You need bitches and marijuana. Jk, you just need money and at least half a brain.
As suggested by the title, this article is really for the people who have zero idea on how to start collecting sneakers. This means, you probably like the shoes you see on Instagram or you are curious about what “NMDs” or “Jordans” are. It’s not a hard to understand, really, but to understand the whole “hype” aspect, we need to explore a few concepts first.
To start off, the whole “hype” and reseller market of sneakers is based on supply and demand. Due to the wide accessibility of information these days, more and more people get to know about upcoming products. While these products are genuinely “good” products and are appealing, the fact is, the companies generate a lot of hype and advertising for these products, but ultimately release a less-than-expected product count. That way, the companies will keep consumers hungry for the next thing and ensure each product is a guaranteed success (even the less-desirable variations). This is essentially the selling tactic that Supreme has been using for years…and it’s unbeatable.
What is a Hype shoe?
The answer is simple, really. Go on any sneaker-news website and anything they post is considered hype. However, if you’re getting into the sneaker game, chances are, you’re looking for Yeezys, NMDs, Ultra Boosts, and Air Jordans. However, with each different shoe or different colorway (different color), the popularity varies. For example, a solid colored NMD is not nearly on the same level as a collaboration-based NMD (ie Mastermind Japan). Or, Air Jordans can have variations on their value based on the Jordan # – a Jordan 12 release is more likely to be much more popular than a Jordan 29 release.
With Yeezys, they are ALWAYS hype. Basically what I’m saying is, if you have the chance to “cop” one, then do so ASAP. Either it’s for your collection or resell value, you’re never going to lose out.
Of course, you’re more than welcome to have your own “must-cop” shoes that are not classified as Hype. It is important to maintain your own sense of style and establish your own path as a hypebeast. Just because it wasn’t sold out immediately or it wasn’t featured as much, doesn’t mean a pair can’t be your personal grail.
How to Cop?
I think, for any sneakerhead, either seasoned or beginner, will always scratch their head over this question. Questions range from release dates, sizes available, raffle, or even if there’s instore availability. There’s no “definitive” way to know everything, but the only way to expand your knowledge would be to follow authoritative groups on either Instagram or Twitter. Accounts such as JustFreshKicks or SneakerNews usually provide the first-line information you need to cop any shoe. However, information is only half the battle.
Checkout. The Finish Line. The Deciding Moment. So you paid attention to the release dates…and you showed up at the exact time…and you tried to add to cart. 2 things can happen: it gets into your cart or it takes forever…and tells you it’s out of stock. What happened? You clicked exactly at 10:00AM. You did everything right. But guess what…
You’re slower than bots. With the advent of technology, auto-checkout bots are now the only thing that “guarantees” a cop. These bots, once they enter a page, automatically adds the item to your cart…at a rate only human sneakerheads could dream about. By the time you have selected your size, they’re probably already checked out… and that is why you didn’t get your grail.
What the hell do I do then?
- Buy a bot yourself. As sketchy and shady as that suggestion sounds, it might be the only way you can cop a Yeezy. Of course, nothing is guaranteed, but your odds are greatly increased. I personally discourage the use of bots as it makes the game completely unfair and not really up to chance as it once was.
- Get an RSVP service. Usually companies such as RSVP Kingz offer “slots” for their bots. It’s like buying a bot, except you pay a ton more, but it’s almost guaranteed. Morals are up to you.
- Adidas Confirmed- Some releases are through Adidas’ confirmed app. It allows a more “fair” reservation system for retail shoes. However, I personally think the app is compromised in some ways. Regardless, regular people have been able to cop grail releases (NMD or Yeezy) on the app without any bots (ie my girlfriend… what?)
- Buy from a reseller
So You Missed Out.
I know, it sucks. You thought you had it, but you didn’t. It was all a dream, and then reality came crashing down. In any case, what you’ll end up having to do is to buy from a reseller (people who succeeded where you didn’t). Without a doubt, you will be subjected to reseller premiums such as:
Yeezy MSRP: $200 Resell: $1200+
NMD MSRP: $140 Resell: $300
and so on…
But…buying from resellers is another skill you have to learn. Since the sneaker market is what it is today, there are a plethora of fakes you can find on the internet. While I don’t condone buying fakes, but if it’s only the look you want, and you have no qualms about it, go ahead- just don’t pretend they’re real to other sneakerheads (you’ll look really stupid). Of course, there will be people “reselling” fakes to you as if they were authentic…and that’s a major problem you have to avoid. We’ll touch on this later.
Ideally, you’ll have to buy from reseller websites such as Kixify, eBay, and Flight Club. While buying from Flight Club guarantees authenticity, websites such as Kixify or eBay have no way of verifying the shoes. Basically the website serves only to connect seller with customer.
To avoid the lack of authenticity, consumers can buy from apps (on iOS and Android) such as StockX and GOAT. Both apps have a verification step, where they require the reseller to ship the product to them first for verification, before they eventually ship it to the customer. It’s a nifty feature, and it is sans taxes. Best part is, the service only costs $10, and that’s for the shipping.
Now, back to fakes. There are fakes that are so spot on, and fakes that are blatantly cheap knockoffs. Interestingly, they’re mostly all the same price. I can understand missing out on the retail price and not being able to afford the reseller premium. So if you just want the look for your own purposes, I really do support that. However, what I look down on, and I’m sure what most people do as well, is if you pass off your fakes as the real ones. A fanatic will most likely be able to spot some of the differences, so if you have a pair of fakes, then keep it on the DL.
Also, there are plenty of sources on Google or Youtube comparing fakes with retail products. While some differences are really obvious, some of the other fakes are exactly the same as retail…and at that point, that’s just completely out of your control. Do be aware that nobody selling fakes as genuine shoes would post pictures that show the “defects”. A way to circumvent this would be to request pictures from different angles or specific portions. In addition to “photo verification”, sometimes the seller will include a receipt. At times, this is a good-faith act that sellers do, but receipts are incredibly easy to counterfeit. Examine the receipt carefully before deciding to purchase the shoe.
Sadly, even with all that knowledge beforehand, you’re still incredibly likely to get a pair of fake shoes. That’s why if I have to buy resell, I would only purchase from StockX or GOAT. I trust my own skills, but sometimes you just need an experienced insider to tell you where the discrepancies are.
Hopefully I have covered the scope of the things you need to know on becoming a true sneakerhead. The Dos and Dont’s are as blatantly stated as is. One thing I failed to mentioned above is that it’s best to join your local sneakerhead group if possible. That way you can know what local stores are stocking the shoes you want. It never hurts to have an additional source of information, or be a team player.
As with most “collecting” passions, being a sneakerhead is not cheap. Even if you cop a majority of shoes at retail price, you will most likely end up spending a large # of Benjamins. Now, if you pretty much only buy resold shoes…well you’ll be spending a fortune on shoes. So…play the game at your own caution- once the thirst starts, it never goes away.