The fast-changing sneaker market

A pair of never worn Air Jordan 12 Retro “Twist.” Photo by Darryl Lewis

Buying sneakers has changed dramatically over the past few years.

First, it has gotten harder for people to get their hands on the shoes they want. If you go into a Foot Locker or any other shoe store, you often cannot buy the shoes want.

Second, there was an increase in sneaker reselling during the pandemic, increasing the demand for sneakers. Finally, stores often do not have the size you are looking for.

“Depending on the shoe, nine times out of 10, we don’t have their size,” said Finish Line store manager Tashon Fleinor.

People were mainly reselling more exclusive shoes like Yezzys and Jordans when reselling started. Recently, less popular shoes like SB Dunks and Air Force Ones are appearing on the resale market. It is relatively difficult to get a pair of Jordans for retail price. When paying resale, you can spend anywhere from  $260 to $400 for a pair of Jordans.

“I remember when people didn’t even wear Dunk. Now you cannot even buy them in stores; they just came into style out of nowhere.” Chris Barnes, a student at FAMU, said.

To try and stop people from buying multiple pairs of shoes, some stores started a one shoe per customer rule and introduced a raffle system to choose who gets the shoe. People found ways to win these raffles by having multiple accounts or just by going up to the store and becoming friends with the employees, and they will get you a pair.

“For regular people, it’s harder to get shoes because Jordan is only making so many shoes, and a lot of the shoe stores back door their sneakers to resellers, and I’m not one of them,” said Andrew Lewis IV, owner of Tallahassee-based Sneaker Renegade Trusted Shoe Reseller.

Buying sneakers has  gotten tougher because sneakers are in such high demand and shoe companies are making limited numbers of shoes. Getting a shoe for the retail price is nice, but you will rarely win a raffle. Buying shoes from a reseller can sometimes take the hassles out of getting shoes.

If the shoe store does not have the shoes you want, a reseller most likely will.

The sneaker selling market has changed and the days of shopping in the stores are slowly going away.