the recel of sneakers

the recel of sneakers

A fashionable market: the "recel" of sneakers

Since a few years, some pairs of sneakers are worth several months of wages. More and more young people are speculating on these rare and coveted sneakers to make ends meet, thus becoming financial manias.

By Ophélie Francq

Air Jordan, Nike Dunk Low, Air Force 1, Yeezy, New Balance, Dior… Sneakers are no longer just for sportsmen and women and the models are flourishing. Careful design, increasing number of collaborations but especially limited stocks, the sneaker has become a UFO on the fashion planet and a real object of speculation. At a point where the global market for stolen goods is exploding and should reach 25 billion euros over the next ten years.

For a pair, collectors are even ready to pay several thousand euros as for the Nike Air Ships worn by Michael Jordan sold 1.5 million dollars last October by Sotheby’s. A market that seduces collectors but especially the general public and especially the youngest.

On average, the month following the release of a pair, it takes two to three times its initial price

Management student in Perpignan, Marine, 24 years old, earns several hundred euros each month thanks to the collection of basketball. “And more than 1,000 euros during the vacations when I deal with it full time.”

His biggest coup dates from 2016: “a pair of Nike Air Yeezy 2 Red October red” bought in London 2000 euros and resold 12,000. Today, it is worth more than 40 000 euros … “, recalls the student.

A rare girl in the business, Marine has been taking part for almost 10 years in raffles organized by brands such as Adidas or Nike, or by major retailers like Foot Locker or Zalando.

Via their applications, all you have to do is register when a new pair of shoes is released and hope to be among the winners to be able to buy the sneakers at full price.

Another way, but more time-consuming: lining up very early outside the store on release day. “Brands can put thousands of pairs on sale as well as just a hundred. This limited stock system means that on average, the month after a pair is released, it goes for two to three times its original price. And to keep track of the price of each sneaker day after day, applications like StockX are used. Prices can even vary according to the size! At the resellers, we then often sell on Vinted.

Tough competition

Navigating the resale market is not easy. “If the brand decides to restock, for example, the pair immediately loses all its value…

There are also hackers who succeed in sucking up orders thanks to robots; those who obtain pairs thanks to their personal network (the friend of the store’s salesman, for example); and sometimes brands reserve sneakers for a few “VIP” customers.

The stock level available at the time of release of a pair can thus be reduced rapidly. And since raffles only allow for one pair per person, Marine has developed a few tricks: “I get my friends and family to participate, they sign up for the raffle, and if they win, I buy them the pair and give them a commission. I also sometimes misspell the name on the same site or put in multiple credit cards.”

"It's almost an obsession. It's a real daily routine"

Ultimate danger for the “recellers”: “keep the pair for yourself, wear it a little … Instead of reselling it. It loses its value”, explains Marine, who remains above all a great sneaker fan.

If the young girl has never lost money in this business, Hugo, 22 years old from Marseille, can’t say the same: “It hurts my heart to spend so much time to find a pair to resell it directly. So I often wear them a little …

Especially for me, each pair has its history. The color, the shape, the material, the collab, every detail reveals something…” A passion born at the age of 15. A video clip of Justin Bieber is on TV, Hugo flashes on his sneakers but does not find which model it is. He then began to learn about this very special world. “Every day I’m on the networks to track down new products or on Vinted to find good deals.

It’s almost an obsession. It’s a real daily routine. It’s also very compulsive in terms of spending. Some people go to the casino every night to get rich, we watch for the “raffle” every day at 9:00 am to make money”, says the student in BTS commerce.

Full of good will, Hugo decides today to go to the famous vintage store “Maison Mère” in Marseille (often frequented by Jacquemus or Léo Walk) to sell them a newly acquired and unworn pair! If Maison Mère is far from the mass market in terms of “receiving stolen sneakers”, others have taken the gamble to set up a large-scale business.

« Each pair that arrives in our workshops is treated as a work of art.»

Kikikickz, an online platform for the resale of sneakers, launched in October 2020 by 4 friends now has about 40 employees … between 18 and 24 years! 

The company, located in a sumptuous place Valois, in the heart of the first Parisian district, is growing by 30% to 40% per month.

Every day, more than 400 pairs are shipped. Their strength: an extremely well-functioning sneaker search system based on the sprawling network of Killian, one of the young founders. “And every pair that arrives in our workshops is treated like a work of art,” explains Killian. Experts observe the seams, colors, materials, fonts, original packaging, right down to the smell of the brand’s own glue, to ensure the authenticity of the pair.

Bonus for buyers, the company regularly gives away a pair of sneakers via their Instagram account.

The next one will be the “Air Jordan 1 OG Dior“, the absolute grail!  Meeting of the high-end and the sneaker, there are 8500 copies, all numbered. Most of them were directly offered to friends and muses of the house at the time of its release in July 2020. Made directly in Dior’s workshops and not in Nike’s; the pairs are entirely handmade. A jewel worth today about 10 000 euros. Will the lucky winner dare to wear them? A real sacrilege for some purists …