Mason students willing to pay the price for retro shoes

Divy Bose | The Chronicle

Paying the price is what it takes to get the latest Retro shoes.

As stylish clothing trends are becoming popular on social media, so are shoes. With the latest retro look making its full circle, junior Presley Daniels said that she wants to keep up with the trend, but also make it her own.

“I have Jordans in Pink, Blue, Brown, and Orange so I can match with the colors I wear most,” Daniels said. “Instead of thinking about what clothes I am going to wear, I think about which Jordans I am going to wear that day then coordinate my outfit with them.”

Having to budget money for these shoes is a challenge that teenagers face when buying popular shoe brands. Daniels said that investing in buying a pair of Jordans is a reward, but an obstacle at the same time.

“I have to save up for a pair and plan in advance for weeks before actually buying a pair since I work part-time,” Daniels said. “Affording these shoes on my own is hard, but being able to buy them for myself compensates for the price.” 

Air Jordans, a Nike brand named after former National Basketball Association (NBA) player Michael Jordan, have achieved new levels of fame in recent years. Fans, athletes and shoe collectors alike covet the different assortment and styles of Air Jordans such as Dunks, Ones, Threes, Fours, Fives, and Sixes. Daniels said that the name brand was enough to make her buy multiple pairs since she is a basketball player herself.

“I love Michael Jordan and look up to him so obviously I am going to want his shoes,” Daniels said. “Everyone says he is the greatest of all time and him being a basketball player makes me want them even more.”

Bidding on shoes can cost buyers up to two or even five hundred more dollars than what the shoes are worth. Freshman Jayden Brogden said that his favorite pair of Jordans cost him a couple of hundred dollars.

“I spent two hundred to three hundred on my dark viruses which is a pretty standard price,” Brogden said. “To me, it wasn’t that expensive since I bought them off a resale app called Sneakers.” 

Resale apps such as StockX, Sneakers, or even eBay are where most people turn to buy the latest retro ware. Since retail stores do not carry Air Jordans, paying the resale price from these apps is often the only way to get a pair.

While buying these shoes has become a habit for many Mason High School (MHS) students, some have also started the lucrative business of selling them. Junior Luke Kirklin started reselling shoes in eighth grade through his Instagram account and eBay. Kirklin said that he makes a 20% profit through resale because consumers are willing to pay higher prices for Jordans.

“When I go to resell shoes I turn to StockX to make sure I’m accurate in my resale pricing,” Kirklin said. “But at the same time, Jordans are rare and I have to resell them for more than the original price in order to make a good amount of money.” 

In addition to buying shoes from retail or thrift stores, Kirklin also acquires shoes directly through vendors he partners with. Kirklin said that ensuring the integrity of the shoes is one of the most important aspects of reselling.

“I went to Plato’s Closet and found Air Jordan Dunks for forty-five dollars and had to buy them,” Kirklin said. “I checked if the pair was real by running it through my apps and checking the shoe’s looks.”

Out of all the shoes Kirklin sells, he said that the Air Jordan Dunks have been the most popular shoe he has come across with selling.

“The difference between all the Jordans is just the model of the shoe,” Kirklin said. “Everyone seems to want the Air Jordan Dunks, though, since I got four offers on a pair [of Dunks] in one day.”

Buying these shoes is not always simple. Many shoe collectors must bid on resale sites and pay up to hundreds more in order to be the highest bid. While this system benefits sellers, Brogden said it can complicate his job as well.

“There’s way more to it than just buying and reselling shoes,” Brogden said. “Recognizing the different patterns of sales and knowing the stocks of companies is what will help you understand the business side.” 

Even though buying knock-off shoes are cheaper, owning a real pair of Jordans is what makes buyers confident in their own sense of style. Brogden said that having a pair of Jordans alone is enough to make an impression. 

“Knowing you’re even wearing the brand Air Jordan is enough to make anyone confident,” Brogden said. “Buying them for yourself is pricey, but it’s ultimately worth it in the end.”