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Sneakers: a rapidly growing industry and community Cool designs, celebrity collaborations, and limited supply has turned reselling sneakers into a form of business that's become highly profitable.

With influencer promotion and an increase in demand, the sneaker industry is thriving and expected to become even more successful in coming years. Estimated to be worth 88 billion by 2024, the Global sneaker market is still on the rise.

Although initially designed for sportswear, sneakers are now being worn as everyday shoes. This shift has widened the market for sneakers beyond just athletes. Celebrity endorsement and collaborations have also contributed to an increase in the overall demographic of the sneaker market.

Some of the most well known sneaker brands include YEEZY, Off White, Adidas and Nike/Air Jordan. Each brand has unique designs and branding that make them identifiable. These brands create limited release shoes which can become collectibles and highly valuable. They also create shoes at a more affordable price range that are not exclusive and get reproduced.

VNHS senior Dennis Galin collects sneakers and owns a business called Rundown LA where he sells them for a profit. “What I like most about sneakers is the varieties they come in from different styles to brands such as Nike, Adidas, Vans, and many more. I also like the fact that sneakers have so much versatility with outfits! They basically match with everything.”

As many collectors and people become more passionate about sneakers, the community among those interested in sneakers becomes more prominent. Beyond just selling/trading websites and apps, specific websites such as Sneaker News, Sole Collector, and Kicks on Fire are dedicated specifically to news regarding sneakers. Events such as Sneaker Con allow collectors to come together and buy, sell, trade, and discuss sneakers.

Photo | Jameel Ali Alumnus

“What I enjoy most about buying, selling, and collecting sneakers is the friendships and the relationships I build with people within the sneaker community who share the same passion as me. The profit margin on sneaker reselling is also quite high which allows me to financially support my family.“ says senior Dennis Galin.

Sneaker collectors and people who keep up with releases and news on sneakers have been dubbed as “sneakerheads”. Sneakerheads are known to wait in long lines for the newest releases and have a large collection.

The sneaker market is highly profitable as demand and exclusivity can boost resale and limited release prices up to the thousands. Some of the most expensive sneakers are specific designs and sizes of Air Jordan 1’s, an iconic and classic design of basketball shoes. For example, the website Flight Club has Dior x Air Jordan 1 sneakers listed for as high as 25,000. Collaborations with celebrities and luxury brands can cause increases in prices and demand. One of the priciest celebrity collaborations was designed by Eminem with his shoe design Eminem X Carhartt X Nike Air Jordan 4 Retro, which sold for up to 30,100$. The high price tag was due to a very small amount of sneakers being produced and auctioned.

“My favorite pair of sneakers that I own are the Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2 core black white, also known as “Oreos”. These sneakers came out on December 17, 2016 and retailed for $220. Now they resale for $800-$1900 depending on the size. Even though these are not my most expensive sneakers, they are my favorite because they have a really unique shape that no other sneaker brand has. The color way is also very unique which makes them very versatile with my outfit choices. They are also the most comfortable pair of sneakers that I own.”

One of the most recently coveted shoe collaborations among the shoe community has been the Off White collaboration with Nike designed by Virgil Abloh. Back in 2017 the shoe community received 10 silhouettes of Off White Nike shoes and up until today new pairs and colorways keep dropping.

Although the shoe community remains big many have dedicated themselves to reselling the shoes rather than collecting them.