If This Writing Thing Doesn’t Work Out, I’m Flipping Shoes for a Living

Illustration for article titled If This Writing Thing Doesn’t Work Out, I’m Flipping Shoes for a Living
Photo: Maja Hitij (Getty Images)

I’m not a sneakerhead in the conventional sense. I’ve never stood in a line in the cold (or hot, for that matter) for a crack at a shoe release. I’ve never entered a shoe raffle hoping to cop a pair of exclusives or waited up at night on the internet refreshing a page over and over hoping that my shopping cart would contain some shoes. I have only ever owned two pairs of Jordans in my entire life. I don’t even own any Supreme apparel, which means that I don’t have any coveted Supreme collabo shoe releases.


Naw. I just like shoes, and if I like a pair and they’re available, I get them. While I’m not a sneakerhead, I do have a lot of pairs of shoes, including some exclusives, and have dabbled in the world of high-end shoes as well.

I constantly look at Stadium Goods and StockX for prices that I can justify to the missus for semifrozen yellow Yeezys (because I really like them) or some Off-White x Nike “The Ten” Collection Retro Jordan 1s. Neither has come down to a price I feel comfortable paying. Now, I have spent a grip on some shoes, though. I’ve always loved Pharrell Williams’ collab with Adidas, and those yellow “Human Race” NMDs? En fuego.

So one day last summer, I ponied up some money and got myself a late birthday AND early Christmas present and ordered them off. I paid just under (gulp) $500 for them, but they’re exclusives and I really, really wanted them.

I tracked those shoes like a bloodhound, and the day they arrived, I was attending a Goodman League game at Barry Farms in Washington, D.C. When I got the notification that they were at the door, I called and texted, making sure SOMEBODY in the house got my shoes. Jubilation. I put them on, and I can’t verify this with science, but I’m pretty sure I heard angels sing. I carefully placed them back in the box and proceeded to wear them, like, three times since.

While I buy my shoes to wear them, I can’t pretend that spending so much money for them doesn’t make me more careful and less likely to wear them frequently. Which is a good thing because I recently looked up how much it would cost to cop a pair of the same yellow shoes in a size 10, and well, it’s about $2,500 on average across various sites right now. Should I decide to sell those overpriced shoes, I could actually make money, to the tune of almost four times what I spent. Shut my mouth wide open and hold my mule; I just might be in the wrong business.

I was watching some YouTube video of some dude whose name escapes me who I think buys and sells shoes for a living. He flips shoes like folks flip houses. Is he making $50,000-plus for a shoe? No. But if he’s spending $500 for a pair of shoes that he manages to sell for $1,000 and does this several times a week—which is totally possible depending on what the market is doing—he could make enough to get by and put “sneaker flipper” on his tax forms. I’m assuming that’s 1099 work.


Seeing how much my yellow “Human Race” joints are worth has me seriously considering hopping into the sneaker resale market. I’m constantly looking at shoes I want, but the truth is, I should be looking at shoes other people want. For instance, I didn’t buy the Off-White Jordan 1s because they were, like, $1,200 when I was considering them. Now? $2,800. That is a RIDICULOUS amount to pay for shoes, but I think it was philosopher king Lil Wayne who once quipped that “It ain’t trickin’ if you got it.” I could have made some serious guap.

Now, of course, with any investment proposition, the high reward comes with significant risk. What if I buy some shoes that I can never move? Then I’m out whatever I spent on shoes I probably can’t wear—investing means I’m copping some available shoes, not necessarily my size—and praying that I can at least break even on shoes that cost too much to begin with. I believe the scientific term for this is “ass out.” Plus, I’d have to spend a significant amount of time studying the shoe market and staying up on releases and trying to cop for retail price AND keeping the receipt so folks know I’m sending them official dead-stock merchandise. Keeping the receipt alone is labor for me.


But the allure is there. I have no idea if the sneaker market is a bubble; why anybody not rich would spend $3,000 for a pair of tennis shoes is beyond me. But clearly the market exists for certain shoes like that. I have at least four pairs of shoes right now that I could make money off of, to the tune of at least $300 per shoe if I wanted to sell them.

All I know is that if this writing thing ever goes south, I’m not going back to the feds. I’m heading straight to my sneaker racks and trying my luck on the market.


And if you need a pair of almost mint condition Adidas NMD “Human Race” yellow joints and have money burning a hole in your pocket, holler at me.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.



Can we talk about speculative bubbles and my comic book collection?