The National Retail Federation says consumers are spending $161 this year on shoes. A new pair of kicks is one of the most frequently bought items – especially during back-to-school and other key shopping holidays. Shoes are not only considered to be a fashion statement but collectible even. Some people purchase shoes to complete an outfit while others purchase shoes and sneakers to resell them and earn some cash on the side. Whatever the reason may be, learning how to flip shoes for profit is a great opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs or those looking to expand their resale business.
In fact, the sneaker resale industry is set to become a $6 billion business globally by 2025. The value of resale in the sneaker business is directly related to the supply that gets put out by retailers like Nike and Adidas, among others. If there were enough shoes and sneakers to go around, there wouldn’t be nearly as much competition when it comes to reselling. Shoes can also gain value over time if consumers can no longer find them on store shelves (or virtual ones). Not to mention, the availability of certain sizes, brands, and colors.
In this post we’ll take a deep dive into reselling shoes for a profit. We will go into more detail on:
- The shoe resale industry
- Where you can resell sneakers
- How to start reselling
- Shoe liquidation
The Shoe Resale Industry: Overview
Not many items resell for over their retail value on the secondary market, but shoes and sneakers are two of those cases. That’s because the sneaker resale market specifically operates on two important principles: scarcity and exclusivity. StockX, one of the biggest sneaker marketplaces in the world, said sneakers sold on the platform are on average 48 percent more expensive than their retail price tags.
Certain sneakers, in particular, are manufactured as “limited release”, so given enough promotion and hype, demand far exceeds supply. This means there is an opening for resellers looking to flip shoes for profit. Depending on the size, men’s vs. women’s, supply, brand or collab, and time of release, resellers can make serious earrings.
Where Can You Resell Sneakers and Shoes
These are just a handful of the platforms you will want to be familiar with if you are thinking about reselling sneakers and shoes. Simply put, these sites make your life easier and can also streamline your footwear selling and buying process.
StockX tracks the price of shoes and sneakers over a 12 month period — a helpful tool when determining which shoes you may want to invest in for reselling purposes. Sellers can list shoes for resale where interested buyers bid or buy said shoes. StockX acts like a middleman between the buyer and seller – which can be reassuring with fake sneakers circulating out there. This also helps take out the cumbersome process of shipping to your own customers by letting StockX handle it instead.
When we talk about sneakers selling for over their original retail value this is what we mean. A pair of Nike SB Dunks, for instance, could retail for $90 and sell for as high as $300 on StockX. Check out their price history over time below.
GOAT positions itself between primary and resale markets, catering to sneaker enthusiasts with styles from the past, present and future; they’ve also expanded to accessories and apparel. Buyers can purchase from select shoe sellers like retailers and boutiques, or directly from GOAT. With over 20 million members across 164 countries, this global platform is a staple for resellers.
You send your items (footwear, apparel, and accessories) to Stadium Goods and they handle the inspecting, listing, marketing, and shipping. It’s that easy. Not to mention Stadium Goods is another trusted source for shoe resellers and well-known among the community.
They use their own sales channels, along with Amazon, eBay, Farfetch, and more to broaden the reach of whatever you’re trying to sell. Since Stadium Goods keeps inventory on-site, sellers can expect quick shipping and payouts.
You will find a lot more than just shoes and sneakers on Depop. But don’t rule this one out completely. The personal touch of social selling is a key component to this marketplace and you can definitely capture some shoe enthusiasts looking for trendy streetwear—21 million users and counting! Shoppers are buying directly from sellers (peer-to-peer) and can browse and like listings similar to a social media site. On the flip side, sellers can create their own shop policies and there is a 10% flat fee for when an item sells. Depop is also based in the UK so you can reach international customers.
How to Start Reselling Sneakers
Keeping up with sneaker news is essential. You must be on top of shoe releases and how you can get your hands on new sneakers. There are a couple of ways you can go about that:
- Conventions – Sneaker Con is a good way to meet face-to-face to buy, sell, and trade collectible sneakers with thousands of attendees and vendors.
- Follow social accounts on Twitter (SNKR_TWITR) and Instagram (@deadstocksneakermarket) that create communities for sneaker enthusiasts to get connected.
- YouTube – YouTube channels build cult followings and will update their followers on all things related to the sneaker world, upload reviews, and sell from their own collection.
- Hypebeast and Highsnobiety – Both news sites started as blogs covering streetwear and fashion, and now are two main sources for sneaker news (they also cover other luxury brand partnerships and culture).
Start with one pair
If you want to start out with a pair you know will sell, go with popular brands. It makes it easier to spot fakes and research pricing. There are reliable players in the sneaker industry that you can start with that have been around for decades like Nike and Adidas. You will want to look into the specific silhouettes and colorways that may sell better (and faster) than others.
Plan when and how you can buy
If you’re on top of release drops, you can get the best price (which is the retail price) before they’re introduced to the secondary market, where resale premiums can reach hundreds of dollars more. For collaborations and limited editions especially, you will likely never find them cheaper than on their release days. That is why you should create an efficient strategy for when and how you will buy. These tools can help:
- Apps that track releases – Apps like Copdate help you avoid lines and secure highly anticipated shoe drops. You essentially make a reservation for upcoming product launches and Copdate does the rest. Grailify keeps a release calendar following sneaker news “from the very first rumor to the official release to the last restock.”
- Bots – Some of the bigger shoe resellers use bots to help automate the process of finding shoes in the size, color, and style they want. They essentially do the searching on retail sites so you don’t have to! But when starting out, we’d recommend taking the time to carefully search for shoes yourself.
Keep in mind while some bots and apps let you place orders so you don’t physically have to wait in lines, it does the same for other resellers, too! Competition is tight and you need to be on top of your game if you want to buy at a good price that allows you to make your money back and then some.
Check eBay pricing
It’s impossible to talk about flipping shoes without mentioning eBay. We know resellers far and wide use it, and the buying audience is huge, but do sneakers do well on this online marketplace? The answer is yes. Just one search for “Limited edition sneakers” yields 66,000+ results. (Which can be overwhelming if you’re just starting out.) Don’t worry – there are filters you can use to help narrow your search a bit. For example, filter by brands like Nike, Jordan, Adidas, Reebok, New Balance, and more. You can also filter by color and theme, such as “retro” or “90s”, as well as the condition and features like “Performance”. There’s even a check box for “Authenticity Guarantee” to give you peace of mind.
The best thing to check on eBay is pricing. You can see what limited-edition sneakers go for as well as the bidding activity. It’s also worth noting what auctions closed at by adding the “Sold Items” filter. This gives you a good idea of how much you can potentially make yourself (with the right pair of shoes, of course). See an example below of what Air Jordan1s and Nike Yeezy Red Octobers were listed for!
YouTube channels are a good educational tool but also another outlet for resellers and sneakerheads. And with YouTube’s over 2 billion logged-in monthly users, you have the potential to reach plenty of eyeballs. Having an engaging social media that centers around your chosen category, like shoes, attracts interested buyers looking to research their purchase decisions. Over time, you will start to come up in relevant searches and you can promote your sales channels on your profile.
Learn how to spot the fakes
This is not a lesson you want to learn the hard way. With so many sellers out there, you want to make sure you’re buying the real deal. A price that’s way too good to be true is always one indicator there could be something shady going on. If you want to be very thorough, you can ask for specific photos with indicators like the current date on a newspaper to accurately place them. You can also ask for the purchase receipt, check their seller ratings on eBay and Amazon, read reviews, and get apps that help check authenticity like CheckCheck.
Reinvest your earnings into more shoes
If you want to get into the reselling game for the long haul, reinvesting your earrings into another pair of more expensive or limited-edition sneakers is a good option. You can start researching what pair those may be even before you have the money to buy them. Once you get comfortable with the industry, you can sell more sought-after shoes with higher profit margins!
Have a plan for storage
Shoes take up more space than other items you can start flipping. And it’s not like you can fold them up into nice piles like with T-shirts and pants. The shoebox is equally important when reselling shoes, so you must accommodate for stacks of shoeboxes. Also consider how you will organize different sizes, colors, and types.
Browse shoe liquidation auctions on B-Stock
If shoes and sneakers are your hobby already, and you’ve been interested in getting in on the action but without the inflated prices, you can also look into liquidation footwear and apparel. Find shoe liquidation inventory from retailers like Amazon, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Journeys, and Zulily on their B-Stock private marketplace. Not only can you acquire a lot of inventory at once for the price you’re willing to bid, but you can grow your reselling business faster than by buying one or two pairs of shoes at a time.
Check out A Guide to Buying Liquidation Apparel, Accessories, & Shoes for more information and register to become a B-Stock buyer today!