Parallel to the rise in popularity of sneakers, the business of reselling kicks has taken off and shows no sign of slowing down. Whereas it used to be just a few well-known resellers and in-the-know individuals making a quick buck off the latest limited release, the secondary market has now turned into a circus where the potential for profit dictates how hyped a sneaker is.
While reselling sneakers has become more widely accepted, the practice is still frowned upon in some quarters. Many sneakerheads believe the reselling industry is rife with unethical behavior. To change those preconceptions and generally make the practice of buying and selling sneakers on the secondary market safer and more legit, a number of portals and stores have been established by various members of the sneaker community.
To help you navigate what can be an overwhelming experience, we’ve taken a look at some of the major sneaker reselling portals, broken down how they're used, and identified their pros and cons, giving you a better idea of how and when to use each different reseller.
Year Started: 2013
Description: Grailed is best described as a mixture of an online free market, like a Facebook buying/selling group, with the more established sites that also have brick and mortar locations, such as Flight Club, RIF LA, and Stadium Goods. That's not to say the marketplace isn’t well established — it is — but it’s also much less formal than the other portals.
Grailed is split into four individual sections; Grails (high-end designers), Hype (highly anticipated new releases from YEEZY and Supreme), Sartorial (high-end classic menswear), and Core (mainstream brands). Curated sales like the Grailed 100 also set Grailed apart from other competitor sites. These hand-picked collections educate users on the background and history of seminal pieces from iconic brands in streetwear and high fashion, plus offer the rare chance to purchase hard-to-find gear from COMME des GARÇONS, Helmut Lang and more.
Arun Gupta, CEO of Grailed, told Racked, “Grailed is definitely a different way to shop for a lot of people. We see much less of a stigma towards buying used, a sentiment that has definitely grown in the past few years as more and more people shop second hand. Our users see real value in buying items at lower prices and also being able to find pieces from past seasons that they may have missed. Even if something is still out of their price range it's easy to defray the cost by selling a piece they don't wear anymore.”
Authentification Process: Grailed has a team of moderators who authenticate listings and items around the clock. They make sure items are authentic, in the seller's possession (they will contact unproven sellers and even ask for photos to verify), and properly categorized between Grailed's three strata: Grails (high fashion and niche brands), Hype (self-explanatory), and Core (more commercial, mainstream labels and vintage).
Fees: Grailed takes 6 percent as a commission. PayPal fees are then added to that. PayPal fees for transactions within the United States are 2.9 percent plus $0.30 per transaction, while international PayPal fees are 4.4 percent plus the approximate equivalent of $0.30 based on the currency used.
Shipping Method: Buyers and sellers are responsible for negotiating a shipping price and sending or receiving the goods.
Conclusion: Grailed operates purely through PayPal, which means both buyers and sellers are protected — in theory. There is still the possibility of getting scammed or ending up with fake goods. The total fees (8.9 to 10.4 percent plus $0.30 per transaction) are pretty much standard. Because it affords its users the ability to operate with more freedom than other portals, Grailed is great if you’re looking for a deal (or want as high a profit margin as possible), but it can get tiresome if you’re moving a lot of product and don’t want to invest too much time into selling your stuff.
Year Started: 2016
Description: One of the most popular of its kind, StockX sells itself as a stock exchange for hyped goods, and boasts the likes of Mark Wahlberg and Eminem as investors. What started off purely as a sneaker portal sourcing data from eBay (originally named Campless, started by Detroit-based Josh and Matt Luber) has evolved into a marketplace for Supreme clothing, accessories, handbags, and other brands.
StockX operates much like the actual stock market, allowing users to buy and sell at whatever price they agree upon while giving users real-time feedback on what their sneakers are being bought and sold for. StockX has effectively consolidated resell prices into one effective resource for deciding how much you should sell or buy shoes for.
Authentification Process: The portal operates as a middleman between buyer and seller, aiming to ensure that all sneakers are authentic and unworn. Once a sneaker is bought, it's shipped to the company’s Detroit HQ, where it's legitimacy-checked and approved for sale. Only then is it sent to the buyer.
In a Reddit AMA, Josh Luber revealed, "We approach this systematically from every angle possible. We acquire fake sneakers, break them down, document everything, create training manuals and literally have authenticator classes. We use all sorts of technology, include weight and density tools. We have apprenticeship, mentoring and heirarchial programs to ensure that people are trained, the right shoes goes to the right people and we are constantly learning. And because we see tens of thousands of sneakers per week, we are constantly fine tuning and improving our knowledge base, processes and people."
Fees: StockX takes a cut of the final sale price. This depends on how often you sell on the platform, but the lowest seller level starts out with a base 9.5 percent transaction fee. Shipping charges are $13.95 — with the sixth purchase free — and the payment processing fee is a flat 3 percent. Sellers pay a premium to sell through StockX compared with free marketplaces such as Facebook and Instagram.
Shipping Method: The purchase price includes shipping and, upon a successful sale, a shipping label is sent to the seller. All you have to do is drop it off at a post office and it'll be shipped to StockX HQ.
Conclusion: The allure of receiving guaranteed authentic sneakers is a big selling point, which is why StockX has become so popular. While the costs are relatively high — for both buyers and sellers — you can rest easy knowing you’ll be getting the real deal. If you’re looking for worn product, look elsewhere.
Year Started: 2015
Description: Los Angeles-based GOAT is StockX with used goods and Grailed with legitimacy checks. Sellers list their sneakers for sale on GOAT, while buyers browse the selection of over 75,000 sneakers.
In February 2018, GOAT announced it would be merging with long-time consignment retailer Flight Club. Speaking on the merger, co-founder and CEO of GOAT Eddy Lu said: “As the first company to focus on reselling rare sneakers, Flight Club revolutionized sneaker retail and paved the way for what is now a two billion dollar resale industry. The merger of Flight Club and GOAT, together with $60 million in new funding, will allow us to significantly scale our online and retail operations to meet customer demand both domestically and internationally.” Both GOAT and Flight Club are to operate independently of one another going forward, however.
In addition to providing a marketplace for buyers and sellers of sneakers, GOAT also hosts exhibitions from time to time, such as this event that highlighted some of Supreme’s best collaborations over the years.
Authentification Process: Once a purchase is made, sellers ship the sneakers to GOAT for verification and, if they’re authenticated, the sneakers are then shipped on to the buyer.
As GOAT explains on its website: “We have logged over 75,000 sneakers in our database and have accounted data on each to help us define their authenticity. Our specialists inspect everything from the label to stitching, texture to color, and so much more.”
Fees: GOAT charges a 9.5 commission for sellers plus a nominal seller fee ($5 for United States-based accounts). Commission fees are increased and can reach 20 percent if you receive a lot of cancellations. In addition, there's an additional cash-out fee of 2.9 percent when earnings are deposited via an ACH direct deposit or PayPal. Unlike on StockX, where PayPal deposits go through automatically after verification, with GOAT the cash-out process is done manually. There is also a shipping fee for buyers, detailed below.
Shipping Method: GOAT charges $10 to ship to the 48 contiguous states and $15 to Hawaii and Alaska. Shipping to Canada costs $30 while international shipping costs $40. Sneakers are first shipped to GOAT, and then on to the buyer, with the process taking between seven and nine business days for domestic customers.
Conclusion: GOAT is best for those who want the flexibility to sell both used and new sneakers but also appreciate the middleman service the most reputable portals offer. Think of it, like we described earlier, as a mix of Grailed and StockX. It does, however, still have its pitfalls and is by no means a perfect system.
Year Started: 2015
Description: Stadium Goods is a reselling portal in the mould of Flight Club and other brick-and-mortar consignment stores that also have an online presence. It offers hyped sneakers and apparel online and in-store at its New York locations. Every product is guaranteed to be 100 percent authentic and 100 percent brand new.
It was founded by three industry veterans, co-founders John McPheters and Jed Stiller, and marketing head Yu-Ming Wu of Sneaker Con and Sneaker News. McPheters explained to Coveteur, “For a long time it felt like this aftermarket world of [resale] products wasn’t a clean place to transact,” he explained. “That gave my partner [Jed Stiller] and I the idea to make it more of a premium feel-good experience.” The basement of Stadium Goods' is rumored to contain $20 million of rare sneakers, but that only accounts for 10 to 15 percent of the store’s entire inventory. The rest is kept offsite in New Jersey.
Authentification Process: As is the case with most consignment stores, the items you purchase will have been legitimacy-checked in advance by a team of experts. Consignment stores have a reputation to uphold and being thorough during the authentication process is of paramount importance.
Per Stadium Goods’ website: “Trust is a five letter word that our entire business hinges on. For that reason, we ensure that all sneakers + apparel the store carries are 100% authentic. We do this through expertise, and multiple checks on the product courtesy of industry veterans who know product inside and out.”
Fees: The fee is 20 percent, slightly more than other platforms on this list.
Shipping Method: If you’re buying online, you’ll have your item shipped to you like with any other webstore. Unfortunately for international buyers, Stadium Goods only takes returns on orders in the United States.
Conclusion: What's good about Stadium Goods is that it does a lot of the heavy lifting for you, listing your items online, in-store, and on eBay, Amazon, GOAT, TMALL.hk (Alibaba), and via other channels. In exchange, though, you pay a premium consignment fee of 20 percent. If you’re willing to put in the work, it might be better to list your item yourself elsewhere. Buyers should be aware that prices will be higher, but can rest assured that what they buy has been legitimacy-checked.
Year Started: 2005
Description: Flight Club operates on straightforward model: sellers bring their sneakers to the store’s Los Angeles or New York locations, have them authenticated, and then have them listed at an agreed price. Buyers can shop both online or at the physical stores, where the inventory ranges from below-retail general release kicks to hyped, ultra-rare sneakers. As mentioned above, Flight Club merged with GOAT in 2018, but it will still be run as an independent brand.
Authentification Process: Whereas other services such as GOAT and StockX authenticate sneakers during the buying and selling phase, Flight Club authenticates items before taking them into its inventory, which means no delays when it comes to shipping. All sneakers on Flight Club’s site and in stores are guaranteed authentic.
Fees: Flight Club is a consignment store, so they do take a chunk out of the final selling price. This amounts to 20 percent, the same as Stadium Goods. This has led to above-market prices, with sellers trying to shift the consignment fee onto the buyer.
Shipping Method: If you’re buying online, you’ll have your item shipped to you like with any other webstore.
Conclusion: If you like browsing in physical stores and holding the product in your hands before deciding to splash the cash — especially with sneakers that resell for absurd amounts — Flight Club might be the portal for you. However, the relatively high cut the business takes for itself might put off those selling low profit margin sneakers or looking to make a quick buck.
Year Started: 2013
Description: KLEKT is a European-based marketplace of sneakers, streetwear, and accessories founded by Heiko Lanzke and Marius Obiegala. The platform has changed since its inception, originally operating as a classified marketplace in the vein of eBay and Grailed before pivoting and becoming an augmented marketplace (i.e. operating as a physical middleman) like StockX and GOAT.
In December 2017, KLEKT joined forces with UK consignment store Presented By. Following that deal, KLEKT’s website became more structured and only allowed the buying and selling of deadstock items. “Partnering up with Presented By has allowed us to increase the speed and size of all activities, using the resources and knowledge of both companies,” KLEKT’s Rik Loeffen says. “Earlier this year, Undercover Brothers Ltd. (the brothers behind Presented By and Crep Protect) obtained controlling interest in KLEKT."
Authentification Process: All products bought and sold through KLEKT are sent to the platform’s authentication department, where experts ensure the product is legit and in its original condition. The item is then sent on to the buyer and the money released to the seller. If an item is deemed fake or not in unused condition, the buyer receives a full refund and the item is sent back to the seller. KLEKT has authentication centers in Cologne, Germany and London, UK, with plans to open further centers to ensure faster, more seamless transactions.
Fees: KLEKT sellers determine the price of their listing by selecting their “payout price.” This is the exact amount sellers receive for that sale. Other consignment platforms do the same, but show buyers and sellers the full price before subtracting fees from that. With KLEKT, fees are added to the payout price. This amounts to 20 percent on top of the payout, with €10 (approximately $11) flat rate shipping costs. So in short, KLEKT lets sellers see their entire payout with fees before an item is listed, with all fees being moved on to the buyer. Buyers, on the other hand, see the full price they will be paying without any hidden added fees.
Shipping Method: Once an item is bought, sellers are prompted to confirm the purchase. This gives them the chance to review everything before sending something out, just in case the wrong size or item was listed accidentally. Sales can be canceled through this final manual override. Once you confirm the purchase, you're given a DHL shipping label. Sellers need to ship the item within 48 hours and can drop off the item at an authorized post office or have it picked up by DHL at a preferred location, day, and time.
Conclusion: KLEKT's safety features make it one of the most reputable and safest platforms to use. Buying and selling is currently restricted to Europe, however, which might have an effect on market prices and product availability. While KLEKT doesn't have the global reach of StockX or eBay, it's a solid alternative for Europeans.
Year Started: 1995
Description: The Wild West of sneaker reselling portals and the true OG, eBay has come a long way and still has a cult-like following among resellers and older heads, however eBay is far from a sneaker-dedicated site like some of the others in our list. Sellers can list items on eBay as individual listings, much like as on Grailed. However, eBay offers the option to auction listings, where the top bid secures the prize.
Authentification Process: Items need to be authenticated by the buyer. eBay uses Paypal, so offers buyer and seller protection, giving you a safety net in case you get scammed. Still, it’s better to triple-check you’re buying real sneakers before sending any money.
Fees: eBay has two main types of selling fees: an insertion fee when sellers create a listing and a final value fee when the item is sold. The amount charged depends on the item’s price, format, and category. For more information, head here.
Shipping Method: Sellers are responsible for shipping their sneakers directly to the buyer once the listing and shipping (agreed beforehand) have been paid for.
Conclusion: eBay offers access to a potentially different kind of buyer and seller, which might mean more straightforward interactions. However, there is still the danger of being scammed without a middleman. If you’re confident in your ability to avoid scammers and/or are willing to rely on preexisting user feedback, eBay might be the portal for you. If not, you might be better served looking elsewhere.
In case you were wondering why people wear different sizes across different models and brands, watch the video below.
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