Sneakerhead Nation Takes A Hit Due to COVID-19

With continuous collaborations in recent years by Off White, Supreme and Nike, it is hard to imagine a world where “sneakerheads” lose their “hype.” This in turn leaves us to wonder, are people actually getting tired of sneakers? 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to destroy many businesses and industries, the fashion industry has been one of the worst hit. The once rapidly rising sneaker industry is no exception, reporting a sixty-five percent drop in sneaker sales in the last week of March. Sales from varying team-related sports, including soccer or baseball cleat sales, have equally been down with the inability to play or practice team-related sports across the country. Team related sports sales were down by seventy percent, whereas running and basketball shoes took a hit of a whopping ninety percent

Now, as we enter April, even expected, acclaimed sneakerhead holidays, such as Nike’s manufactured “Air Max Day,” did not get the hype it usually deserves. Highsnobiety even called it a “forgettable one.” With this, conspiracy theorists have long prophesied that sneaker doomsday has been long coming. James Harris and Lawerence Schlossman, co-hosts of the podcast, “Throwing Fists,” have been proclaiming the post sneaker world for a long time, holding brands accountable for deadbeat collaborations and product productions.

Things are looking up though in the resale market. For example, StockX has continued to do well, predicting greater sales as the pandemic continues. Now, if you are asking yourself why resale, especially amongst one of the greatest germ-spreading pandemics of all time, it is because resale does not depend on the success or interest of the latest drop. In other words, if Nike’s latest drop is a flop, it directly hurts the Nike market, but the resale market is tied on the supply and demand of a certain commodity,  rather than the brand image itself. 

Thus, StockX has been able to maintain its headways, only seeing a four percent decrease in sales amongst its top 500 brands, compared to the thirty percent hit the sneaker stocks have taken in the last few weeks, according to Highsnobiety. Additionally, StockX has been able to keep its warehouse and verification centers open, largely because the resale market has done way better than the stock market. 

Yet, the decision to stay open also means making big changes to the process of resale. Stock X, for example, has had to include new procedures for personal and workplace hygiene in accordance with the CDC and WHO, splitting shifts between employees, reconfiguring work stations to avoid overcrowding, and stocking up on disinfectant. Additionally, StockX has also started a fundraising campaign that will ultimately donate more than 200,000 meals to Feeding America’s Covid-19 response fund while also pledging $20,000, according to Highsnobiety. Their hashtag #FlexFromHome will donate $1 for every use of the tag in combination with a fit picture posted to social media.

Considering all of this, it is clear that while the sneaker industry as a whole has been hit hard, small companies like StockX show that the “hype” may not be completely over. Brands like Nike and Supreme need to make the reasonable effort to create interesting and buzzworthy drops. As the ruling power over the success of the industry, without new and catch-on drops, the industry may only continue to tank, leaving brands like StockX to walk away as the last living leg of the sneaker industry as we know it.