A few weeks ago, Complex wrote an article about a Twitter user claiming to have found six pairs of the infamous Air Mag. The Nike Air Mag is a replica of a shoe featured in Back To The Future Part II. The reseller told Complex that he found a guy on OfferUp selling the sneakers, reached out, then ended up purchasing three pairs for $22,000 flipped them for $42,000.
Last week, Bloomberg published a piece on a sneaker reseller named Joe Herbert from Oregon. The article talks about how Joe went on a 25-day trip from Oregon to Colorado, spending over $200,000 on sneakers he would later resell at the premium price. As fewer people were going to stores, brick-and-mortar stores saw their revenue decline, so they started offering discounts. Joe saw it as an opportunity to spend big bucks on discounted sneakers that’d go for a 10%-20% over retail on marketplaces like StockX or NXTDROP. He told reporters that he made around $50,000 in profit doing this.
Yesterday, Nike announced that Ann Herbert, Joe’s mother and Nike’s North America General Manager and vice president, resigned. Some speculate that it’s a result of Bloomberg’s article, but a Nike spokesperson stated there was “no violation of company policy, privileged information or conflicts of interest, nor is there any commercial affiliation between [Joe’s reselling business] and Nike, including the direct buying or selling of Nike products.” And Joe also insisted that he had never received any inside information or discount codes from his mother. As you may know, Nike firmly forbids its employees from reselling sneakers or merchandise.
Likely, Ann Herbert wasn’t involved in his son’s business activities, and it makes sense that she and Nike decided to part ways as it sends the wrong message to a sneaker community that keeps complaining about the unfairness of sneaker drops. At last, it looks like we might see some changes after the scandalous Trophy Room release a few weeks ago and this story. Nike should be firm on store “backdooring” shoes because it disadvantages regular sneakerheads that are just looking to collect sneakers. It seems like adidas has found the way to do it right as you see fewer complaints, but it is fair to say that more people anticipate Nike drops than adidas’.
There is a stigma against sneaker resellers, but the truth is it is going nowhere as long as brands keep playing into the “scarcity game.” Kanye West said a few years ago that he’d make Yeezys available to anyone, then adidas produced more Yeezys each drop. Today, Yeezy lost some of its grandeur, and new releases are going for less than ever in the secondary market. Some might say that Yeezy is dead. However, Yeezy might be onto something, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Nike started producing more sneakers to satisfy the growing demand.