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How to Start Reselling Shoes: A Complete Guide

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If you’re a sneakerhead looking to make your hobby a successful business or a savvy entrepreneur who found the sneaker reselling niche interesting, stick around.

Here you can read all about how to start reselling shoes and turn a profit on your finds.

How Profitable is Reselling Shoes?

There are hundreds of success stories about how flipping sneakers made someone a fortune.

Think of Benjamin Kapelushnik, who supplies sneakers to celebrities like DJ Khaled. He became a millionaire at age 16 because he found the right clientele, but he’s not a fluke.

Reselling shoes is a multi-billion dollar industry that reached about $2 billion in 2019. While there are big names in the industry, there’s plenty of success to share, even for smaller resellers.

You can expect to make anywhere between $50 and $100 per pair of shoes if you have a good inventory.

Successful marketing strategies and knowing when to sell can also give you a leg up in the sneaker business, making four figures in one sale.

Depending on how much you sell and your seriousness, you could probably make about $15,000 a year from reselling shoes.

Why You Should Consider Reselling Shoes as a Side Hustle

Sneaker culture is becoming increasingly mainstream these days, and with it, the demand for new (and used) shoes is skyrocketing.

Reselling sneakers is an excellent way to make money if you’re already interested in athletic footwear and have a background in sales.

If you can find even a few sneakers to start, whether, from buy-and-sell groups on Facebook, thrifting, or outlet sales, you can start your sneaker reselling business in no time.

What You Need To Start A Sneaker Reseller Business

Starting a sneaker reselling business is as simple as having a lucky find at a thrift store or while online shopping and reselling it to someone else at a price above retail price.

That said, you need to have a few things figured out before you take the leap:

  • A marketplace for your sneaker reselling business: This could be a social media website like Instagram or Facebook, an e-commerce website like eBay or StockX, or a brick-and-mortar shop.
  • A storage unit or warehouse for the stock you’re selling: You could start the business from home and store your merchandise there, but once you grow, this becomes less feasible.
  • Employees: Once your business grows, you might need to employ other people to help with the packaging, shipping, and handling of incoming orders to meet demand.

Do I Need a License to Resell Shoes?

You need to get a business license from the finance office in your city to resell shoes full-time.

That is unless you intend to resell shoes as a hobby or a part-time job and report your income as “hobby income” on your taxes.

Most states have a threshold for how much you can make before hobby income needs to be declared.

As for retail licensing, if you’re based in the United States, no law requires you to get a license to sell merchandise that you bought legally with your own money.

However, you might jump into murky waters if you intend to use the logos of the shoes you’re selling in your branding.

To stay out of trouble, refrain from using the name, logos, or branding material of the sneaker brands you’re selling in your promotional materials, both online and offline.

This should help you avoid legal gray areas.

How to Get Started Reselling Shoes in 4 Simple Steps

Selling sneakers isn’t at all complicated; it just requires tenacity and knowing how to manage your business and keep it running.

Here are the steps you need to take to get started selling shoes:

Step 1: Find Shoes to Buy and Sell

The first step to becoming a sneaker reseller is to acquire the sneakers you want to resell.

You can find your merchandise at different places, depending on whether you intend only to sell brand-new shoes or are open to reselling pre-owned sneakers.

If you’re looking to resell brand-new sneakers, you have multiple options available:

  1. Go to outlet stores and buy shoes at the retail price before flipping them for a profit. This only works with mid-level releases that aren’t super rare and don’t turn large profit margins.
  2. Wait in front of brand stores before a shoe drop to secure multiple pairs as soon as the store opens. This could be tricky, though, as some stores only allow one new pair of shoes per customer for limited edition releases.
  3. Find a store owner to keep you in the loop about any upcoming release date and help you secure the sneakers at retail price. This usually works if you intend to be a high-volume seller and not only focus on limited-edition shoes.
  4. Use bots to shop online for limited edition sneakers, which makes the competitive nature of shoe drops much easier to navigate.

If you intend to sell pre-owned sneakers, you have a few options as to where you can buy them:

Thrift stores

This one’s pretty common. Although now, with a simple Google search, any store attendant can figure out whether the Air Jordan brand sneakers they see are a classic.

They could then choose to keep them rather than let them go to some random shopper.

If you want to go that route, try to venture out of the thrift stores in your local area and look in a broader range, especially if you live in a large city.

You might luck into a few pairs that make it worth the trip to the outskirts.

But not everyone thinks a pair of old shoes is worth buying just because they’re limited edition. Condition matters a lot in the sneaker resale market.

Online marketplaces

Some sneakerheads fall on hard times and choose to part ways with their sneaker collection for a lower price.

You can keep an eye on eBay and Facebook Marketplace listings to find pre-owned sneakers in good condition for sale.

Directly from other collectors

Another sneaker reseller might consider selling some of their stock to free up space or to liquidate some of their inventory.

You might luck into that kind of deal through networking within the sneaker reselling industry.

Step 2: Market Your Stock

You’ve secured a few pairs to start your sneaker reselling business. Now it’s time to peddle your wares and find your customer base.

You have a few options for where you can sell shoes:

Brick and Mortar Store

Depending on real estate rental prices where you live, you might find a brick-and-mortar store a good upfront investment as a sneaker reseller.

This has the benefit of making buyers feel secure because your business has a real-life location and allows you to keep track of inventory much more easily.

Social Media

Many sneaker resellers have turned to social media as a solid option to market their merchandise.

Instagram, Facebook, and even TikTok can help you get your name out there and find your customers.

Starting an Instagram business account is simple. You can list the available sneakers and their sizes, then post pictures of them.

The same goes for Facebook groups and pages where you can find interested parties at every corner.

You can also utilize the sponsored posts feature to sell your shoes directly to potential buyers.

The downside of this method is that you could take some time to develop a following and reach your desired audience organically if you don’t intend to use paid ads.

Aftermarket Apps

The sneaker resale market has evolved in the past ten years at such a pace that aftermarket apps have become necessary to keep up with the demand on the secondary market.

These apps make the buying process much easier, helping customers compare prices, add up the shipping cost, and other aspects of the secondhand sneaker market.

These apps include:

1. GOAT

With a name that comes from the term “Greatest of all time,” bestowed upon legendary athletes, GOAT sneakers, a leading aftermarket sneaker seller, was founded in 2015.

It caught the attention of global shoe market tycoon, Footlocker in 2019, securing a hefty investment.

GOAT sneakers have become a trustworthy platform where you can sell your merchandise and secure a customer base. It offers a buyer protection policy to help spot fake products and protect sneakerheads from fraud.

2. StockX

Since sneakers shifted from being consumer goods to becoming an investment, StockX treats them as such. The app, founded in Detroit in 2015, allows you to see what your merchandise is worth and how it’s appreciating in value in real time.

From a consumer standpoint, this is convenient because you can determine whether you’re getting the best price for the sneakers you want.

As for sellers, the upside is that you get paid as soon as your item is verified as authentic, even before it’s sold.

3. Stadium Goods

Another company founded in 2015, Stadium Goods is an aftermarket app that focuses on high-end and limited-edition merchandise.

It’s another platform that authenticates its stock by asking the seller to ship it and then paying them when it’s sold, consignment-style.

4. eBay

Unlike the previous examples, eBay is a more general option when it comes to selling merchandise.

That said, the new program that allows for an authenticity guarantee badge to appear next to your merchandise makes it much easier to resell on that platform.

The authentication process is free, and any returned items are inspected before they’re returned to the seller to avoid mishaps. This makes eBay a decent option for aftermarket sneaker sales.

Step 3: Manage Inventory

Once your business starts taking off, you’ll need to put a system in place to keep track of every pair of shoes you resell.

Aside from keeping track of your available inventory, it also becomes incredibly helpful when tax season rolls around.

Use a spreadsheet to mark down:

  • All the shoes you have
  • When they were acquired
  • Their retail prices
  • The price they go for
  • When they were sold

This should help you catalog the most sought-after shoes and your earnings. It also lets you know which pairs are in low demand so you wouldn’t waste time on them.

Step 4: Reinvest in Your Business

As with any other venture flipping items, the ethos is “buy low, sell high.” However, huge profit margins don’t always land in your bank account as earnings.

After you’ve started reselling shoes with some success, you’ll quickly realize that to stay on top of the business, you should learn how to reinvest more money in it.

You can grow your business by buying new stock, marketing your business, and paying your employees’ wages.

If this is more than a side hustle, you’ll have to put in the necessary work.

Things to Consider When Building a Sneaker Reselling Business

Before you zero in on the sneaker business as your next gig, you should consider the following:

Sneaker Bots and Cook Groups

Shoe drops and limited edition releases have become a mainstay of the sneaker industry.

That drove resellers to great lengths to be able to secure new pairs of coveted shoes after the latest trend for their reselling business.

Enter bots, a new technology that automates the ordering process as soon as the hyped shoes are released.

These bots are designed to order a number of shoes by interacting with the website as a regular customer but much faster, with some taking as little as 0.2 seconds to complete a purchase.

There are frontend bots. These are browser extensions that do what a regular customer does but at a faster pace.

These are simpler to operate and cheaper but have a limitation of failing if the website crashes.

As for backend bots, they interact with the structure beyond the website’s façade, which makes them faster and better able to deal with increased demand on the website.

The downside is that they cost much more money, up to eight times the cost of a regular sneaker bot.

This type of bot can also be rented if you can’t afford to buy one.

But where can you acquire one of these bots?

Cook groups are exclusive Facebook groups and Discord channels that share the latest tips and tricks to get you ahead in the sneaker game.

They offer software purchases like bots and ideas that benefit newcomers to the sneaker reselling market.

They often require a monthly subscription that averages $50.

Seller Fees on Popular Shoe Reselling Platforms

If you’ve decided on reselling sneakers on one of the many reselling platforms, you should know that each one offers its services at a cost.

GOAT Seller Fees:

  • United States: $5
  • United Kingdom: $5
  • Canada: $5
  • Netherlands: $6
  • Hong Kong: $10
  • Finland: $10
  • France: $6
  • Slovenia: $12
  • Guam: $25
  • Romania: $12
  • Austria: $6
  • Cyprus: $24
  • Slovakia: $6
  • Japan: $10
  • South Korea: $5
  • China: $25
  • Philippines: $10
  • Bulgaria: $12
  • Belgium: $6
  • Singapore: $5
  • Latvia: $12
  • Portugal: $12
  • Malaysia: $10
  • Luxembourg: $10
  • Thailand: $10
  • Malta: $24
  • Hong Kong (drop-off): $5
  • Germany: $5
  • Greece: $12
  • Indonesia: $10
  • Poland: $12
  • Hungary: $12
  • Italy: $12
  • Czech Republic: $6
  • Denmark: $10
  • Sweden: $10
  • Croatia: $12
  • Spain: $12
  • Estonia: $12
  • Taiwan: $5
  • Lithuania: $12
  • Ireland: $12
  • Other: $30

This doesn’t include the commission fees that the platform decides according to the seller rating as follows:

  • Seller rating of 90 or above: 9.5% commission fee + seller fee
  • Seller rating between 70-89: 15% commission fee + seller fee
  • Seller rating between 50-69: 20% commission fee + seller fee
  • Seller rating below 50: 25% commission fee + seller fee

StockX Seller Fees:

  • International Markets $12
  • United States: $9
  • Australia: AU$14
  • Canada: CA$12
  • EU: €9
  • Great Britain: £8
  • Hong Kong: HK$75
  • Japan: ¥1,300
  • Mexico: $175
  • New Zealand: NZ$18
  • Singapore: SG$16
  • South Korea: ₩12,000
  • Switzerland: $11

The transaction fees on StockX are calculated based on the number of complete purchases or the amount of money you made through the platform according to the following levels:

  • Level 1: (N/A sales) 10.0% transaction fee
  • Level 2: (3 sales or $500 made): 9.5% transaction fee
  • Level 3: (6 sales or $1,500 made) 9% transaction fee
  • Level 4: (25 sales or $5,000 made) 8.5% transaction fee
  • Level 5: (250 sales or $30,000 made) 8% transaction fee

Overhead Costs

Selling sneakers comes with some overhead costs you should stay on top of if you intend to dominate your local market and branch out.

Aside from paying for the expensive shoes, you should also factor in the costs of shipping and handling, marketing, paying employee wages, and investing in a bot or cook group subscription.

The more you make money from sneaker reselling, the less it’ll make sense as a side hustle. Soon enough, it’ll replace your day job as your main income earner.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Spot Fake Shoes?

Spotting a pair of fake shoes can be as easy as holding them in your hands and feeling the difference.

However, dupes have increasingly become better made, so a pair of authentic Nike shoes can differ very little from a pair of fake ones.

When in doubt, look up YouTube videos that show you an unboxing of the authentic pair in question. Then you’ll find what it’s supposed to look like up close and compare the pair you have with the authentic one.

As for online stores, fake shoes could come in the form of a “too good to be true” deal. In most cases, if you find the shoes for cheap or find lots of money sizes available, steer clear.

Is Reselling Sneakers Illegal?

No, it’s not. Reselling something you bought with your money doesn’t have any legal repercussions if you’re clearly stating that you’re a third-party seller and not an official retailer.

But you could get into legal trouble if you use the logos and other branding material of the brands you want to sell.

To avoid an unwelcome cease and desist order, avoid making any allusions to the brands unless in the context of the shoe specifications.

How Do Sneaker Resellers Get So Many Shoes?

In the sneaker world, resellers are willing to go anywhere to get the merchandise they need.

Camping outside stores, driving miles to an outlet that sells at retail prices, using bots to secure new releases, and networking with other resellers are all ways you can get as many shoes as other resellers.

The bigger a reseller becomes, the more they’re bold about their decisions about shoes to buy and sell. That means buying in larger quantities because they know the merchandise will easily move.

What Else Could You Resell?

  • Furniture: Flipping furniture is a wonderful way to make money and save some beautiful pieces from the dumpster. If you have a knack for restoration, check this out!
  • Concert Tickets: Reselling concert tickets is a profitable business if you’re willing to put in the work.
  • Clothing: Just like reselling shoes, clothing has a huge potential for being a successful reselling business; it also helps the environment and promotes sustainability!

Wrapping Up

Reselling shoes could be an excellent side hustle to make extra money. You can start from your own garage and sell your shoes to begin.

With enough patience, time, and reinvestment, you should be able to put your hands on the hottest shoes on the market and sell them at a decent profit margin.

So what do you think? Is reselling sneakers the right side hustle for you? Let us know in the comments below and share this article if you liked it!

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