Behind the Scenes of the Growing Sneaker Reseller Market

Posted on


Have you ever tried to get your hands on a brand new, limited edition set of sneakers? Anyone who’s gone through that will usually tell you that it’s practically impossible unless you have “insider connections”. But what are those connections exactly? As it turns out, that’s not quite true. You should, however, give up any hope of acquiring exclusive sneakers or other similarly limited items if you don’t have significant tech experience. There’s a whole underground market for sneaker resellers that’s been growing fast, and you might be surprised to know that it’s not run by organized criminals or anything close to that. Rather, it consists mostly of geeks typing away at their keyboards, running customized scripts and bots, investing in proxies, and exchanging ideas in invite-only forums.

Evading Restrictions

One of the most common problems faced by resellers is that site owners are actively looking to identify and ban them. You might think that a company would actually be happy with the idea of their stock selling out almost immediately. But as we saw with recent events like the PS5 launch, major companies stand to take a severe hit to their reputation by letting these activities go uncontrolled. That’s why the restrictions around this market have been tightening. There is still a lot one could do to remain undetected though. How do proxies work for sneakers resellers? They typically use a rotating list of proxies that allow them to constantly attempt to buy from certain sites without getting banned or otherwise restricted in their activities – check out this article if you’re curious about how that works. Well-written bots will also randomize various aspects of their activity, like pretending to use different browsers and operating systems.

The Concept Itself Isn’t New

The general idea is more commonly known as scalping. It refers to purchasing exclusive items and reselling them at an inflated price, typically relying on the initial manufacturer’s stock to run out fast. The idea arose around event tickets, but in the modern world, it’s expanded to various types of products. Sneakers are just one example. If you’ve tried to get the PlayStation 5 soon after its release, or the new Nvidia RTX 30xx graphics cards, you’ve probably encountered a similar situation. Resellers work around the clock to buy out all the new stock as it becomes available, only to turn around and immediately resell it for a nice profit. Sometimes they charge as much as 2-3 times the original value and still have plenty of people lined up to buy from them.

It’s Harder Than It Looks

You might already be seeing dollar signs from reading this. But if you’re interested in becoming a reseller, especially in a market as populated as the one for sneakers, you have a lot of learning to do. Mostly, you will need some in-depth technical skills. Resellers don’t do their work manually for the most part. They rely on bots, which constantly roam specific sites waiting for them to restock, and then automate the process of adding an item to the cart and proceeding to the checkout. With a well-designed system, all a reseller has to do is keep an eye out for the occasional captcha and leave their bots to do the heavy lifting.

Technical Requirements

While it’s possible to buy a premade bot and tweak it to your needs, it’s often not the ideal way to go about this. The best and most successful resellers are the ones that write their own tools to do the job. This combines multiple fields – web development, security, server hosting, and more. You will also need a good proxy – or several – to ensure that you don’t hit certain limitations (more on that below). Last but not least, you’ll want to find your way into some exclusive forums and Discord servers. This will allow you to keep an eye on the community and stay up to date on new developments.

What the Future Looks Like

With attention towards the reseller market growing fast, many members of those communities have started to worry about their future prospects. It’s becoming clear that companies don’t want to associate with resellers, and many of them have already started to impose severe restrictions on who can buy new stock. Sometimes you might have to prove your identity because an item will be restricted to one purchase per customer only. And while changing an IP address is easy enough, identity fraud is on an entirely different level and it’s something that most sane people don’t want to touch.

Is It Too Late to Get in?

With all that in mind, if you’re looking to get into that market, you still have the option to do so. But keep in mind that you’ll be facing an increasingly more challenging battle. You’ll also have to go against people with significantly more experience than you. When you’re trying to purchase an exclusive, limited item, you’re actively fighting against other resellers trying to do the same. You will need strong technical aptitude just as a baseline for getting started. And from then on, it will be quite important how good you are at seeking out information and staying up to date on new developments.

As it turns out, the most successful thugs on the internet aren’t your typical criminal types. They are people who understand technology better than most of their peers and know how to put various pieces together to further their own goals. There has been a lot of discussion about whether or not the activities of resellers are ethical, but in the end, one can’t help but admire their abilities and determination.


Avatar photo

Written by Lola McQuenzie

Lola is one of our busiest writer. She has worked for Catwalk Yourself since 2007. Lola started working with us after she graduating from Central St Martins

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *