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)
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.
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.