With TONS of new releases on the horizon (and lots of L's taken) we decided to ask a question:
How can I get a pair without a bot and without spending a small fortune at resell?
EveMeetsWest goes back to an OG way of thinking.
Hint: Secure the PLUG.
Images: Evelyn Escobar-Thomas / FrancoTheHuman
Words: Evelyn Escobarr-Thomas // @evemeetswest
With Nike's famed Air Max Day rapidly approaching and release calendars looking more impressive than ever we’ve all got one thing on our minds: how are we going to secure this W? If you’ve been in the game you know that there’s levels to this stuff. One cannot simply walk into the store to buy the hottest releases of the year. It takes planning, scheming and, more often than not, a helping hand to seal the deal. You see, the politics of sneaker culture is complicated. Not only is it still a boys club, but backdoor culture makes it harder than ever to secure your shoes at all, much less at retail.
One cannot simply walk into the store to buy the hottest releases of the year. It takes planning, scheming and, more often than not, a helping hand to seal the deal.
Bots, backdoors, raffles -- oh my. These are just a few of the obstacles that we have to get past to even have a chance at buying the coveted kicks we want. For those of you who don’t know, a sneaker bot is a program that you pay to add your sneakers to cart as soon as shoes are released. This service can run anywhere from $100 to $400 and beyond. There’s bots specialized for Nike releases, Adidas releases, SNKRS app only releases - you name it. It’s the reason why shoes seem to impossibly sell-out in minutes, and they’re highly driven by the resell culture. Use a bot to secure your pair, flip them immediately (i.e. head to Stockx and sell for triple the retail price) and repeat. This train of thought has helped the sneaker resell industry to grow to an estimated billion dollar industry . Yes, we said billion with a “B.”
"They take the chance away from the everyday people who love the shoes and love the story of the shoes.
They changed the game completely so that people who have jobs or school or any other responsibilities can’t compete with that."
For many, resellers are the worst part of the industry. They drive up prices, make shoes you actually want to wear impossible to get and, more often than not, exploit the culture. Collectors like Roya Afsharpour know the struggle all too well. “The days are long gone when you were able to wake up at 9 a.m. and head over to Foot Locker and grab your shoes and go home and have breakfast. They take the chance away from the everyday people who love the shoes and love the story of the shoes. They changed the game completely so that people who have jobs or school or any other responsibilities can’t compete with that. You have to be in line by Thursday night and the spend the night until Saturday morning just to get a shoe.”
For others, it can be a necessary evil. Personally, I have always looked at resellers as one of the biggest pitfalls of sneaker culture until I flipped a pair of shoes. Now, I get it. Sites like Stockx and GOAT and stores like RoundTwo and Flight Club make it easier than ever. Sometimes the only way to get the shoes you want is to buy a pair of shoes and flip them for the shoes you actually want. Then you read stories about 16 year olds making six figures from reselling sneakers and you’re back to realizing how deep this wormhole goes.
But, before bots, there was just a plug. Your go-to guy or girl who would give you a heads up on stock, reserve a pair for you, buy you a pair at a price, you name it. Although the technology around releases has become sophisticated, plug culture is still going strong. Sure, your local sneaker store may have seemingly fair raffles to purchase exclusive shoes, but what happens when raffle winners don’t pick up their shoes? That stock becomes sellable again. Without someone looking out for you on the inside, not being able to win a raffle, or afford resell prices sometimes there’s just no way to buy the shoes you want.
SHOP THE SNEAKS (IF YOU GOT IT LIKE THAT)
For people who are passionate about the culture it’s disappointing but it comes with the territory. Although many brands have taken steps against bots, resell culture, etc. the truth of the matter is they’re not going anywhere. Nothing has been tough enough to make them stop and the resell market helps to inflate the hype around their shoes. The brands, in a way, need it.
If you haven’t already began planning and plotting how to secure one of the biggest releases of the year coming up on the 26th, Air Max Day, we can only hope that luck or a plug will be on your side.
Eve is a CNK contributor who also has made appearances on Hypebae, FinishLine, HerTake, and is a Lids ambassador. She is originally from the great state of VA but currently resides on the best coast, in Los Angeles. You can contact her directly via Instagram or by visiting her website, EveMeetsWest.com.
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