“They exist because they know there are people who will pay top dollar for the sneakers they want,” said one shoe collector.

Just as brokers snatch up concert tickets and resell them for exorbitant prices, sneaker resellers have created a niche corner of the sneaker industry.

The U.S. sneaker resale market generated $2 billion in 2019, according to a 2020 Cowan Research Equity study, which also indicated that the sneaker resale business will explode and generate up to $30 billion by 2030.

“I can’t be mad at them,” said Jennifer Ford, the owner of the sneaker boutique Premium Goods in the Rice Village section of Houston. “A shoe would come out on a Monday and I’d leave my store on Friday and there would already be some guys standing in line for the Monday release. I understand the demand. But I think all owners would like the shoes to go to those who want them for themselves, not to resell.”

Kobia Redd, 23, from Boston, hopes to open a shoe retail store one day. In the meantime, he has become a sneaker reseller. Before the pandemic, on the first day primo sneakers were released, Redd said he would hire “three or four people” to stand in line at stores for hours to buy the hottest shoes, which usually are produced in small quantities, making them ideal to sell at a higher price.

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