I’m sure I don’t need to tell you trainers are cool right now. We traded in our heels seasons ago and there’s been no going back. The footwear of choice for fashion editors, rap stars and millennials these days it’s acceptable to wear them for work, rest and play. And our feet are all the happier for it.
For retailers this has meant big, big business. Projected to be worth $95.14 billion by 2025 the industry has been fuelled by social media and Gen-Zers.
You only need to walk through the Selfridges shoe department to see all the big names have got in on the soft sole action. Gucci, Prada, Chanel, Chloe, Stella McCartney and Balenciaga to name but a few have all entered the arena.
Having seen the trainer market go through the roof they’ve all made a fierce entry into the market.
And we went for it hook line and sinker. Gucci now sell ‘worn look’ trainers for £875. And they are selling like hot cakes.
What do you mean you don’t get it?
And Balenciaga’s ugly dad style Triple S logo trainers retail at £695 a pop and have an uncanny habit of selling out the minute the launch.
Nope, not these either???
Designer clothing site Net-a-porter are selling so many trainers they’ve launched a new campaign dedicated to them. Last year they sold ten times the amount of trainers they sold in 2012. The #TheSneakerSet has over 500 exciting and original new sneaker styles with collaborations from the likes of Victoria Beckham and Gigi Hadid.
Talking to Graziadaily Elizabeth von der Goltz, Net-a-porter’s global buying director explained: “The oversized ‘Dad’ sneaker has been dominating the street style scene for several seasons and the latest styles from Reebok x Victoria Beckham and newly launched brand Shoes 53045 will definitely keep this trend alive. In addition, this season we are seeing a strong return to cleaner silhouettes and retro styles – a sleeker option to pair back with elevated basics or a sharply tailored suit to give your look a cool and bold twist.”
To stay ahead of the game major sports brands are striking up deals with the likes of Pharrell Williams and Kanye West releasing limited-edition footwear collections. Kanye’s Yeezy shoes are so sought after British shoppers were queuing around the block for his latest iteration which cost £180.
When Nike teamed up with Sacai Net-a-porter sold 2000 pairs within 3 hours of the launch. Similar Adidas X Khaite were one of the sites fastest selling collaborations to date.
The Hypebests have been all over this shizz for years of course. Re-sellers as young as 16 have made upwards of $1m simply by getting their hands on high-demand limited edition trainers and flipping them for profit. Yup, makes city traders look like dinosaurs.
But it’s not just sales of brand new shiny (or expensive ‘worn look’) sneakers that are going through the roof. We are seeing truly expeditious growth in the re-sale market which is growing at even faster and equally lucrative rate. Experts believe the secondary sneaker market is worth anywhere from $300 million to $1 billion.
StockX an exchange style trading platform for ‘sneaker heads’ is estimated to be worth £5.5bn a year. Billing themselves as a ‘stock market for things’ the site enables the likes of you and me to speculate on the most sought after shoes as if they are shares in a quoted company.
Talking to guardian.com Josh Luber, a former IBM consultant who co-founded StockX with US billionaire Dan Gilbert 4 years ago explains:
“A stock market is the most efficient way to create a market price for any asset. We have brought the efficiency and transparency [of that model] to make it easier to buy products where supply and demand is constrained.”
And apparently we have Instagram to thank.
“The growth that we see today is down to the arrival of Instagram,” says Luber. “All sneakerheads ever wanted to do was show off their shoes and see what other people are wearing. Brands are bringing in fashion designers and artists to make shoes: Kaws [the American artist and designer Brian Donnelly] does shoes with Nike so it crosses many different parts of culture.”
According to Luber London is the centre of the European sneaker world. The London depot is full of boxes of trainers piled to the ceiling that will probably never be worn as traders speculate whether the value will increase.
But StockX is just one of several shoe resellers including Stadium Goods that have become multi-million dollar companies over the past few years. With the industry projected to be worth $95.14 billion by 2025 expect to see more enter the arena. And in the meantime keep you eyes peeled for designer collaborations, celebrity launches and limited edition releases. They could prove to more lucrative than your pension!