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“All the other kids with the pumped-up kicks” – the sneakerhead revolution

Reading Time: 4 minutes

‘Sneaker’, as one of the interests, grew by 2.5x in 2021 on Tinder.

What was once a necessity for athletes and sportspersons, is now a collectable – to the point where there’s even a stock exchange for them. Sneakers are an object of fashion and desire amongst the youth. Be it Jordans or Yeezys, everyone wants to own a pair; some of us, even hundreds.

The sneakerhead revolution is truly here.

PS – Read till the end for a cool recommendation that could help you catch up with the history of sneakers.

The global sneaker industry currently stands at a massive $86.72 billion and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.26% in the next 3 years. According to Statista, the current Indian sneaker market revenue stands at $2.60 billion and is projected to grow 11.58% annually.

The global sneaker industry currently stands at a massive $86.72 billion. According to Statista, the current Indian sneaker market revenue stands at $2.60 billion and is projected to grow 11.58 per cent annually. Share with friends

From DJ Khaled to John Mayer to Ranveer Singh, sneakerheads all over the world thrive on showing off their sneaker collections comprising thousands of pairs. Rare collectables to classics – sneakerheads go up to spending 10% of their income on kicks (according to a StockX report).

Let’s give you some perspective on how aspirational and glitzy this industry actually is.

The most expensive sneaker in the world is Drake’s line in collaboration with Air Jordans – the result was a Solid Gold OVO x Air Jordans which cost a whopping $2 million (that’s approximately ₹15.5 crores). 🤯

Here are the top five most expensive sneakers in the world –

  1. Solid Gold OVO x Air Jordans – $2 million
  2. Kayne West Nike Air Yeezy 1 ‘Prototype’ – $1.8 million
  3. Michael Jordan’s game-worn Nike Airship – $1.47 million
  4. Air Jordan Retro “Kobe Pack” – $800,000
  5. Jordan 1 Retro High Charlotte Hornets Foundation Black/White – $250,000

The sneaker business is not just selling shoes anymore – it is about customisations, brands, luxury, and reselling limited collections. It’s selling an experience, which, according to some, could also translate into a prized and priced possession!

So, luxury or an asset? Looks like sneakers are also becoming the latter.

The sneaker resale industry accounts for $6 billion globally. It essentially involves buying limited edition shoes at retail prices (a practice known as “copping”), and then reselling them for a higher price. It is projected to spike to a global valuation of $30 billion by 2030.

When the likes of Nike Jordans or Adidas Yeezys are “dropped” (hype language for launched), they sell out in seconds. It is extremely difficult for retail buyers to get their hands on such exclusive collections. That’s where the resale industry thrives.

Source: Statista

The resale industry is so strong that four men, Dan Gilbert, Josh Luber, Greg Schwartz, and Chris Kaufman, started StockX in 2015-16. StockX is an online stock exchange for hypewear, especially sneakers. They allow you to trade sneakers just like you would stocks. While there might be multiple pairs of even limited-edition sneakers, the prices are driven up by demand, brand, and exclusivity.

In India, there are multiple start-ups that have entered the business. What started as the YouTube channel Mainstreet TV in 2017, is now a fully functional hype store called Mainstream Marketplace – all done by 22 y/o hype culture enthusiast, Vedant Lamba.

In Vedant’s words – Sneaker culture as mainstream habitual consumption was inevitable in India. As an asset that holds value and provides blatant, apparent status – India was hungry for growth in this space. We are not even scratching the tip of the growth curve this industry is about to see; there are already 1000s of folks making a full time living by just buying and reselling sneakers while several players are attempting to aggregate this space as well.

“The next 5 years will see even more rapid exponential growth than we’ve witnessed over the last 2 years. I personally feel there will be >10,000cr in annual transactions in the resale industry. It’s also one of those spaces where the uptick has started, so everyone getting involved now will surely benefit.”

Vedant Lamba, Founder, Mainstreet Marketplace

Looks like India’s millennials and GenZ are translating shoeboxes into billions of dollars; are you ready to ride the wave?

Markets Last Week

Nifty 50
3.07% ▲
2.90% ▲
Nifty 500
3.14% ▲
Bank Nifty
3.49% ▲

Inside smallcase

Can gold be the golden lining of your portfolio during turbulent market conditions? Click below to read a thread –

What’s happening otherwise?

Reading Where’d You Get Those? New York City’s Sneaker Culture – 1960-1987 by Bobbito Garcia: This book is an insider’s account of the 70’s and 80’s sneaker culture in New York City, one of the concentrated hubs of counterculture, and how it was the foundation for giants like Nike and Adidas to grow their businesses. It’s your guide to all things sneakers and kicks!

Listening to Air Force Ones by Nelly ft. Kyjuan, Ali, Murphy Lee: Is any sneakerhead video even complete without this track?

Lifestyle dictates consumer spending. And from the looks of it, sneakers seem to be the choice of expenditure for a significant chunk of the population today. How many sneakers do you have?

Until next week, stay hydrated and invested!


Deblina Chakraborty

Senior Marketing Associate by day; obsessive organiser by night. Stories and cats shall take over the world. 🏳️‍🌈

Published by
Deblina Chakraborty

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