The sneaker game is turning into a young man’s sport. I almost cower at the cliche as “man” is almost not the case anymore. As sneaker culture evolves and matures (at least in age), more and more kids,  tweeners, and teens are entering the game and not just as a hobby or trend. They’ve become legit connoisseurs with researched knowledge and collections to back it up.  I first noticed the trend at various sneaker conventions. The convention halls are flooded with young acne ridden kids hawking kicks to top dollar bidders. Their bartering skills are polished like a used car salesman looking to reach a monthly quota. Complete with five sneakerboxes full of heat at their feet, a book bag full of viable old beaters to sell (7.5 out of 10s), the freshest new pair in their hands, a bankroll in their pockets, and their parents to ward off any foul play, these young sneakerheads mean business. And businesses are exactly what they have. The sneaker game has turned into their ultra modern lemonade stand.

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*Images via Eventbrite, 8 and 9, Sneaker Freaker, Sneaker Thirst, InFlexWeTrust, Counterkicks

Away from the fast paced convention scene many of these kids have vast sneaker operations with an epicenter grounded in their tablets and MacBooks. With the insurgence of technology that has taken over the game these young kids are armed with the perfect tools to run lucrative sneaker rackets operations. To their advantage they grew up on laptops, cell phones, and Wi-Fi so they’re hardwired for the online part of the game. The image of the reseller tends to be a shady guy outside a sneaker line prowling for a sneakerhead just thirsty enough to pay $100 over retail, but the savviest of resellers do it behind their computer screen. And these young kids have proven to be just that savvy. With forums like eBay, Kixify, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook faceless kids are making serious bank off the shoes you couldn’t get your hands on. Who do you think created the infamous Bot Invasion? Many of the YouTube videos promoting bots and instructing on installation are voiced by your neighbors’ 13 year old kids. That’s right; the kid you see in the Big Bang 9s who never cuts the grass…HIM. The boy who takes out the trash in Doernbecher 10s…HIM. The boy who laughs at you and your homies when he sees you rocking kicks that are still on shelves…HIM! And it looks as though none of this will be changing anytime soon.


I knew that there was an evolution when I saw it first hand one morning at the sneaker store. It was about 6:30 AM and much to my disdain I felt I had to hit the store early to cop a pair of Nike KD 6 “Liger”. The line was pretty full as a bunch of shoes were dropping that day. The line had the usual suspects: hardcore sneakerheads, thugs, wannabe thugs, girls trying to cop GS, sports guys who want to look fresh at their next basketball tournament, etc. What floored me was the amount of young kids who were able to get their parent up and out of bed on a Saturday, after a week of working, to cop up on sneaks. Once I got close to the register a soccer mom sneaker mom began to chat me up. She was alone. The conversation ensued:

Her: What are you buying today?

Me: Ligers.

Her: Oh I’m here for my son. He needs me to pick him up a few pairs of sneakers…

Me: Oh ok he likes the Ligers huh?

Her: No, no, no……he just needs them to resell. He’s home online trying to get a few more pairs off NDC. He has a small business. You know I try and support his business mind. At least he’s not out there on the streets.

Me: My mom would never have thought about getting up this early.

Her: Mine either…Anyway do you think I should pick up these Kobe 9s or Metallic Silver Foams? Which one do you think will get a bigger profit?

Me: The 9s….

Her: Thanks! He’ll be so happy when I surprise him with more products for his eBay!

Me: How old is he?

Her: 11.

Me: WOW!

The game has indeed changed. With kids starting their collections with their parents money then flipping until they’ve recreated a small empire it looks to never revert back. They have no overhead and a product in high demand that can replenish itself. Welcome to the Invasion of the Young Sneakerhead.

When thinking objectively about it, how bad is it that this influx of new sneakerheads is occurring? At first glance many seasoned and older sneaker head look at it with pure disdain. You get the “….these kids are ruining the game!” gripes all the time. But are they really? Evolution isn’t always a bad thing (Think about life with only 4 fingers…). These young kids are the future of the shoe game so at least we know that the culture will carry on for years to come. Furthermore at a young age these kids are learning valuable business skills that can translate into the real world and maybe careers. Imagine how ahead of the curve a kid that has been selling shoe since age 12 will be when he graduates. Also this is a way for kids to make a good sum of money legally. They don’t have to resort to crime or nefarious acts to cop the latest kicks.It promotes entrepreneurial skills, problem solving, how to read the market and trends, barter skills, small business acumen. Two sides to every coin but hopefully we can look at the next generation of sneakerheads as carrying the torch rather than burning the city down.

So here are questions for you to consider:

  • Are the kids really ruining the sneaker game?
  • Can we actually stop reselling?
  • Weren’t you a kid once?
  • If you had the same access to technology and social reach that kids today have, wouldn’t you consider a similar practice?

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