The Sneaker Game is Dying!
Growing up as a young kid there was only one way I knew to get the latest shoes. Had to be on my best behavior all week. Drop not so subtle (super obvious) hints to mom that the new Jordans were coming out. Load up the car early Saturday morning. And finally; casually and optimistically visit two or three stores. All in a quest to get my hands on my beloved Jordans for retail. Simpler times back then for sure.
Fast forward to today (20+ years later) and the landscape of sneakers has changed completely. I could write a book venting about this topic. I promise I won't. So to keep it as brief as possible, I'll narrow my grievances down to 5 key categories.
Anything that promises hefty profit nowadays, you can guarantee that's going to quickly become an oversaturated market. The sneaker game is no different. From sneakerhead Youtubers, to 15 year old sneaker "moguls,"every Mike, Magic, and Larry wants in! This is where the problem begins for me. Everyone of these future sneaker moguls, all claim to have these "insider connections" that afford them exclusive releases at every launch date. This could be true for some, but definitely not for all.
Buying shoes and flipping them is akin to going viral, and feeds into the theory of overnight success without much effort or real talent. What I hate most about resell is that I REALLY love sneakers! I wear ALL of the sneakers I buy. So to be beat out on the coolest sneakers at retail by someone that only wants to mark them up 3000%—it's lame.
The counterfeit sneaker market is nothing new. Many people aren't able to see the difference between a bad pair of knockoffs and the real deal. But let's be honest, knockoffs have gotten REALLY good. So good that it should make you take a step back and look at what's really going on here. Playing out right before our eyes is a network of greed, lies, and deception. I personally believe the Nikes of the world are completely and fully aware of both sides of this coin. On one end they create the illusion of exclusivity for the people willing to camp for days to get an "exclusive release." On the other hand they realize there is still money to be made when they're "sold out." Nothing sells out. If you've got enough money, everything's for sell.
3. "THE PLUG"
This is the WORST aspect of today's sneaker game. Certainly the most annoying. The random guy or gal online claiming to have an inventory of authentic sneakers that would easily value over $15,000... but they're willing to sell them to you for half the price cause they're a good guy or gal. A few points and scenarios:
- SCENARIO: Fake Mogul aka "the plug," has a pair of Yeezy 350 Zebras!! Current market value is at least $450 USD, but he'll sell them to you for $200 USD. Sound fishy yet? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Ask yourself, if this person could stand to make $500 from this pair of shoes, why in the HELL would they sell them to me for $200? The most red of flags.
- Receipts mean NOTHING. Fake receipts are generated everyday.
- The only verified plug is an authorized retailer. Period.
4. "LEGIT CHECKS"
Today there is no such damn thing as "authentication" or "legit checking." It's useless, flawed, and corrupt. Too many variables to account for. People are just plain dishonest, no matter who you're dealing with. Unless you're getting your shoes straight from the manufacturing company's site, there is a 50/50 chance you have a real pair... in my opinion. There is no school for "authenticating" shoes. What's stopping a desperate employee at StockX from swapping reals with fakes and passing them through? Nothing. Don't be a sheep... or a GOAT. *pun intended
What all this mess has proven is that none of these things have any real monetary value. Taking something that costs $150 and selling it for $6,000 is price gouging at best. The problem here is the sneaker game is going unchecked for now. It's a lawless game. Resell has quickly evolved an abomination true fans of sneakers don't benefit from.
I view shoes differently altogether now. I saved up to buy a pair of Off-White Jordan 1 Chicagos in 2017 for $1,161, and a pair of Travis Scott High OG 1s for $784 in 2019. I was very excited about the collaborations and had to have them! What you do with your shoes is your business, but I bought these to wear... Was it worth it? At the moment it was, but now it's all cloudy. They retailed for $190USD and $175USD... That's all they're truly worth. How they make me feel could arguably be worth the price? That's another story. The crazy part is everyone thinks they're fake anyway. That's irony. lol Today they're selling for $4,500.00USD and $1,500 respectively. Not because they're actually worth that, but because these savages deplete the market and run the price up. smh
WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE US?
I can't speak for everyone else, but I'm here to make some predictions. We've arrived at a place where you can't really tell the real from the fakes. Does it matter? I either got my shoes from retailers , or "reputable" third party markets like StockX. I've been into shoes my entire life, so I can do a legit check myself. I've received shoes from StockX that honestly didn't seem legit. I've had several Jordan 13s that I bought straight out of the store and they never squeaked... the ones I got from StockX squeak every time I take a step. lol They're supposed to be real, but what's really protecting me if they're fake? Honestly, I don't care anymore. It's too much.
My take away from this is If you want authentic shoes you should buy them directly from authorized retailers and the brand's company only. If you don't care if your shoes are real or fake, that's your business. BUT I will say knowingly buying or selling counterfeit items is a crime and a potential felony. Do what you want with that.
I view shoes as ART, so I'll always be a fan of what's old and new on the market. It's only right that the value of ART would increase for a variety of reasons. This isn't what resellers are doing at all though. lol