Real Talk: Reselling Is Killing Sneaker Collector Culture
The belief that sneakers are ‘dead’ is often bandied around by the culture’s doomsayers. Things have undoubtedly changed since the ‘good ‘ol days’, but to spruik the demise of sneaker culture as a whole is narrow-minded notion.
More people are buying sneakers than ever before, with pairs moving at rapid rates. The culture has - arguably - never been more alive.
That said, while sneakers certainly aren’t dead, an intrinsic part of the culture is slipping. Collectors are fading – and they’re going to take some saving.
It’s been a slow and painful demise for the collector, with the #boostvibes era perhaps foreshadowing the current sneaker economy. In many ways, collectors have been replaced by an ever-growing legion of resellers, armed with the weapons of mass consumption known as bots.
Rewind back to 2005, I recall being able to walk into my local skateshop to buy the latest pair of SB Dunks. Not a reseller in sight. Hell, I was even able to try ‘em on to see whether I liked how they looked on-foot.
Resellers are now rife within the community, and it’s not just Dunks, Air Jordan 1s, and luxury link-ups that are being botted and backdoored. It has gotten to the point where GR releases have become the ‘milk and bread’ of the secondary market, with countless fresh-faced entrepreneurs looking to become the next Benjamin Kickz off the back of an inventory of bricks.
The hype hustle has brought about an end to the collector, with most unwilling and unable to acquire the latest drops due to exorbitant resell prices. The evils aren’t just limited to OG collectors, either – I’ve seen zealous novices dig themselves into financial trouble in the quest feed their newfound addiction.
That said, the biggest blight on the current scene is the decline of the community that collectors have built. It may sound harsh, but collector culture has been crippled by crep capitalism.
Nevertheless, it’s not all bad news. The modern sneaker landscape may force sneakerheads to change how and what they collect. More unique collections may start to emerge, straying away from the antiquated Air Jordans and Air Maxes we’re so used to seeing. Perhaps underrated brands will begin to amass bigger followings, with consumers searching for more distinctive acquisitions.
While things may look bleak for the passionate sneakerhead, it’s also important to ensure that your passion doesn’t wane. Celebrate the Ws, keep supporting your local when you can, and cherish the sneakers you already have.
Your collections now mean more than ever.