We sneaker collectors drop anywhere between $160 and $300 per shoe on average, if purchasing at retail, and sometimes more if you happened to miss the release date or the shoe has been overly hyped. Even though the average collector buys more than 1 pair of shoes a month, lets just go with a low number, and say you only spend money on shoes once a month. The median amount is $230 per month. This is not to say that everyone buys sneakers every month, but this is hypothetical. Also, this and in recent years releases have been extremely close together,leaving no room for a breather. If we use these numbers, then on the low end the average collector spends $2760 a year on shoes. Not only do you spend it, but many (not all) of us go out of our way to spend it. This often means lack of sleep, camping out, spending even more money on gas to drive the preferred retailer, borrowing money, missing or the rearranging of bills and necessities, selling items (usually other sneakers) ect.
Nike doesn’t always release specific production numbers. So, based on the fact that Nike considers 10,000 – 15,000 to be limited numbers of a general release sneaker, I will assume that the average number of pairs is between 300,000 and 500,000 thousand in US. If we use the $23o number to calculate the amount spent on GR shoes on the lowest end of 300,000 pair (assuming they sellout), it comes to $69,000,000. Well, lets not even use $230. Lets go to the cost of an average pair of Jordan’s today $160 multiplied by 300,000 pair. This comes to $48,000,000.
Useless fact: $48 million is what LeBron James made in 2010.
It makes me wonder what could be done if the sneaker community took that money or maybe even a portion of that money and applied it to something greater. Something with more of a purpose than the enhancement of our shoe collections or getting pieces of nostalgia from our childhood and past enjoyable times. If this movement was accepted and executed collectively, what could be accomplished in a years time? A new sneaker company, a non-profit organization, a clothing line, a scholarship fund, a hardship fund? The number of possibilities of just 25% 48 million dollars is insurmountable.
A lot of sneakerheads complain about the quality of shoes, the seemingly unfair release processes and quantities, the deterioration of the culture as a whole, the exploitation of it all, ect. However, they continue to purchase shoes. Well, even if none of these complaints existed, could there ever be a unified movement or goal within the culture to accomplish, especially if it required the same amount of money that sneakers require?
Even one step further than money. We as consumers dictate what products companies offer and the price point at which they offer them. The millions of dollars that go into marketing and consumer research is simply to find out what we need, what we want, what we’re willing to buy, and how much we’re willing to pay for it. You as the consumer can change things. However this only works if the consumers present themselves as a united front that threatens the profits and future success of their company. So if those numbers in the first paragraph are even half true and the community has a consensus about their wants and needs as a whole, why aren’t things changing to fit the consumers when they’re the only people the company must satisfy in order to stay viable and in business?
Maybe you don’t want lower prices. Maybe you feel the inflation fits the state of the economy and supply and demand. Perhaps you’d just like to see Nike show a little appreciation for your consistent support of their brand. This might come in the form of incentives reserved for loyal customers or the sneaker community, such as scholarships, apprenticeship programs, Innovation Kitchen tours. Maybe Nike could commit to assisting in the employment crisis; The very urban areas that support their business should benefit by having exclusive sneaker stores built in these areas, such as a Jordan Brand location (these don’t exist as of yet). I could come up with these ideas all day…..Inner city sports camps, product testing labs, real people in their marketing and ad campaigns, a sneaker culture run Nike magazine, tickets to Nike sponsored sporting event, tickets to events with Nike sponsored athletes, or even something as simple as 1 free pair of limited release sneakers for every 10 pair of shoes purchased.
The goal of this post is to start more dialog, not complaining, but productive dialog that leads to brainstorming, that leads to viable solutions to the sneaker over-hype crisis, we’ve all been seeing going on this year. If Nike’s got to do better, then we’ve got to do better, because it starts with us (you).