The secondary sneaker retail market has turned into a billion-dollar business and it’s largely due to the existence of Flight Club, New York City’s Mecca for buying and selling coveted kicks. Since the first location opened at 254 Greene Street in April 2005, Flight Club has set the industry standard for consignment stores and spawned a bevy of similar operations. The shop, which has since relocated to 812 Broadway, has become a must-see destination for visiting sneakerheads, who feast their eyes on a vast selection of Saran-Wrapped shoes that line the store’s walls. It’s the go-to place to purchase any sold-out sneaker, whether it was released just last weekend or is a grail-status item that people come just to see in person. Both can be found at their current market price. With so many treasures in one location, Flight Club has simplified the process of hunting down elusive and exclusive sneakers and presented them in a way that allows shoppers to find what they’ve been searching for.
How Flight Club amasses stock as a middleman in shoe resales is easy: Would-be sellers bring in their sneakers, consult with the experts at Flight Club to figure out a fair price, and then they receive 80 percent of the asking price when the sneakers are sold. And as sneaker culture has grown in recent years, so too have the top-ticket values at Flight Club. During the shop’s first year in business, in the midst of the Nike SB Dunk craze, Flight Club sold only one pair of sneakers for more than $1,000. Now there are sneakers that fetch several times that amount. What’s being sold at a premium has changed, too. Anything designed by Kanye West can be a big payday for resellers. So can player-edition Air Jordans that were made in scarce numbers or never released at retail. Selling these vaunted sneakers is what gives Flight Club its reputation. It’s one of the few places that anyone can walk into and pick up the pair of their dreams if they’re willing to pay the price.
Since its early days, Flight Club has expanded, opening a location at 503 N. Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles and another briefly in Tokyo. The aftermarket for sneakers has seen similar growth. It’s common for a full-size run of the latest Air Jordan retro or hyped collaboration to pop up at Flight Club hours after it’s gone on sale. Although this has caused the market to become more saturated than ever, it hasn’t stopped consumers from purchasing sneakers that cost as much as a good used car. In celebration of 10 years of Flight Club, we’ve looked back at the store’s 10 most expensive sneaker sales for each year of its existence. It serves as an index of how much certain sneakers are worth, and also shows how much the consignment world has blown up. From the early days, to the recession years, to current times when certain sneakers can be sold for over $10,000, Flight Club has come a long way and defined its industry in the process. Today, when someone asks, “How much is a sneaker going for on Flight Club?” it’s not only a question of how much something’s worth, but the current state of sneaker culture.