Surprising Sold Out Models On SNKRS 9/4/2017

I’ve stopped writing a lot of Should You Buy To Flip? articles because we are in a different economy now and flipping, like the housing bubble bursting in 2008, has basically popped. Unless you’re grabbing shoes at way below retail, flipping is dead. What I’m doing now is taking a minute to visit the sneaker company sites and checking out what has sold out above the fold (the first page when you scroll).

On the Nike SNKRS site there are 48 pair of shoes above the fold. This is how they break down:

Nike Basketball (9 Sections)

Sold Out Models: Air Zoom Generation, Nike Kobe A.D. Mamba Mentality Pack (all five colors)

NOT Sold Out: KD 10 Cupcake (pictured above)

Not Available Yet: Kyrie 3 Kobe/Bruce Lee

Analysis: Contemporary Nike Basketball design continue to struggle. The KD 10 is the most current shoe above and it is a traditional general release. The KD line is struggling. The shoe is available everywhere and has been discounted to 50% off at retail locations. The Kobe and LeBron were both Limited Release models and those shoes always sell out due to availability. The Kobe model is surprising because the A.D. has performed poorly so far in the low version. This new mid version looks a lot like the Kyrie 1 and I think that accounts for its success. The Kyrie 1 was the best selling shoe of Nike’s basketball line in the last few years.

Nike Lifestyle (26 Sections)

Sold Out Models: The SF- AF-1, HyperAdapt, Classic Cortez KM QS Track Spike, Classic Cortez KM QS Broken Foot, Classic Cortez Shark Low Showstopper, Nike Air More Uptempo University Blue, Air Max 97 SK London x Marrakesh

NOT Sold Out: Air Force 1 Air Emblazoned (3 Colors), SB Dunk Elite Remixed, Little Posite Pro Racer Blue, Women’s Classic Cortez A.L.C. (3 Colors), SF AF1-Mid

Analysis: Every shoe in the Sold Out models was a general release. This is not to say that Nike only sells out limited releases, it’s to really say this: ALL SHOES TAKE TIME TO SELL THROUGH. When we look at shoes and equate success to sell through it’s faulty; so why am I doing this? It’s interesting to see what the interest level is on certain shoes. If we browse back through older versions of the SNKRS Sold Out reports a pattern is forming. This is where data comes in. Nike has serious issues selling footwear to women. Nike is also losing ground in the reissue of classic sneakers that once held a value in the “sneakerhead” world. The Foamposite is a shoe that is not performing very well. It’s interesting that one version of the Special Forces Air Force 1 is doing well in the high top version, but the mid is sitting. (Note the high is more limited so it makes sense). The thing I do find amazing is the Air Force 1 Emblazoned. Sneaker culture didn’t jump on Nike’s co-opting of Supreme. I guess it’s not amazing. This encroaching on another brand’s territory is not respected and diminishes Nike’s brand in the eyes of a market it traditionally understood.

Jordan Brand (10 Sections)

Sold Out: NikeCourt Zoom Vapor RF x AJ3

NOT Sold Out: Jordan XXX1 Low Take Flight, Air Jordan XIII Bred, Air Jordan VIII Cool Grey, Air Jordan V Take Flight

Analysis: I know this looks bad for Jordan Brand, but you have to remember Nike is producing larger quantities of retros to wipe out reselling. The shoes are readily available which means that more product may be selling, but still not selling through. Is this good or bad? It’s bad because the perception eventually becomes the reality. If people see Jordan Brand is sitting they associate that with the brand losing the cool factor. Nike is playing a really difficult game by overproducing. The only model to sell through was the limited Roger Federer Jordan collab.


Nike Running (3 sections)

Sold Out: Flyknit Trainer The Return

NOT Sold Out: Flyknit Trainer Sunset Tint and Blank Slate

Analysis: Nike began as a running company, but their running releases are the smallest in this group. As the company has attempted to be all things to every group, they have lost their direction. These Flyknit Trainer releases are in response to the adidas BOOST shoes. The Return sold out because it was limited. It also hit resale. The other two show that the interest of the people wanes very quickly. Of course these releases are in greater numbers, but this is a shoe Nike kept in the vault and is seeing its first return. Had this shoe released two years ago each version would have popped in resell. As it stands even in a limited release the shoe is still available via Nike’s platform.

OVERALL Analysis

Nike drops a lot of shoes. The sell through of those shoes is not evidence of success for the brand. The way a sneakerhead thinks does not actually represent the way the real world analyzes the success of a company. Limited drops don’t really push the needle in a commercial market. Do they carry considerable weight in marketing? Probably. A shoe that is high profile is shared on social media creating marketing opportunities. People see these shoes and it resonates. Some people may not be able to buy an expensive or limited Nike, but they can buy other models. Nike should scale back on the reintroduction of older models and focus on the reinvention of those older models with updated tech.


Chris Burns on FacebookChris Burns on GoogleChris Burns on LinkedinChris Burns on TwitterChris Burns on Youtube
Chris Burns
Chris Burns
Founder, Writer and Webmaster at ARCH & CBP

Chris B. is the founder of ARCH.

The ARCH network is unlike other sneakerhead sites. ARCH is a more informative look into sneaker culture. By presenting information about the business of sportswear through marketing analysis, updates on stock prices and introductions to new brands and styles, the site is easily distinguished from the everyday site only giving you release dates.

You can follow me on Twitter or any of the links above.

  • Extremely well worded and spot on analysis. There was an article awhile back that suggested Nike was scaling back on many models as a response to their inventory woes of from 2016 and continues through to 2017. While they were very profitable in 2016 they were the worse performing stock on the DOW, largely because of that excess inventory.

    Adidas is actually imo making the same mistake and they are doing too much. Just today I saw the TGWO CS1 Trail. Why is Adidas still making CS1’s when the CS 2 is having difficulty moving and has not received the same reception from their fan base? They should also know by now that translating the Yeezy’s into suspiciously like models or lifting it’s patterns is a huge mistake. Yeezy’s should live as a sub brand or extension of the Adidas story where a strict internal rule is enforced in that no designer should use any similar patterns or designs. Consumers are wary of any attempt to do otherwise.

    Back to Nike. Definitely some surprises here but either Adidas is also making a lot more sneakers or or interest is just naturally waning and has reached it’s peak on multiple models. Research from my job tells me that exclusivity reigns Supreme (intended) and there are good books out there about exclusivity as a key heuristic in marketing and many psychologists have explored this arena to no end.

    No surprise most of what’s doing well for all brands these days, with some key exceptions are their models that have the most limited numbers.

    • Thanks for the great response Steve! The scaling back was given the title, “Edit to Amplify”. I talk about this in several articles here on the site. This is one of the articles where I first brought up this point that was made during the Q4 2017 Conference call.

      I completely agree that adidas is making a similar error in overproduction. The Sashiko is a perfect example of your CS1/2 discussion. That was a shoe that would have sold but it was dropped a week after the Japan Pack NMD R1 and forcing the Kanye Zebra look onto people who couldn’t get the Yeezy was a wasted effort. The problem is adidas doesn’t have a choice. Foot Locker moved them to the front of the store and now the brand has to take advantage of that highly coveted wall space. I wish there was a way to do a similar article for adidas, but they don’t have their footwear isolated in a release site like SNKRS which is a completely different discussion.

      The exclusivity works in the same way as the reward based system in psychology. If you give a dog a drop of water for touching a button, they will keep hitting the button. If you remove the water, the reward is gone and the dog will eventually stop hitting the button. The same works when you deliver too much water to the dog. When the dog is satiated he won’t hit the button as often. Nike poured too much water and adidas is making the same mistake.

      Limited numbers are good for show which is why Nike shows the Sold Out words on items. They do very little towards making shareholders happy. You know what makes shareholders happy? DTC and even with Nike dropping all of these shoes, when they don’t sell they still hit their goals because the shoes sell in their clearance stores.

      Thanks for dropping in. I really appreciate that. Leave your site in the comment and share your links if you like.

  • Pingback: Adidas Has Surpassed Jordan Brand As #2 Selling Brand- Maybe Sheer Nonsense()

  • Pingback: Small Brands Can Capitalize With a DTC Strategy | Ewing Athletics – ARCH()