You don’t have to read a newspaper to realize how times have changed; just look at your feet. Sneakers used to be shoes you threw on to play outdoors? Even the word is a bit passé. “Sneakers” are out. “Athletic” is in.
Back in the day, there were two sneaker choices- regular or high-tops? Kids and parents had a few extra options when it came to color: white, black, red and navy-blue. Basically, that was it. That was then.
The athletic footwear industry is bursting. In 2002 American consumers spent more than 14 billion dollars in sports footwear, and by 2014 U.S. consumers spent 20.57 billion covering their feet . The most recognized athletic shoe manufacturer, Nike, sells 120 million shoes every year . Additionally, and this is where the rubber sole meets the road, hundreds of entrepreneurs are purchasing name brand athletic shoes for resell. The most coveted shoes are those with an athlete’s names attached to them. For instance, The LeBron 10 What the MVP resells on Ebay for more than $3000. What?
“Why” is a better question. Why would anyone pay three grand for a pair of athletic shoes? The answer; the growing number of athletic shoe collectors who clamor over limited edition shoes that are often associated with sports figures.
Very serious collectors, also referred to as “sneakerheads“, are defined by their passion for athletic shoes, and the fervor in which they acquire them.
The exact point in time when the feverish collecting phenomenon began is unclear. However, there is evidence that the re-release of Nike’s Air Force 1 catapulted the craze, and Nike’s release of Air Jordan’s fueled the fire. The industry continues to grow, branching out from sports and into other avenues, but it initially began with sports, and continues to intensify. Collectors arrive before the light of day, camping out at storefronts, waiting for the doors to open, to grab up the newest and soon- to-be-rare edition of an athletic shoe. The very act of collecting rare, collectible shoes has itself turned into a sport; whoever can get there the fastest, last the longest and cart of the most, wins.
Collectors fall within a number of different categories. Some collect, but never wear the shoes they gather. Some are serious collectors that amass shoes for their own pleasure and collection. Others search out collectible shoes to resell. These men and women take the business of collecting very seriously. It is just that- a business. Savvy collectors know the market and what the market will bear. They know what to buy, what to sell and where to sell it. They collect shoes that are most often connected to a prominent sports figure and will gain a significant profit. For instance, there are shoe lines that are specifically associated with a single player. Nike, for example utilizes sports figures for selling their shoes.
You don’t have to be a sneakerhead to recognize that Michael Jordan has a marketable signature shoe line. Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and the aforementioned Lebron James do too. Models of these collectibles have a variety of colorways (a colorful way the industry has of describing the combination of colors available). The different colorways are released through out the year.
Limited edition shoes are the most difficult for collectors to locate, and will generally have the highest markup at resale. Recently, a signed pair of Air Jordon Retro, size 13 shoes, was being sold on Ebay for $5000. The buyer could also finance the pair to the tune of $834 per month for six months. You would think at that price the seller would spring for postage, but no.
Jordan’s shoes had nothing on those of Lebron James, which were recently being auctioned for $20,000.
Collecting signed shoes and other sports memorabilia can be risky. You can imagine as the market grows, so do the number of counterfeiters who would shake down sneakerheads in order to make an illegal profit of their own. Making purchases outside of an established retailer increases the possibility.
This is never a concern for purchases made through Steiner Sports, the leading producer of authentic hand-signed collectibles. So, go ahead and pair a signed jersey with a unique pair of vintage or collectible athletic shoes. Player exclusive collectibles are guaranteed to be authentic. Purchasing a Michael Jordan autographed, Mitchell & Ness, Red Bulls Jersey is a sure thing. With every signed piece, Steiner Sports includes an authenticity guarantee. Michael Jordan was witnessed to gave signed the jersey you purchase, and an affidavit to that fact is included, along with a sports hologram affixed to the product.
If you prefer an autographed Lebron James basketball to accompany his collectible LeBron 10 What the MVP shoes, Steiner Sports has that too. And, just like the Michael Jordan jersey, it also comes with a guarantee.