If you are into sneakers at all, some news from Nike might make your day. Nike enhanced their terms to restrict resellers and bots from buying sneakers. This could change the game for people who love sneakers but could not handle the struggle of buying through resale companies. As you may or may not know, gone are the days when you could buy Jordan sneakers in a Foot Locker, now it is just Air Force 1s and Blazers. I personally am what I like to call a “broke sneakerhead,” someone who loves sneakers but is too broke to buy them. This is because of resellers, people who have created businesses by buying new shoes from the brand itself and selling them independently at a massive markup to gain a profit. The struggle of attempting to buy sneakers from an overpriced resale app could be coming to a close; it is about time. The frustrations that come with paying $300 for a shoe that is retailed at $150 or waiting for a sneaker to drop just to get beat out by bots are ending. Could Nike finally be thinking about their regular customers?
The Wall Street Journal noticed this change first in Nike’s policy relating to its terms of sale. Complex, a popular sneaker and clothing brand, further breaks down these policies in an article they released after the announcement. Nike now has the right to charge restocking fees, refuse returns, deny access to stores, apply limits to purchase quantities and close accounts of suspected resellers. It even specifically states that it can cancel orders placed by bots. Average buyers have been complaining about people reselling Nikes at an unreasonable cost, so it definitely leaves one wondering what took so long. Before this, people or companies like StockX or GOAT could buy sneakers in bulk quantities with the intention of reselling them for a profit. This resale game has taken over the world of sneakers because it’s the most common way to buy sneakers today. The kicker is that this is done without any sort of penalty. This left people like you and me without reasonable options. Imagine you have been waiting for your favorite sneaker to be listed online. The sneaker is to drop at noon, so you wait by your computer to ensure that you can hit the purchase button and finally get the sneaker of your dreams. When noon finally comes around and you click checkout, it says that they sold out within 30 seconds. This is because of programmed robots, bots for short, who are utilized by resellers to purchase these shoes in bulk the moment they drop. Now, people have no choice but to turn to resellers unless they can find a rare sneaker store that has it in stock. One could imagine the frustration.
Resellers obviously have not seen a problem with this (and clearly Nike has not either), taking a “you snooze you lose” approach. A quick look at social media shows us how fans of the reselling business really feel about the new Nike policy, and it is not positive. The comments under the post that Complex made announcing the restrictions look like this:
“Lmao how exactly will you be able to determine that if you can only buy 1 pair at a time?”
“How would they determine this, seems like another excuse to cancel random orders.”
“Nike should worry about quality control not people reselling their stuff.”
They do not have the right to be upset. Whether local or national, resellers need to understand the implications of their actions. To the reselling community, though, they are losing profits and business because beforehand they successfully were making Nike less of a monopoly company. To buyers, however, they are making it harder to buy shoes. In spite of this, Nike would not actually be losing any money with these restrictions. Reselling companies are making more profit off Nike shoes than Nike themselves. Restricting them would encourage more customers to buy sneakers off Nike’s website, in turn leading to a similar, if not greater, profit margin going directly to Nike.
Though these new policies are exciting, we must not give Nike too much credit. These new restrictions are way overdue. For years, Nike sat idly by as complaints from sneaker fans about resellers started coming to the forefront. They did not question when one address would have a bulk order of sneakers delivered. They were not going to question large amounts of money going into their company, justified or not. Some speculate that they still are not going to change and that this is all words and no action. But I think that at least it is a start. I would love to be able to go back to a sneaker store and buy a rare pair of Jordans off the shelf, then walk out with them on my feet. There is nostalgia to that, and you know that you are getting your money’s worth. The unfortunate truth is that resellers will still find ways to make money; this will not stop them from doing what they do best. The goal, and my hope, is it will at least make it harder for them. These days, that is all a sneakerhead can ask for.