Sneaker resellers are people who make money by getting shoes, usually limited edition ones, at one price and then resell them for a higher price, taking advantage of their scarcity and sought-after status. Resellers have existed in the sneaker world since at least the 1990s, but have grown in numbers in the past decade due in part to the rise of platforms like StockX and Goat. Their growing ranks have changed the sneaker resale market, which is now worth an estimated $6 billion globally.
The practice of reselling was seen as taboo for many first generation sneakerheads who felt those who participated in marking up shoes for the secondary market were placing profit over a genuine passion for shoes. This view has waned among younger collectors for whom resell is an unavoidable fact of life. Now more than ever, a significant percentage of the Adidas Yeezys and Air Jordans that release on a weekly basis are difficult to buy at retail price, pushing people to turn to resellers for help. Marketplaces like StockX even offer these sneakers before their brand-dictated release date, although buying an early pair on the resell market usually means paying even more money.
Sneaker brands have generally been opposed to reselling, and have spent much energy on getting their shoes in the hands, and on the feet, of “real people.” These anti-resell efforts genuinely including protection against bots, the automated tools resellers use to buy Air Jordans and Adidas Yeezy online in a matter of seconds, giving them an unfair advantage.