How the Shoe Market works

The shoe market is not at all what is used to be. Back in the day, 1990-2010, shoes would release drop dates. On the drop day, people would line up `outside of stores and wait for them to open so they can be the first to get their hands on the newly dropped sneakers before they sold out. These were the best of times and these were the worst of times.

The best part about it was, if there was a shoe you just HAD to have, you can just plan on camping it out nice and early before the line gets too long and you’d be sure to get a pair. Camping in line became a fun and popular thing to do for shoe consumers. The worst part about it was the crime that the scene invited. We’ll expand more on that later on in the article. For now, lets jump into how the shoe market actually works.

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What is a Sneaker Drop ?

A Sneaker drop is when a shoe company such as Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Yeezy, Puma, etc.. come out with a brand new shoe and announces a release date. That release date is known as the drop. And the Drop is made available through websites. For example, Nike’s SNKR’s app is where they release their drops. They release the shoes at a certain time that is usually early in the morning. And as soon as the clock strikes that minute, you have to hurry up and order the shoes and checkout. The reason for the rush is that there are only a few thousand sneakers available per drop and there are hundreds of thousands of people waiting to order them right at that exact minute. because of this, Sneaker Drops usually only last about 1 minute before they are completely sold out !

What is a Sneaker Bot ?

A Sneaker Bot is a sneaky tool that Shoe Resellers have that allows them to order multiple pairs of shoes at one time and right at the exact second the drop starts. This works through a computer program that mimics real accounts so that it appears to the shoe company that each account is a real person, even though they are all linked to one person. Usually this works by the Bot having about 20 emails attached to it but the same credit card attached to each email account. Then you set the bot to a certain shoe drop and you sit and wait. Then the Bot will order 20 pairs of sneakers within the first millisecond of the drop, leaving the real people with absolutely no chance to get a pair. This is a bad thing for individuals who just want one pair of shoes because these Sneaker Bots buy all of them before you even have the chance to order !

Companies have been fighting the use of Bots for years but it’s simply too hard to catch them. They have been banned by every shoe company but it has not been criminalized. So even when companies do catch sneaker bots, the owners simply purchase another bot and start using that one, without any legal penalty.

So in an effort to give individuals the chance to win drops, companies changed their drops to start acting like raffles. For example, there will be a 5 minute time slot for the drop and every order is a raffle ticket that is randomly selected to win. This eliminates the Bots advantage of being faster than humans. However, bots still use multiple accounts. So each human only gets one raffle ticket while Bots get 20, 30, 40 or even 100 raffle tickets. So Sneaker Bots still have the upper hand by far !

This is why winning shoes on the drop is incredibly rare ! There are people, such as myself, who have participated in upwards of 100 drops and have only won about 2 times EVER. Sneaker Bots have made resellers incredibly successful while simultaneously pissing off all individual shoe collectors.

Retail Price vs Resale Price

Retail price is the price that comes straight from the company when the shoes drop. Using Yeezy as an example, Yeezy sells the 350 Boost typically for 220$. The retail price is when the shoe is being sold for the very first time from the company to either the end user or the third party shoe seller. The reason everyone waits for the drop is to buy the shoes at their retail price. This is because the retail price is usually half the price of the resell price ! This happens for 2 reasons. The first reason is that resellers use their Sneaker Bots to buy up a majority of the shoes available, and then they turn around and sell the shoe for double the price. Thus, this is why collectors hate shoe bots and have been trying to get them legally criminalized for years. But for now it is still legal. The second reason is the demand of sneakers is so high right now. The demand for sneakers is vastly higher than the supply. Therefore it causes the price of them to skyrocket.

Kids Killing Kids Over SHoes

Sneakers have turned into a huge statement of fashion and wealth. Sneakers are treasured and valued very highly in today’s world which of course has enticed crime into the market. Over the 20 year period of lines infant of shoe stores, there were numerous reports of people getting robbed while in line for sneaker drops. But the crimes that took over every headline were the homicides that occurred over these shoes. There have been hundreds of cases of murder over shoes since the surge of the shoe market.

This generally started in the lines when a person would exit the store with the new shoes, people would attempt to rob them and then someone would end up getting brutally injured or killed. Then these assaults and murders started happening frequently out in public spaces when bad guys would demand someone to take off their shoes, often armed with a weapon. Leaving the victim either shoeless on the pavement or dead on the street.

The next phase of these crimes was craigslist thieves. Bad guys would respond to craigslist ads for sneakers and then rob the person once they met up in person. This still happens on modern apps such as offer up.

Modern Shoe Market Dangers

Shoe crimes certainly have not slowed. You still do not want to be caught walking in the wrong neighborhood with a nice pair of Jordans on. But now that lines and camping outside of stores are far less common, crimes of that nature are very rare but not extinct. Nowadays, violent shoe crime almost always happen through meet up apps such as Offer Up. So it is never a good idea to buy or sell sneakers through a meetup style confrontation. This invites not only shoe thieves but thieves who will steal your cash when you come ready to buy a pair of sneakers.

Fake Sneakers

Petty crime is far more common now than it has ever been in the sneaker market. This is because there is such a high demand for sneakers that people are buying from anywhere they can. This includes swap meets, flee markets, random shoe reselling shops, and second hand thrift sites such as Depop or Poshmark or Offer Up shipping. Swap meets, and shoe reselling shops are very well known in the community for selling fake shoes. Sometimes they’re honest about it but more often than not they will sell you fakes at a real price. Sites like Offer Up, Depop, and Poshmark are not dedicated sneaker sites, they do not authenticate the shoes before your purchase. So about half the time when you purchase from these sites, you receive fake sneakers without even realizing it. And you would be surprised to learn that there are far more fake sneakers in the world than there are authentic ones.

Some of these fake sneakers are so good that they have even fooled actual sneaker market apps such as StockX and Goat ! Recently StockX lost a ton of credibility in the Sneaker World because a man ordered 38 pairs of Nike sneakers from StockX and claimed that they were all fake when he received them. So Nike sent the man a letter and asked if they could check the shoes. Nike verified that every single pair, all 38, were counterfeit !

How to buy real Sneakers

Right now the only real ways to get authentic sneakers is to get them straight from the drop. If you aren’t a great shoe authenticator, then it is always going to be a risk getting shoes from anywhere other than the source. However, Goat has a very very very good reputation and they only have very few reports of counterfeit sneakers being sold. And when these are reported, Goat takes care of the customer either through a full refund or by investigating and replacing the shoes with real ones.

StockX has made big statements saying they are upgrading their authentication methods in an effort to gain their reputation back. So only time will tell if this company gains back the trust of sneaker heads.

You can also trust very large sneaker stores like DTLR, Manor, Urban Necessities, and other well known places. These places are crawling With sneaker enthusiasts, so if they were to ever sell fakes, everyone would know and shut the places down. So the only way to grow a shoe dynasty that large is to sell and authenticate real shoes.