When we are at a sneaker event we have hundreds of Nike Air Max 1s with us. The prices of these Nike Air Max 1s are rising considerably. Price tags of € 1,000, but also of € 3,000 and € 10,000 are not special for Outsole. We all understand that sometimes a million is paid for a piece of art. But 10 grand for worn sneakers …?!
“Forget about that sneakers are just shoes. It’s art.”
Is it “expensive” or “a lot of money”?
Many visitors are shocked by these prices. Want to fit a sneaker and then discover that the pair costs € 3,000. Funny faces are not the only result, it also results in interesting conversations. Because why are these sneakers so expensive compared to the other pairs? Why are these worn sneakers more expensive than sneakers in a store? Of course we’d love to explain why sneakers are sometimes so expensive. Starting with that “expensive” is not the right word. There is a difference between “expensive” and “a lot of money”. There is no doubt that these sneakers cost a lot of money. But it is worth it and it often even pays for itself.
The Nike Air Max 1 Kid Robot Hyperstrike. An unwearable pair with the meager price tag of € 6,000
Our sneaker Christmas tree, built with exclusive sneakers and worth tens of thousands of euros.
Demand versus supply
Just like art collectors, there are also sneaker collectors. For many people these collectors are totally unknown and it seems unreal. But you read that right: collectors of used second-hand sweat sneakers. No, it is not a fetish, rather a smart investment. For “sneaker heads” sneakers are extremely valuable. Not only emotionally, but especially financially. There is not one specific reason that sneakers are worth a lot. “Scarcity” or “There are a few pairs only made” is too short a turn. Namely, there are enough unique or limited releases that have not become worth much. Of course it is about demand versus supply. Only in the first instance the demand is much more important than the supply. This demand is determined by various factors. The supply eventually determines to what extent the price rises.
1. Brand and model:
If you design a sneaker yourself, then it will not just be worth much, regardless of the quantity released. It is important to what extent it concerns a appreciated and valued brand and model. Good examples are the Nike Air Max 1, Nike Air Jordan 1 and Adidas Yeezy Boost 350. So-called “high end” sneakers are usually destined to remain stable or to increase in value.
2. Colleboration with artists
Who released the sneaker? Kanye West? Piet Parra? Then empty your money box fast, this pair of sneakers will be valuable instantly! Famous designers and especially proven designers have a huge impact on the value of a sneaker. In 95% of the cases, these sneakers are worth (much) more in short period. Not every sneaker is released as an “collab” with an artist.
3. Collaboration with stores
Not only are sneakers designed with artists, sneakers are also released in collaboration with exclusive stores. For example, Nike Air Max 1s released by Patta (Amsterdam) or Atmos (Tokyo) are practically always worth a fortune. But also a Size? Exclusive can be worth a lot. Not every collab is valuable. For example, a number of Footlocker Exclusives have barely increased in value.
A good colorway is not unimportant. “OG” Retro releases always retain their value. For example the Nike Air Max 1 OG Red, OG Blue, or Nike Air Max 90 Infrared. Colors such as pink, mint and burgundy are also popular in the market. It is the combination of colors that the sneaker makes, especially when exclusive materials are used. What a good color scheme is cannot be defined. We see that colorways, previously experienced as awful, are now highly sought after. For example the Nike Air Max 1 Supreme Animal Pack in collaboration with Atmos. And to be honest, most hyperstrikes are certainly not the most beautiful neither.
Are special materials used? Then a sneaker is often more sought after. Animal prints, denim and corduroy, for example, are doing very well. A sneaker that deviates at material level from the standard will quickly be a grail for the average sneaker collector.
6. Original retail price
Retail is the price at which sneakers are initially sold in the store. Retail prices can be higher than sneaker heads are used to. Sometimes because premium materials are used. Sometimes “because it is possible”. Anyway, a higher value often directly influences the resell value. Of course there are exceptions to this. The other factors determine whether a higher retail value is justified.
This is what it’s all about in the end. If the above factors apply, then a sneaker will be hyped. The more hype, the more demand. Does the supplier also spend a hell of a money at marketing? BOOM! You have a new holy grail. We have seen the ugliest sneakers be hyped in this way, resulting in huge demand afterwards. Good examples of this are the Nike Air Max 1 Clot I and Nike Air Max 1 Susan Missing Link. Whether you will like sneakers just because of “hype”? Absolutely!
The quantity of pairs released has a huge impact on the value of the sneaker. When a release is released as a limited Tier Zero (TZ) or Quick Strike (QS) it becomes more difficult to be able to purchase the sneakers. When this fact is known, the demand often increases even more. However, it is not the case that every rare sneaker is valuable. Other factors always apply too!
2. Release type
A sneaker can be issued in various ways. Instead of selling a sneaker in a store, whether or not limited, it can also be offered through an (online) raffle. You must then register or, for example, like and share something online. You can imagine that this has an effect on the extent to which a sneaker is hyped. Finally, some Friends & Family (F&F) and/or Hyperstrike (HS) releases are only issued to acquaintances of the publisher and designer. It will not be more exclusive than that!
3. Release year
Is a sneaker old? Then this pair must be harder to find in good condition already. The older the sneaker, the greater the chance that the sneaker is worth more. To a certain extent. After a number of years (usually 10+) the chance is slowly but surely greater that a sneaker becomes fragile. In that case the value can decrease again.
The Nike Air Max 1 Albert Heijn Hyperstrike. We sold this sneaker for € 1,300 once. This pair is now worth the tenfold of that!
Will my sneakers become more valuable?
The more factors that apply to your sneakers, the greater the chance that they will increase in value. Sneakers that are already worth a lot of money often continue to increase in value. Unfortunately, there are no certainties. We cannot fully predict it either. We once sold a Nike Air Max 1 Albert Heijn Hyperstrike for a little more than € 1,000. The value is now more than ten times that amount! In all cases the following applies: take good care of your sneakers. Then you know for sure that a sneaker will never be completely worthless.
Invest in sneakers
Buying sneakers as an investment remains a gamble. Whether the aforementioned factors influence a sneaker, that might remain a question for many of us. The necessary knowledge and experience in the sneaker world is required. Therefore our advice: don’t focus too much on the financial side in the first instance, but just focus on your love for sneakers. Buy sneakers that you like. If they become more valuable at the same time, that is an added benefit. A sneaker that just looks amazing, in a showcase or if possible on feet, that makes you much happier. After a while, if you are active as a sneakerhead for a longer period and you know how it works, sneakers as investment will be more likely to pay off. That’s how we became big as well. Trading, buying and occasionally selling a sneaker to finance your collection. That is what collecting sneakers is all about!
Did you know that: There are one or more samples of every sneaker, also of the most exclusive sneakers. Usually samples are more valuable. Samples are exclusive by definition. Has the sample never been released, does it differ from the actual release, or do you have the sample from a sneaker that is already worth a lot of money? You probably have gold in hand.
De Nike Air Max 1 Cork Book of One Samples are one of the most wanted samples out there. Together with her brown green ‘sister’ these sneakers are worth a fortune.