Students resell shoes for high profit

Lindsey Masterman, Executive Lifestyle Editor

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Sophomore Lucas Pan (far left) sells a pair of Yeezy shoes at Sole Influence, an event where sneaker vendors sell and trade products at the Holiday Inn Chicago North Shore on Feb. 12. Pan had $17,060 worth of shoes up for sale. Photo by Hope Mailing

For most teenagers, holding a place in line outside of a shoe store for 12 hours to pay hundreds of dollars for a pair of gym shoes might not be a go-to weekend activity. However, sophomore Lucas Pan waits to snag a few pairs of limited edition sneakers a couple of times a month with a few friends “just for fun.” The near $2,000 profit he makes from “flipping,” or reselling, the shoes he buys at one shoe sale is also a perk.   

“[The shoes] are just rubber, but people pay thousands of dollars for them,” Pan said.

Matt Priest, president and CEO of The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, an organization that provides information to shoe corporations to help boost the retail shoe industry, said shoe flipping is a business that is driven by professional footwear companies.

Brands like Nike or Adidas put out a limited release so that a new shoe in high demand is only available for a short period of time in a certain location. If the consumer is not able to buy that shoe because it is sold out, he or she will turn to shoe “flippers,” who buy shoes at the limited releases or through connections with stores.   

“It’s been a phenomenon that [has] been born out of the fact that corporate footwear companies have driven limited release demand within their consumer base,” said Priest. “[Shoe flipping] creates a buzz. It creates an interest.”

Instead of waiting in lines for releases, senior Kyle Kadish said he has limited release shoes mailed to his house through special networks he has in the shoe industry so that he can sell them.

According to Kadish, he decides which shoes he wants to sell based on how limited they are and their popularity. After agreeing on a price with a customer who contacts him after seeing the shoes on his website, Instagram page or Facebook page, Kadish ships the shoes to the consumer.

Kadish said he built his name as a shoe flipper by building relationships in the industry.

“I know a lot of people through connections at the stores  … ,” said Kadish. “I started [shoe flipping] five years ago so before it was a big thing. I started doing it, and I met a lot of people that were willing to help, and I was willing to help them, so you kind of build relationships.”

According to Kadish, he helps his partners by finding shoes for them to buy which they did not previously have access to. In return, these friends sell shoes to Kadish. He tries to make at least a $100 profit from flipping one pair of shoes.

Pan said he prefers to deliver shoes to customers in person so that he does not have to charge them a shipping fee and meets with them in a public place, like a mall, to ensure maximum safety.

“I’ve heard stories of people pulling up with guns, and it gets pretty violent because people try to steal [the shoes],” Pan said.

Sophomore Alex Press said he brings a few friends with him when he meets with a customer because he has seen incidents in which shoes were stolen from the person selling them.

“We were in the city [while] someone was doing a meet-up, and the person handed over the shoes, and … the other person just ran and took off with the shoes,” Press said.

According to Kadish, a lot of people get scammed when buying shoes from flippers and are sold fake shoes.

He said many fake shoes have irregular size tags, but other signs that a shoe is fake vary between brands.    

“You just have to be familiar with [the shoes],” said Kadish. “I’ve been [flipping shoes] for a while, so the shoes that I usually buy I’m familiar with, so I can tell if they’re real or not.”

Kadish said shoe flipping has taught him many valuable business skills.

“I’m able to communicate well, I’ve networked really well and I’ve met so many people that are definitely going to be able to help me in general with my life path,” Kadish said. 

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Students resell shoes for high profit