Pop Quiz: Which Sneaker Are You?
There’s no question that the sneaker world has exploded in the last decade. It seems there’s a new sneaker drop every week, and with the resale market providing an abundant mix of vintage, deadstock, just-released and rare shoes, the options are endless. Classic adidas Superstars or the latest Off-White x Nikes? Chunky Balenciaga Triple S or rare Louis Vuitton x Supreme? Low-key Gucci Aces or colorful Pharrell Williams x adidas NMDs? With so many possibilities, deciding which kind of sneakers to gravitate towards can be daunting. Take our quiz, discover your sneaker profile and get expert intel on the most coveted picks from Sneaker & Streetwear Valuation Manager Carlos Santos.
1. Choose an emoji.
2. What kind of art is displayed in your home?
A) Modern or contemporary works that capture the zeitgeist
B) Bold, buzzy sculpture
C) Experimental multimedia pieces that prompt the question, “What is art?”
D) Idyllic landscapes or cityscapes that evoke wanderlust
E) Something that’s simple yet complex, like abstract expressionism or neon art
3. You’re ready to score a new pair of sneakers when…
A) You have to have that logo in your rotation
B) The hype starts to build
C) Everyone else seems to own your favorite shoes
D) You need to replace your worn-out everyday kicks
E) An even sleeker version of the pair you already own debuts
4. Who’s your style icon?
A) Jeff Goldblum
B) Travis Scott
D) Jonah Hill
E) Mahershala Ali
5. What was your last big investment?
A) A monogrammed carryall bag
B) A collectible, limited edition figurine
C) An archival runway piece
D) Camping or sports gear
E) A well-fitted suit
6. When you’re not wearing sneakers, you can be found in…
A) Gucci slides
B) Honestly, nothing but sneakers
C) Saint Laurent Chelsea boots
D) Hiking boots
E) Berluti oxfords
7. What’s your consignment philosophy?
A) When I’m finally over something, I consign it
B) I sell when the resale price skyrockets
C) I consign only when my curated collection becomes unmanageable
D) I rarely re-sell, but when I do, it’s in the interest of sustainability
E) One item in, one item out
8. Your ideal watch…
A) Is a classic luxury timepiece
B) Has all the bells and whistles — diamonds, complications, the works
C) Has an unconventional touch, like an asymmetrical dial
D) Is durable, waterproof and above all else functional
E) Is clean, monochromatic and has little embellishment
Mostly As... You're The Luxe MVP
You’re on top of all the latest trends yet still maintain a firm appreciation for the classics. When it comes to luxury brands with heritage and a strong cultural presence, you’re game to try anything that’s destined for icon status, so naturally a pair of MVP sneakers by an esteemed fashion house is your best fit.
Carlos’ Expert Take: Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Balenciaga have all made a strong impact on sneaker culture as of late. Since joining forces with Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh created one of the most iconic LV sneakers in their history: the LV Trainer Sneaker. With references to the classic Air Jordan 3 Model and colorways, both the high-top and low-top models caught the sneaker world by storm. Gucci made a big statement when they produced their embroidered Gucci Ace sneakers, and Balenciaga has really transformed the idea of what common sneakers look like by creating large and pronounced styles like the Triple S and Track sneaker. And let’s not forget Dior’s upcoming Jordan 1 collab.
Many luxury sneakers, like the Gucci Flashtrek, hold a high value in the secondary market; they’re also prime targets for counterfeiters. Gucci Flashtrek sneakers hold up to 80% of their retail price, and when it comes to authenticity, some big things to look at are the overall shape and weight of the sneaker. Most faux pairs of the shoe have yet to perfect the Flashtrek sole or master how heavy the shoe actually is. Faux pairs are often light and flimsy. The Louis Vuitton Trainer retains a resale value up to 75%, and these are all about quality. Each shoe consists of over 60 different handcrafted pieces and takes over six hours to manufacture. Faux pairs often find a way to cut corners. Look for clean stamping on the size label as well as the quality of the stitching to spot a real pair.
Mostly Bs... You're The Hype Trophy
You’re all about the hype — if there’s buzz surrounding a high-profile art show, restaurant opening or new clothing brand, you’re the one who’s got the inside scoop. Because you’re always first in line and trying to make the best impression, there’s no better sneaker for you than a statement-making, envy-inducing grail or trophy pair — perfect for flaunting on the ‘gram (or displaying on your shelves, if you’re obsessed with keeping them in mint condition).
Carlos’ Expert Take: For me, a grail is something that is virtually unobtainable and takes years to search for. For others, it’s a recent, pricey release that they can’t justify purchasing at the time. Rarity definitely plays a factor in determining grail status, as well as supply and demand. A-Cold-Wall x Nike Air Force 1 Highs or Nike Girls Don’t Cry SB Dunks are two prime examples. There were only about 250 pairs produced of these styles, so if you don’t pull the trigger when you see them, you may never get a chance again.
The hype Travis Scott Jordan 1 was one of the most sought-after sneakers of 2019 — they sell for over 800% of their original retail value. They’re also likely last year’s most counterfeited sneaker. Pay attention to the quality of leather used on both the large reverse swoosh as well as the toe box and uppers. On real pairs, the reverse swoosh should be clean-cut and not rounded at the tip. Also the Cactus Jack head imprinted on the shoe should be more of an oval than a circle.
Nike Yeezy 1s have always been considered a grail since their release in 2009, and re-sell for over 800% of the original $250 retail price. One way to determine authenticity is by the materials. Nike Yeezy 1s were made with premium leather, a very lush, padded interior and touches of embossed suede and leather. Another sign of authenticity is the sizing. A size 9 will actually fit closer to a size 10, so if the pair fits true to size, chances are it could be faux.
Mostly Cs... You're The Avant-Garde Sneaker
You’re all about aesthetics and seeking out those under-the-radar pieces with compelling stories. Everything from the objets d’art in your space to the clothing in your wardrobe has been carefully researched and curated to reflect your deepest self. And when it comes to sneakers, there’s no question that you’re destined to wear a pair by artistically inclined designers who devote as much time to visiting museums as they do creating their collections.
Carlos’ Expert Take: Avant-garde sneakers definitely have deep fashion roots, since many of these styles are created by cult favorite brands like Rick Owens, Raf Simons, Y-3 (Yohji Yamamoto) and Maison Margiela. The Rick Owens Dunk caused a bit of a stir when it was released in 2006. While the bulk of the shoe’s design is original, it is hard not to notice the “Swoosh-like” check on the sneaker’s side, which prompted a cease-and-desist letter from Nike. While at one point the sneakers re-sold for around $500, the sneakers can now sell for $2,000 in the secondary market, even when not in pristine or excellent condition.
The Maison Margiela Fusion sneaker, which looks like a melted, distressed mish-mash of a shoe, was actually inspired by fusing different parts of iconic sneakers together. These shoes are hand-assembled and will fetch 55% of their original retail price on average, but can sell for higher depending on condition.
Mostly Ds... You're The Athlete's Choice
You’re happiest when you’re outdoors, exploring someplace new, or stretching, exercising and moving. You spend your free time hiking, improving your at-home workout routine, or planning your next adventure, where you can explore new places on foot. For someone as active as you, a functional, comfortable shoe is everything — which is why you’ll always look to athletic sneakers to carry you throughout your day-to-day.
Carlos’ Expert Take: Nike is the leader of the pack for athletic sneakers, no question. They have turned classic running shoes into some of the most sought-after footwear in the world. Case in point: the Air Force 1. Nike produces hundreds of thousands of all-white Air Force 1s every year. A simple, easy to wear sneaker for just about anybody. And you know what? They still sell out when they hit stores. Every single time.
The ComplexCon Exclusive Off-White x Nike Air Force 1 is the ultimate upscale athletic shoe, and re-sells for 2,000% higher than its $150 retail price (if you were lucky enough to snag a pair at ComplexCon in 2017). When it comes to authenticity, there are a number of key things to look at. The “AIR” on the side of the sneaker should not be too fair, and the font should not be too wide. The word “SHOELACES” should be printed into the shoe lace, not screen printed on top of it. The exposed foam is also another good thing to look for, as most faux pairs often use foam that is too stiff or too flimsy.
Mostly Es... You're The Minimalist Shoe
You’re understated in every sense of the word. Discretion, practicality and monochromatic palettes are your sartorial pillars, and you eschew the flash and logos that dominate the majority of fashion houses. Your ideal sneaker is as clean-cut and refined as you are, a testament to your belief that less really is more.
Carlos’ Expert Take: Minimalism will always be here to stay. From the minimalist art of the ‘60s and ‘70s to the minimalism on the runways of Calvin Klein, Helmut Lang and Jil Sander in the ‘90s, the movement can be found in many iterations, and sneakers are no exception. Though there is plenty of desire for some people to be the loudest in the room, high-quality, minimalist sneakers without the fanfare can still make a big impact.
Some of the most notable minimalist sneakers are Common Projects Achilles, which hold up to 60% of their value in the secondary market. Common Projects was founded by Prathan Poopat and Flavio Girolami in 2004, after the two decided to create a timeless sneaker that was both luxurious and casual. Achilles’ only embellishment is the 10-digit foiled stamp on the side, which includes the shoe’s style number, European size and the model color number. When inspecting Common Projects sneakers for authenticity, check that the toe lies flat; many faux pairs have have a lift at the toe box due to poor craftsmanship.
Maison Margiela Replica sneakers, inspired by ‘70s-era German Army Trainers, are also the embodiment of minimalism and tend to hold a resale value up to 70%. After the Margiela atelier revived the shoe, other brands such as Dior and Saint Laurent created their own iterations of the streamlined, stripped-down classic.
All items are pre-owned and consigned to The RealReal. Trademarks are owned by their respective brand owners. No brand owner endorses or sponsors this ad or has any association and/or affiliation with The RealReal.
Please note: Brand standards, logos and other identifying features may have changed since the time of publication.