There’s always that person in your friend group — the one who doesn’t want their sneakers dirty, who won’t stop talking about them, and seems to have endless pairs of shoes: the sneakerhead. For example, I have nine apps on my phone dedicated to sneakers. These six tips will help you not only become a sneakerhead, but understand why so many people love sneakers, just like me. You’ll get to see the inside of the industry, not just what you see on other people’s feet. From stocks to conventions, from buying to reselling, you’ll see how that one friend got to where they are — and how you can learn more.
This is the first step into the sneaker community is learning about sneakers! Even if it’s looking at someone’s shoes on the street, or going on websites to find your next pair, you’re learning about sneakers. This is what triggers your interest — seeing something you like, then finding similar ones. I bought my first pair of Jordan 1’s in sixth grade, after seeing my best friend with a similar pair. In the sneakerhead community, the best inspiration is on other people’s feet. A common misconception is that all sneakerheads are rich and can afford the most expensive shoes, but the real, Google definition of a sneakerhead is “a sneaker enthusiast.” So you don’t have to have money to be a sneakerhead. A sneakerhead is someone who enjoys the look of sneakers, the history, and just the idea of the shoes themselves.
The research you do doesn’t have to be just about sneakers and which ones you want to buy — it can be about the creators of those sneakers, and the major influencers that brought them to life. For example, the Air Jordan sneaker line is one of the most famous in the world. But did you know about Tinker Hatfield, the creator behind almost all the Jordans, along with some of the iconic Nike sneakers like the Air Max. Do you know who Virgil Abloh is? Questions like these are important to answer because they provide background information for the sneakers and the important people involved in their creation.
2. Learn the legends
Similar to step 1, there are many sneakers and people that made the sneaker industry and community what it is today. All I really cared about was the look of the shoes until I was given a 600-page book called the “Sneaker Book,” from the shoe magazine “Sneaker Freaker.” It opened my eyes to the background and stories of the shoes. I recommend that you learn at least a little about these, which I learned about in the book:
- The Nike Dunk Low “Pigeon”, a shoe created for New York that caused a small riot when it was released.
- The controversial Nike Dunk High “Heaven’s Gate”, was named after the cult that did a mass-suicide.
- The Jordan 1 Mid “Banned”, and the myths and legends connected. Were they actually banned, or just altered? I think a majority of people know what a Jordan 1 is just because of its look and rise to fame, but there are parts of the Jordan 1 that most people don’t know about, like the ‘Banned’
- The Jordan 4 Union Pack, Jordan 4 KAWS, and Jordan 2 Off-White along with other famous collaborations, make some of the most famous shoes even more famous.
But on the other hand, it’s not just the shoes that made the industry famous — it’s the people. For example:
- Michael Jordan, the famous basketball player who created one of the largest sneaker lines in history; Air Jordan.
- Kanye West, the hip-hop star who created the Yeezy brand with Nike, then Adidas.
- Tinker Hatfield, is the famous designer of the majority of the Air Jordan and Nike shoes.
I thought that the Pigeon Dunks and the Heaven’s Gate Dunks were the most interesting because they both connect to something important and also have a somewhat darker and more deep side to them.
3. Conventions, stores, & events
This is where you start more learning about the sneaker community and less about the history. You don’t have to go to a convention, but you can watch videos that cover them.
It’s important to sometimes go to stores instead of looking online, because you can actually see the shoe you are possibly going to buy, and you are guaranteed to get what you see. While some stores inflate prices, it is still fun to just go look at the sneakers themselves. Some stores sell very rare and expensive sneakers, and seeing and holding them can make you want them even more.
Very recently, on February 26th, I attended the Boston Got Sole sneaker event.
There are hundreds of vendors selling all different types of shoes, and even more people (5,000 to be exact) looking to buy shoes. I could feel the excitement and energy in the room — it was like something important was going to happen, and excitement just kept building and building. This is where I felt the satisfaction of “flipping” — buying a shoe and selling it for more, making a profit. I bought a pair of atmos Nike Dunk “Elephants” and sold them to someone else for a $40 dollar profit. It’s not hard to do, and it’s so satisfying and addicting when you flip a pair! I think conventions are so exciting, and even if you can’t get to one, there are a bunch of videos about them on channels like Common Hype. They give insight on flipping and even own a store in Arizona.
This step is very important to sneakerheads because it’s not just about the sneakers — it involves the people that make sneaker reselling an industry and make the sneaker community what it is today.
Now let’s talk about making money. For some sneakerheads, making money means more sneakers. For others, it means paying bills and providing for their family. Reselling can be whatever you want it to be, as long as you sell sneakers!
Here’s a tip: don’t ask for too much. Many content creators that flip shoes have said that you’re rarely going to get over $60 profit. If you ask for too much, your buyer will be scared off and look for a new seller.
Here’s an example: you bought the new Jordan 1 High Marina Blues, and since they just dropped, you know many people will be trying to get them. You got them retail for $170, and your friend asks how much you want for them. My first thought would be to make as much as possible, but that’s unrealistic. The smart price to ask on a shoe like this would be somewhere in the 200-230 range. You’re not going too high, and you’re also making a good profit.
There’s a bunch of resellers who use math to decide their prices — I’ve heard of this: 70% of resell price (found on StockX) plus 50 dollars. This works in some cases, but if the resale price is very high, you won’t be making profit.
The condition of your shoes also matters to the resale price. If you have a brand-new “deadstock” pair of Jordan 11 Cool Grays, you might want to sell them for just a little over resale, maybe 10 dollars. But if your pair is worn once or twice, almost unnoticeable, you could sell them for resale or just under. If your pair is very used, or a “beater”, you’re going to have to come down a lot on your price if you want to sell them.
We can see the prices have stayed consistent from the drop.
The prices increased gradually and haven’t been very consistent — a reason why people are hesitant to buy them.
Selling shoes is a great hobby and can earn you some serious money. Even if it’s a pair of Vans, Converse, or Air Force 1’s, you’re making money and that’s the goal. After your first sale, you will want to keep selling shoes, which could lead to you making a large profit. If you go to a large school, it shouldn’t be hard to find someone to buy a pair of your shoes. Even if you have to negotiate prices, always make sure you’re making a profit. In the case of sneakers, and many other things, the profit you make can lead to other sneakers, which could lead to more profit. It creates a loop in which you could be making serious money. Selling one pair can even lead you to SneakerSesh’s case, where they made $500,000 in their first six months of having a store. You don’t need a store to sell, you just need to know people.
5. Some little tips & information
Here are a few bits of information before you click off this article!
Wear, or Not?
This has been a topic that has divided sneakerheads. If you have a rare, expensive pair of shoes, should you wear them? Let’s say you’ve got the Jordan 1 Off-White Chicagos. This is a shoe worth over $6,000. Would you wear them? I understand that you don’t want to get them dirty, but why would you buy such an expensive shoe just to keep it in a closet or on a shelf?
UA means “Unauthorized Authentic” — it’s a nicer way of saying fake. Some people believe that no one should buy authentic shoes for thousands of dollars — why not pay so much less for a pair that’s almost identical? Others believe that you aren’t really wearing the shoe if it’s fake. You’re not wearing a shoe that actually feels real on your feet. Some people can’t walk around feeling that they have fake shoes on their feet. UA comes into play when reselling because some people do try to sell fake sneakers. It’s sad, but it’s true. The buyers usually find out pretty quickly so if you’re going to try to sell a fake pair, you’ll get caught.
In closing, you are now ready to become a sneakerhead. You’ve got information that will lead you to wins, losses, and hopefully, a good time. You should remember that being a sneakerhead doesn’t mean having fancy, expensive, and rare sneakers. It means that you care about them and to you, they aren’t just shoes. They’re an industry, a community, and if you work hard enough, an occupation.