You could say that Michael Jordan was the pioneer in this new enterprise of basketball wear, and now with each superstar comes a new brand of shoe. Just this year in New York, there was the SoleXchange where vendors and buyers haggled over prices, and if you didn’t know any better, you’d thought that you were on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Everywhere you looked, there were young boys with expensive shoes around their necks, and pockets stuffed full of cash ready to make the “deal” that could make them the envy of their neighborhood. A 13 year old boy was on the floor making transactions so fast that a Wall Street broker would have had a hard time keeping up with him. When all was said and done, he had exchanged, bought, and sold 20 pairs of designer sneakers, and walked away with 7 pairs. That’s 4 more than he started with, and his collection’s retail value climbed from $340 dollars to $1,155 dollars.
With social media, learning about these weekend conventions is pretty easy, and there is always somebody ready to sell or trade their pair of limited edition basketball shoes in a quest to obtain a new prize worth even more money. One youngster had 81 pairs in his collection and he spent an estimated $11,000 dollars to purchase these coveted shoes, and he stated that he could get $20,000 dollars if he sold them right now. And to think 30 years ago, the NBA told Michael Jordan that he couldn’t wear his “Nike Air Jordan 1’s” on the court because it didn’t meet the dress code. Today, there is not another basketball shoe that’s more popular than Nike’s Jordan branded shoe which last year brought in $2.5 billion dollars in sales.
At these “sneaker conventions”, you pay a $25.00 dollar entry fee, and that allows you to bring in a maximum of 5 pairs of shoes to start with in which, at the right venue, could earn you $300 to $800 dollars a pair. Just how big is this business, well I will say that one vendor turned down $98.000 dollars for a pair of “Nike Air Yeezy 2 “Red October” sneakers designed by Kanye West that was signed by the singer himself on stage while performing in Nassau. The vendor who refused the offer was 18 years old, and that will tell you how expensive these conventions can get. So when you go shopping for sneakers, you’ll have to decide if it’s an investment, or just something to wear on the court.