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Every weekend people are on the hunt to get the newest sneakers, but often they strike out when the demand exceeds the supply. Anyone who tried to get a pair of the new Yeezy Boosts this past weekend found that out very fast. There’s a new service that’s looking to solve this problem, though. No, they don’t have an unlimited stock of every sneaker ever made, but they have a solution for people who want the latest and greatest—or at least those who want to wear what’s new for a few days to make a great impression. That’s right—they’re renting out shoes.
LSWOP, short for Luxury Swop, is a new service that allows subscribers to get a pair of sneakers for one to four days for $150. There are also other plans available: two sneakers a month for $300, and 3 sneakers a month for $450 (it’s slightly cheaper to become a year-long member).
The company made waves when it put the new Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 v2s on its site, which makes renting out a pair of Kanye West’s new shoes—just to stunt on Instagram or impress a date—a reality. The site skews towards high-end footwear with offerings from Saint Laurent, Rick Owens, Louis Vuitton, and more. It’s the solution for the world we live in, where people either can’t afford shoes, can’t obtain them, or just want them to make an impression.
Either way, we were able to speak to LSWOP’s founders, Jinette Cordero and Jonathan Escoffery, about how they’re trying to change the way we buy and wear sneakers.
Tell me about your company.
Cordero: We’re a new online subscription company. For a flat-rate fee, we rent top designer sneakers to our members. All members have to do is select the sneakers they want. We ship them out to them. Shipping and returns are free. It’s simple and straightforward.
When did you start the company?
Escoffery: We came up with the idea last year. We did a soft launch earlier this year to test it out. We launched the company this year and have had a lot of great traction. We’re excited about the future.
So you can rent the sneakers for up to four days?
Escoffery: You can keep the shoes for no less than a day, no more than four days. Our average sneaker is between $800-$1,500. That’s the cost of a yearly subscription. Everyone loves European luxury designer sneakers, but they don’t like the idea of buying sneakers that you’re going to wear once, and then they collect dust. So we offer a service where you pay a low monthly rate, and you can have up to three sneakers a month, which will cover you for every weekend for the whole year.
How do you pick who gets to wear your shoes and become a member?
Escoffery: We hand select our members. We ask questions to find out who the person is. We’re very selective about who we rent the shoes to, but we’re not excluding anyone. They have to sign the terms of agreement on what’s acceptable and what’s not. We understand there’s basic wear and tear, but anything that’s over the top is not acceptable. Each sneaker that goes out comes with a credit card hold for its retail amount. It’s like renting a car. When it’s returned, the hold is taken off the car. We have our patented 3M sole protector that goes on the bottom of the shoe, a pair of socks, Jason Markk’s product to clean it, and a shoe protector to stop it from creasing. Each customer has their own custom wood-wrapped box with their name on it. We make sure we cater to our clients.
Do people have to protect the soles when they wear them?
Escoffery: It’s mandatory, because our thing is to maintain the quality of the product we send out. When someone gets it, it needs to be brand new or close to brand new. Sneakers don’t get sent out more than two or three times before they’re then sold to our members on our website at an 80 to 90 percent discounted rate. It is important the sole stays protected. You may step out of the house and step in a pile of shit—God forbid that happens. We don’t want our members walking on eggshells, but we need to preserve the shoes. If you slip that off, the bottom is never touched.
You started carrying the Yeezys. Are you going to stock more athletic sneakers?
Escoffery: Definitely not. We’re going to stay high end. We’re sneakerheads, but there are a lot of sites and blogs dedicated to athletic sneakers. We chose the Yeezy because of the exclusivity that it has, and that’s it. In the future we may do something, but right now our business model is European designer sneakers.
Cordero: Every month we bring in new stock, so we want our product to be constantly rotating.
Do you have celebrities who rent shoes from you?
Cordero: Our demographic is people who embody this luxury lifestyle. They buy the sneakers already, but they love the service. It includes celebrities, stylists, industry people, and working people who like luxury sneakers.