The next pair of Nike Air Jordan or Air Force 1 you buy could already have a few miles on them.
Style-conscious immigrant shoppers and Nike sneaker fans may soon be able to buy their favorite Nike shoes at bargain prices.
Nike recently announced plans to begin refurbishing returned sneakers and sell at a lower price.
Nike says each pair will be inspected and refurbished by hand to ensure eligibility. Those that pass the first test will be sanitized and buffed, then given one of three cosmetic grades: “Like New,” “Gently Worn,” or “Cosmetically Flawed” (indicating a stain, mark, or fading). The lower the grade, the lower the price.
Buyers of the refurbished shoes will have a 60-day window to return them if a pair does not meet their needs.
The unusual move comes as Nike tries to reduce consumer waste. The company says that shoes that don’t meet quality standards will be ground up and could be reused for things like running tracks, carpet padding, rubber flooring for gyms, and turf fields.
However, the refurbished shoes won’t be sold in every Nike location initially. Only designated stores will carry the Nike Refurbished line, but more stores will be opened later this year in other markets.
Nike has been experiencing a surge of business during the pandemic, thanks largely to its e-commerce operations. Before COVID-19, the company invested heavily in portals that allowed customers to buy direct and made the company less reliant on physical retailers. It has also seen its popularity grow overseas in big markets like China.
The flipping market for sneakers is also hot
Housing is not the only market that is hot right now. The flipping of designer sneakers is becoming a highly profitable business and side hustle. According to Forbes, the resale market for sneakers is estimated to be over $1 billion annually.
By carefully and expertly hyping each new product launch, the manufacturers cater to loyal fans — and strategically never quite make enough to satisfy the demand fully. It’s that constant shortfall on the supply side that drives the resale market. This trend doesn’t appear to be slowing anytime soon.
Kanye West’s $1.8 million sneakers
The auction market is even hotter. Kanye West’s Nike Air Yeezy 1s recently sold for record-breaking $1.8 million – the most expensive shoes ever. The black high-top Yeezy 1s sold by auctioneer Sotheby’s to Rares, a footwear investment marketplace, were worn by West during the 2008 Grammy Awards.