The Secondary Sneaker Market


Ryan Harris

Staff Writer

The sneaker resale market has now reached an estimated $1 billion dollars in sales. Nike created the secondary market by only releasing a limited number of certain sneakers, and they drive the secondary market because they understand the “cool” factor. Nike is the best in the business at only releasing enough of a certain sneaker, keeping the hype alive for other sneakers.

If Nike eliminated the secondary market by making every sneaker they released readily available to everyone who wanted to buy a pair, they would lose a huge form of marketing. No longer would we see people lining up outside of Foot Locker every Saturday morning looking to acquire the newest retro Jordan to release. No longer would there be any hype or excitement to new sneakers or retros releasing. Most importantly, if Nike eliminated the secondary market, there would no longer be sneakerheads.

A sneakerhead, by definition, is someone who collects, sells, trades, and obsesses over sneakers. Without sneakerheads, sneaker companies like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour wouldn’t sell half the amount of sneakers that they do now. On the flip side, resellers would no longer be making extra profit as a reward for standing and waiting in lines for days just to have a chance to obtain the latest Jordan retro or the newest Yeezy boost.

The Air Jordan III Black Cement was the shoe that Nike used to start the secondary market in 1988, and is considered by many as one of the most important sneakers in the game. In a Ted Talk delivered by sneakerhead and owner of the sneaker data website Campless, Josh Luber talks about how Nike dominates the resale market. According to Luber, the resale market for sneakers is 1.2 billion dollars. Nike, including Jordan brand, accounts for 96% of shoes sold in the secondary market. The profit made off the shoes that were resold was 33% meaning that sneakerheads made a collective $380 million dollars on the Nike sneakers that they chose to resell. That same year Sketchers was named the second largest footwear retailer. From June 2014 to June 2015 Skechers made $209 million dollars in net profit. According to the data presented by Josh Luber in his Ted Talk this means that Nike’s customers make nearly twice as much as Nike’s closest competitor. This happens because Nike is so good at supplying only a certain amount of shoe, creating infinite demand among sneakerheads.