TRR Top 5: Sneakers With The Best Resale Value
Real sneakerheads remember the pre-hype days. Before running shoes became run-of-the-mill for the fashion elite, before Jordans were bought and sold like stocks, before collaborations dropped on a monthly basis, sneakers weren’t just a shoe; they were part of a lifestyle. Sneakers have always had ties to sports, art and music, and inevitably there are few cultural icons left untouched and unadopted by the masses. Today, there’s no denying that fashion and sneakers have become inextricable. And this, arguably, is a good thing.
While the current craze for kicks may be a drastic change from the days of yore, a more widespread appreciation for sneakers has allowed new ideas, conversations and modes of self-expression to flourish. The secondary market has also emerged as a go-to hub for past and present releases, connecting sneaker lovers globally and providing a platform to search for and sell sneakers that may have otherwise disappeared forever.
There are sneaker trends that come and go, while certain classics continue to hold a particular cachet, no matter how many years pass. Whether you’ve been in the sneaker game for decades, own a handful of pairs or have become a newfound aficionado with a growing collection, you may be pleased to learn that sneakers priced $195+ on The RealReal can earn you 80% commission back.* And as you get ready to consign, you probably have a lot of questions. Does Nike really reign supreme? Are your vintage kicks going to sell? Do shoppers still have love for Yeezys?
Luckily, The RealReal’s Sneaker & Streetwear Valuation Manager Amir Azarcon is on the pulse of what’s hot, and has the answers. Our team crunched the numbers for sneaker sales over the last year and rounded up the top five styles with the highest resale value. Read on as Azarcon explores the stories behind the designs, the colorways and collabs to sell now, and expert tips for telling real from faux.
5. sacai x Nike
The Resale Stats: Pristine sacai x Nike sneakers can hold an average resale value up to 384%.
The Story Behind The Collaboration: Nike and sacai first collaborated on two pairs of Dunks and two pairs of Air Max 90s in 2015. “The idea of functionality is important to me, as is fabric innovation, which has always been at the heart of sacai,” sacai founder and Creative Director Chitose Abe said in an interview when the initial collaboration launched.
For those unfamiliar with Abe, she began her fashion career at Comme des Garçons, first as a pattern cutter under Rei Kawakubo and then as a designer under Junya Watanabe. She founded sacai in 1999 and is known for deconstructed designs with military or workwear origins and a distinctly feminine flair.
The sacai x Nike LD Waffle Sneakers follow Chitose Abe’s signature design ethos of combining multiple garments to create something unique. Abe fused two iconic vintage Nike running sneakers from the ’70s for this hybrid, double-themed design: the Nike LDV and Waffle Racer. To honor this twofold inspiration, the special-edition silhouette has two tongues, two swooshes and doubled shoelaces.
What You Should Sell Now: Both the LD Waffle and Blazer continue to be coveted. Most of the sacai x Nike LD Waffle colorways are either tonal, or combined colorways from the original Nike LDVs and Waffle Racers. Pairs of both styles in pristine condition with tags and boxes prove to hold extremely high resale value, with the LD Waffle blue and green multi colorways generally reselling anywhere between $500-$700, and the pine green colorway reselling for $400-$600 (much higher than their $160 retail price!).
How To Spot The Real Deal: Check the US patent stamp on the outsole of sacai x Nike sneakers. Faux pairs will often have a deep, excessively defined stamp that is much deeper than an authentic pair.
Recommended Reading: Find out more about the most coveted sneaker collabs — and how to style your LD Waffles for that perfect Instagram photo before you sell.
4. Yeezy Boost
The Resale Stats: Yeezy x adidas has been going strong for five years, and based on its rising value in the secondary market, it shows no signs of slowing down: Yeezy Boosts can hold an average resale value up to 589%.
The Story Behind The Style: Kanye West famously left his favorite brand Nike over royalty, creative and release date disputes, shocking the sneaker world by making the move to adidas in 2015. The original Yeezy 350 Boost would release that summer — an obvious take on the popular Nike silhouette, the Roshe Run.
Adidas is well-known for their innovative, high-quality materials. Yeezy Boosts use adidas’ proprietary Primeknit technology, which allows for a knit sneaker upper that is made of one continuous piece of fabric. It’s breathable and flexible, providing maximum comfort alongside the bouncy Boost sole, exclusively made for adidas by German chemical company Badische Anilin & Soda-Fabrik. Though Yeezy Boosts were not the first to include Boost technology, West’s designs arguably helped cement it as a coveted, must-have element of adidas sneakers.
What You Should Sell Now: The 350 is the Yeezy line’s best performing model to date, with countless colorways selling out every time a new one is released. If you’re looking to cash out on some OG colorways, the Yeezy x adidas 350 V2 Beluga, an original colorway for the V2 model, holds an average resale value up to 543%. The Yeezy x adidas Boost 350 Turtledove, on the other hand, was one of the first colorways to be released, and and holds an average resale value up to 538%.
Adidas has begun to mass-produce Yeezy Boost V2s and they continue to resell above retail despite large production numbers, a telling sign of the model’s popularity. However, after oversaturating the market with 350 V2 restocks and new colorways, adidas began to make limited runs of new reflective colorways in an attempt to recapture the hype of the initial releases. Sell your reflective Boosts now, while the resale prices are still high.
How To Spot The Real Deal: On authentic Yeezy Boosts, the registered trademark R should never be touching the adidas logo on the sneaker’s interior size tag.
Recommended Reading: Get a full authenticity rundown of Yeezy Boosts from TRR Authentication Manager Nhu Duong.
3. Nike Air Force 1
The Resale Stats: Nike Air Force 1s hold an average resale value up to 830%, with Travis Scott’s Nike collaboration taking the top prize for the Air Force 1 with highest average resale value.
The Story Behind The Style: The Nike Air Force 1 was designed in 1982 by Bruce Kilgore. This was the first Nike basketball sneaker to incorporate Air technology, which consists of a pressurized air bag within the sole. This provides cushioning and allows for a considerably lighter shoe.
Though we think of the Air Force 1 as an integral part of Nike’s sneaker line-up, the style was set to be discontinued in 1984. It took a trio of Baltimore sneaker shops, who petitioned Nike to bring the sneaker back due to high demand, to convince the brand that it was worth keeping. Nike obliged and the Air Force 1 became one of the world’s most popular sneakers, adopted and beloved by subcultures, style tribes and people from all walks of life.
There are numerous hype Air Force 1 collaborations, which reinforces the style’s infinite appeal. For the Air Force 1’s 35th birthday, Travis Scott reinterpreted the style in a canvas material with multicolor reflective trim. Other highlights include interchangeable velcro swooshes, a removable chenille Cactus Jack patch over the laces and a set of bejeweled grills lace dubrae (or lace tags).
What You Should Sell Now: Travis Scott is this current generation’s Kanye West, and anything he does or touches will perform well on the secondary market. The Travis Scott x Nike Air Force 1 sneakers have had three years to increase in value, which accounts for their high resale value now. The resale price of these sneakers is bound to go up… as long as there is no Travis Scott x Nike Air Force 1 restock or re-release.
Other recent noteworthy collabs include the Off-White x Nike Air Force 1 Volt. Virgil Abloh followed up his first monochromatic, translucent Air Force 1 with another, this time dressed up in one of Nike’s most recognizable signature colors — the neon yellow-green Volt. This colorway typically resells between $800 and $1,000 and holds an average resale value up to 397%.
And it’s hard to calculate the resale value of the 2019 Nike Air Force 1 Scarr’s Pizza, an incredibly limited edition style that was actually gifted to friends and family of NY legend Scarr’s Pizza, but if you’re willing to part with yours, they can resell for $5,000… possibly more.
How To Spot The Real Deal: When inspecting a pair of Air Force 1s, check for the size stamp embossed underneath the insole. It should include a size range (sizes 9-10, for example), as opposed to a single size.
Recommended Reading: Dive into the Air Force 1’s full history, including the architectural wonder Kilgore looked to when designing the sneakers, a chronicle of collaborations that have contributed to its icon status and key tips for authenticating your pair.
2. Nike SB Dunk
The Resale Stats: The resale value of Nike SB Dunks actually surpasses triple digits, and the style holds an average resale value up to 1,195%.
The Story Behind The Style: The Nike Dunk was originally a basketball sneaker designed by Peter Moore, who also designed the Air Jordan 1. The similarities between the two sneakers are striking, and it’s easy to see how the hype has transferred from one to the other. The Nike Dunk is more or less the underrated cousin of the Air Jordan 1, and really had its moment when it was redesigned for skateboarding (hence the SB).
Nike SB designers added a zoom air insole to absorb impact when skating, and fattened up the sneakers’ tongue for maximum cushioning. Initially, it was taboo for skateboarders to skate in Nikes, and Nike VP of Special Projects Sandy Bodecker took a grassroots approach to pitching the SBs to the skateboarding community. Bodecker road-tripped with pro skater Reese Forbes, visiting skate shops to demonstrate Nike’s commitment to skateboarding. This laid the groundwork for Nike SB Dunks as a true skateboarder’s shoe, and finally gave the company the legitimacy as a skateboarding brand that had eluded them for so long.
What You Should Sell Now: Nike SB Dunks are coveted because they laid the foundation for the sneaker resale market as we know it today. These sneakers are from a time before sneakers were mainstream. Nike SBs taught Nike the importance of well-executed storytelling through design and the power of limiting stock, a strategy that has propelled Nike to global footwear domination. The demand for SB Dunks has also increased demand for Nike Dunks, and vintage pairs are still wearable and highly sought-after. True sneakerheads have begun to gravitate towards more niche, harder-to-find pairs that require knowledge and effort to obtain. The styles featured here — the UNKLE, Supreme x Nike SB Dunk 2002 and the Heineken — are particularly rare, contributing to incredibly high resale prices (and payouts).
The Nike SB Dunk UNKLE is a collaboration between Nike SB, Mo’ Wax record label trip hop group UNKLE and their visual director, legendary graffiti artist Futura 2000. This collaboration is a perfect example of how Nike SB brought music and art together on a sneaker. The appeal comes from its iconic black and pink colorway, and Futura’s artwork is featured heavily on the sneakers’ upper. Depending on size, this sneaker can resell on average between $2,200 and $3,000.
The Supreme x Nike SB Dunk Low, which released in 2002, was Nike SB’s monumental first collaboration, alongside Chocolate and Zoo York. It was heavily inspired by the Air Jordan 3, and, though the price fluctuates based on size and colorway, these can resell for up to $5,000.
If you’ve got the controversial 2003 Nike SB Dunk Low Heinekens in your collection, you may want to consider selling. These draw obvious inspiration from Heineken beer bottles, but it was never an official collaboration, forcing Nike to halt production due to legal issues. There are rumored to be 4,000 pairs in existence and they can resell for upwards of $2,000.
How To Spot The Real Deal: On older styles of authentic Nike Dunk SBs, the production date on size tags should touch the barcode above it.
Recommended Reading: Discover how TRR sneaker expert Sean Conway kickstarted his collection of kicks with a pair of Dunks.
1. Nike Air Jordan 1
The Resale Stats: The Nike Air Jordan 1 comes in first place, holding an average resale value up to 1,816%. It may come as no surprise that it’s the Off-White x Nike The Ten: Air Jordan 1 Retro High Sneakers securing the spot as most valuable sneaker in the resale market.
The Story Behind The Style: The Air Jordan 1 has been the most popular sneaker on the market for years now. Its minimal design makes it the perfect canvas for a never-ending variety of color combinations and has allowed it to transcend its original purpose as a basketball shoe. Its legend is only enhanced by the fact that this was the first sneaker to be sported by the greatest player of all time, Michael Jordan. The Air Jordan 1 is also the only Air Jordan sneaker from that era that is still wearable due to its rubber midsole, which never deteriorates. This was essentially the sneaker that started sneaker culture.
If the Air Jordan 1 is the most in-demand sneaker on the market, the Off White x Nike Air Jordan 1 Chicago would be the most coveted rendition among all Air Jordans. In 2017, Virgil Abloh’s collaborative “The Ten” project with Nike redefined the sneaker world by further blurring the lines between streetwear and luxury. The project saw him reinterpret 10 of Nike’s most iconic sneakers through his signature architectural lens. Virgil deconstructed the sneaker, highlighting elements of the shoe which would normally be hidden by design and applying a DIY aesthetic to reveal its interior.
Virgil’s choice of the iconic Jordan 1 “Chicago” colorway was an obvious nod to his hometown. This colorway holds weight within the sneaker community as well, since it was one of the original colorways Michael Jordan wore during his rookie season in the NBA. Multiple pairs from “The Ten” such as the Presto, Blazer, and VaporMax performed well on the secondary market, but the Air Jordan 1 commanded the highest resale prices, reselling for an average of $1,500 right after its release and has continued to rise.
What You Should Sell Now: Virgil Abloh’s appointment as Creative Director of Louis Vuitton and the overall popularity of Off-White have also added value to the Off-White x Nike collaboration. The resale price and value of the Off-White x Nike Air Jordan 1 will only continue to rise as pairs come off the market; you could sell now and earn thousands, or wait to see what they’re worth next year.
Travis Scott put his spin on the Jordan 1 Low with his signature earth tones and backwards swoosh, and similarly to his Air Force 1 design, the Travis Scott Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro Low is extremely coveted in the resale market. These can resell for anywhere from $800 to $1,200.
“The Last Dance” docu-series has increased demand and resale value for original colorways and models that Michael Jordan wore while playing for the Chicago Bulls. Since the series began in April, the average selling price for Jordans on TRR has increased 53% weekly. The sought-after Nike Air Jordan 1 Black Toe style was one of Michael Jordan’s first signature sneakers. A high-top defined by its white, black and red colorway, the Black Toe has been reimagined for other releases with other pops of color subbing in for the Chicago red. One example is the Nike Air Jordan 1 High Retro Igloo/Rust Pink release, a limited-edition drop from Art Basel in 2017. The pastel palette evoked the streets and Art Deco heritage of Miami, and are some of the most expensive Air Jordan 1s on the market. These can resell for anywhere from $4,000 to $8,000.
How To Spot The Real Deal: On an authentic Nike Air Jordan 1, the Wings logo at the ankle collar of the sneaker should be precisely 22mm in height and 55mm in width. Also, make sure the R and the D in Jordan are connected; counterfeiters will often miss this detail.
Recommended Reading: Still not sure if your Off-White x Nike Jordans are authentic? Inspect your pair carefully with the help of TRR Sneaker & Streetwear Valuation Manager Steven Pinkerton’s expert insights.
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.
*Earn 80% of the selling price when you consign men’s sneakers with a list price of $195 or more. Commission rates subject to change at any time.