The sneaker resale price cycle is one all too familiar within the sneaker community. For those that aren’t lucky enough to get shoes for retail prices on release day, they have no choice but to hit the secondary market where pairs are often sold at a premium. Depending on when exactly you decide to buy your pairs in the resale market, you could be paying much higher prices. Taking a look at the price trends and knowing when the best time to buy is could save you some money on resale prices.
The resale price cycle starts with early pairs hitting the market and selling at a pre-release premium that people are willing to pay to get their hands on an early pair. Whether they’re sneaker news outlets looking to get the first scoop, YouTube sneaker reviewers trying to get their subscribers the first look, or an influencer trying to get likes on instagram, these are the ‘gotta-have-it’ buyers. For those not shelling out the cash to get an early pair, they’re waiting to try their luck on release day.
Once release day hits and people get their W’s or L’s, the market sees an inflow of product and those steep pre-release prices drop as pairs in the market, or supply, increases.
After the post-release snatch-up where the unlucky people that didn’t get their pairs have to hit the resell market, we begin to see prices gradually increase. In some cases, eventually the resale price surpasses the pre-release price.
In this post, we are going to take a look at this Resale Swoosh phenomenon by using StockX data to analyze the resale prices of perhaps the most revered and sought after Nike collection: Virgil Abloh’s “The Ten”.
Nike x Off White “The Ten”
Majority of “The Ten” collection released on November 20th, 2017. Many sneakerheads might remember being glued to the SNKRS app this day as Nike decided to take a different approach for this release and staggered the drops throughout the day. I personally did not get a single pair despite trying feverishly hour after hour under the table during Professor Lockwood’s GEOL101 lecture.
In Virgil Abloh’s “The Textbook”, a first hand account of the inspiration and creation of the collection, he explains that the collection is two equal parts, “REVEALING” and “GHOSTING”. With “REVEALING” being the 5 shoes that followed the theme of being deconstructed. The Nike Blazer Mid, Air Jordan I, Nike Air Presto, Nike Air VaporMax, and Nike Air Max 90. And “GHOSTING” being the 5 shoes that saw an additional transparent outer layer added. The Converse Chuck Taylor, Nike Air Force 1, Nike React Hyperdunk, Nike Air Max 97, and Nike Zoom Vaporfly.
The Resale Swoosh
Virgil’s zip-tie donning kicks have been a persistent hit in the sneaker community, continuing to climb in value while showing no signs of slowing down. All of these shoes in the collection are now fetching unfathomable resale prices on the secondary market. However, looking at the graph we can see that every pair followed the “Resale Swoosh”, experiencing an initial pre-sale premium, followed by a drop on release day, and then a gradual increase over time since. Looking at the Air Jordan I data, we can see an almost perfect Swoosh shape.
Looking at the graph a bit closer we can see that there were a couple of ‘sleeper’ pairs that quickly surpassed their pre-sale prices after the release. Among these are the Nike Air Prestos– having been described by Virgil as an inside out Air Max 90 jammed into a Presto cage– which were selling in the pre-release market for upwards of $1,300, and reached those prices once again only 3 months after the release. In comparison the Air Jordan I, perhaps the most sought after of the entire collection, had pre-release prices averaging around $2,500 in the two months before releasing. It took the Air Jordan I nearly a year and a half before resale prices hit this $2,500 weekly average again.
After looking at the data, the moral of the story appears to be that if you aren’t willing to pay pre-sale prices before the shoes come out, then the best time to buy would be immediately after the drop. According to weekly averages of the StockX data, “The Ten” Collection in its entirety would have cost you roughly $6,500 if you paid resale the day the shoes came out. In comparison, that same 10 pair collection costs over $18,000 on StockX as of January 2021.
However, there are many factors that might affect this telltale Resale Swoosh that we often see. Shoes being retroed or restocked may affect the supply and demand relationship that is ultimately responsible for the Swoosh that we see in prices over time. If we look at other cases such as the Adidas Yeezy 350 v2 Zebra that has been restocked countless times, you would have been better off waiting.
In conclusion, Virgil Abloh’s “The Ten” collection is the poster child of the “Resale Swoosh”. Although if their prices continue to climb as we’ve seen over the past 3 years then the graph may start to depict an italic “J” shape. Nike certainly had the right idea when designing one of the most recognizable logos in the world inspired by speed and (market?) movement. However, I prefer to go with Josh Luber’s theory that the swoosh was designed by Carolyn Davidson 50 years ago with the sneaker resale market in mind.