Many people will remember when playground credibility depended heavily upon the trainers one was wearing. Nikes were always at the top of the pecking order of cool, particularly from the Air Max range, while M&S own brand offerings were never likely to meet with much peer approval (now no longer the case thanks to the pair of trainers in Alexa Chung’s recent collection for the British store). However, few people would have imagined that a childhood obsession would one day become a viable alternative financial investment offering. But, along with fine wines, vintage whiskeys and original Star Wars toys, rare trainers (or, to use the US term, sneakers) are increasingly big business. One only has to look at the hoopla surrounding Kanye West’s Yeezy collection for Adidas to realise trainers have gone far beyond their original leisure wear purpose.


Nowhere is this more apparent than the website StockX which, on first glance, looks like any other financial website containing information on stocks and shares. However, this resource has financial backing from the likes of Eminem and is more concerned with the fluctuating value of limited edition Futura designed Nike Dunkles, than the movement in oil prices. The site is used by people to keep track of the value of their trainer collection on the secondary resale markets such as eBay, Gumtree or Facebook. As the Guardian newspaper reported recently, one user has amassed a collection (or portfolio) worth more than $366,000 thanks to owning nearly 300 rare Nike Air Jordan trainers. StockX may have a heavy emphasis on trainers that are limited edition offerings but its popularity reflects the increasing seriousness of “sneakerheads” who search the globe for shoes that never made it to a high street.

Unlike shareholders, many sneakerheads don’t actually sell their assets, preferring instead to keep them “boxfresh”. Meanwhile, specialist shops like Size? and London’s sneakersnstuff have capitalised on the growing demand for rare, unusual and vintage trainers with the prices to match.  While it would be a major stretch to say that trainers will replace more traditional forms of investment, what once was a rather niche pastime continues to be more and more popular with those keen to make a profit. Now all Fashionista needs to do is find a couple of thousand pounds to justify an investment in the so called “banned” Nike Air Jordan high tops to make my 14 year old self incredibly envious.

By: Patrick Peake
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