We see them swarming the streets everywhere, sneakers have become the most coveted footwear for young and old alike. Initially valued for their comfort, sneakers have become a real investment. To understand the crazy second-hand sneaker business, Lufy and Enzo met with contemporary retailers.
It goes back more than a century when scientist Charles Gooyear invented rubber vulcanization: the process of adding sulfur to rubber to create a flexible, waterproof, and malleable material! And at the beginning of the 19th century, this vulcanization made its way into the world of footwear to give rise to the ancestor of modern basketball, which was much more resilient than what existed at the time.
The potential of rubber-soled shoes quickly interested a wide range of companies in the sports world. The brands Converse, Adidas and Puma release their first sneakers. They are followed by those of Nike and Reebok, which develop sneakers specifically for women. Ultimately, it’s hip-hop culture that will take it off the court and onto the streets thanks to the sportswear style born of African-American rappers.
This basketball boom and popularity is forcing brands to push the boundaries of creativity. The variety of models explodes until they manage to create objects that resemble works of art! Some of these shoes are limited editions and can sell for thousands of dollars. The demand is there and the excitement continues to grow, with regular gatherings of sneaker fans like Sneakers Mania in Brussels.
Today “sneaker reseller” is a profession in its own right. For these young traders, it’s all about supply and demand. Brands play with this by releasing limited stock to create frustration. And the victims of this system are mostly those who really want to wear them and don’t frame them in their living room. And you, what type are you? Sneakers on the wall or sneakers on your feet?
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