Feb 27, 2023 - Business

Detroit's sneaker resale market takes a nosedive

A nike sneaker going from red to gray

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

✌🏽 Hey, it's Sam. The sneaker resale market has plummeted from when I was flipping shoes while working at Foot Locker back in college.

Why it matters: Price declines are leading sneaker heads and analysts to wonder if the market is crashing — or just normalizing from pandemic peaks, reports Axios' Kate Marino.

By the numbers: Research provider Altan Insights looked at price data from the Detroit-based resale platform StockX for over 100 popular sneaker releases over  the last several years. It found that the average price return in 2022 was negative 7%.

  • Some pairs in Nike's latest Travis Scott collaboration sell for about $500 now. They likely would have been in the thousands were they released in 2020, says Mike Sykes, writer of The Kicks You Wear.

Flashback: People always chuckle when I tell them I made more money reselling Yeezy's than I did working at MLive.

  • When Ye, formerly Kanye West, left Nike to join Adidas during my senior year of high school, it became the most popular celebrity sneaker collab ever. Loads of teenagers — myself included — cashed in on the hype while becoming retail supply chain experts in the process.
  • It was hailed as an alternative asset class, with active markets growing on eBay and upstart platforms like StockX, GOAT or Grailed.

Now: StockX laid off more employees last fall and was sued by Nike last year for allegedly selling fake shoes and selling NFTs of Nike shoes.

  • Resellers, especially those with scale, can still turn a profit — but it's harder for the fringe reseller to make much, Sykes says.
  • "The fever pitch that the market was once at is gone."

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