrest when he has to spend more than $40 on a pair of shoes, and when he does buy a new pair, he isn’t buying another until at least three years later. What these adults don’t understand, my father included, is that there is a modern revolution happening in this industry. Sneakers are becoming a form of speech. One’s preferred activities, interests, one’s personal beliefs, and many more qualities can be read by others all based on what that person is wearing on their feet.

My $1,500 has certainly contributed to my state of being a broke college student; however the sneaker industry could certainly have gone without my contribution to still remain one of the fastest growing industries today. “The market for sneakers is booming, driven by millennial demand and a strategic business approach by the major players. According to SportsOneSource, the international sneaker market has grown by more than 40% since 2004, to an estimated $55 billion” (Forbes.com). This Forbes article also goes on to state that in 2015 alone, the industry generated $17.2 billion in sales, and grew over 8%: the highest growth mark the industry has ever seen. But don’t be decieved; just because it’s an industry which is growing incredibly fast, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to enter in as a seller.

Personally, my money has gone straight to Finish Line, Foot Locker, and House of Hoops. Those are the biggest franchises in the sneaker world today. You can pretty much find one (or all) of them at your local mall. However, the industry isn’t just limited to these large sellers. The online market for reselling sneakers, including sites like amazon and ebay where “regular” people sell their own apparel, is up to $1 billion as of may 2016 (StockX, via businessinsider.com). It’s easy for anyone to get online and sell their own footwear for whatever they’d like to charge. Obviously, it’s important to keep a fair price; but that doesn’t mean people don’t buy Kanye West’s signature shoe “Yeezy” by adidas for upwards of $700. If the online scene isn’t for you, that’s okay too. Sneaker Conventions are being held across the U.S. where sellers can go buy, sell, and trade their pairs of shoes in an environment where everyone around you is a sneakerhead, too.

SneakerCon, the most popular sneaker convention, was founded in 2009 as the industry was quickly rising. SneakerCon conventions happen all over the country — In fact, there’s one coming up from March 31st-April 1st in Santa Clara, CA — bringing many sneakerheads together to share opinions, interests, excitements, and most importantly, their money, with each other, all by buying and selling footwear.

At the last New York SneakerCon, over 19,000 people and 500 vendors gathered to share the pairs of shoes they felt obligated to, whether their reasons were to make money, or to allow people a platform of speech that they could wear on their feet. This modern revolution is changing the way the public sees footwear for the better: and not just on women anymore.