Sneaker Fans Are Not OK With This Reseller’s $1 Billion Valuation – Here’s Why

By GQ
27 June 2019
StockX, Sneakers, Nike
Are we slowly being priced out of sneaker culture?

On June 26, it was announced that StockX, an online sneaker resale platform, had just secured a further $110 million USD in funding, which values the company at a neat $1 billion.

For those of you who don’t orbit in sneaker resale Internet-circles, StockX is a marketplace for sneakers and streetwear that describes itself as “a stock market of things.”

The platform was founded by Josh Luber, a former consultant who was also behind Campless, a site that launched back in 2012 to track the resale prices of sneakers on eBay, back when it was the pantheon of professional sneaker flipping.

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Big day at @StockX. New round, new valuation ($1B wtf), new @nytimes feature (link in bio) and, most importantly, new leader. Excited to welcome @cutlersr as our new CEO, joining @greglschwartz @cavsdan and I to continue building what we started just over 3 years ago. I’ve known Scott since the very beginning. He’s been an investor, friend, advisor and mentor, and now I’m proud to call him colleague. My title is changing (to simply ‘co-founder’) but I’m not going anywhere and don’t expect my job will change much at all. I’ll still be out there spreading the @stockx word, explaining why a ‘stock market of things’ is the future of all e-commerce, doubling down on work with brands and looking for more crazy projects that they only let me do. While it still feels like it’s ‘day zero’ around here - everyone’s doing 7 jobs; so much to do; so much opportunity in front of us - there are over 800 @stockx team members who got us here, plus dozens of investors and business partners and friends and family ( @patacamuzzi) who have supported us, and continue to support us. This is the definition of a team win, and the team is also just beginning. Full speed ahead.

A post shared by Josh Luber (@jluber31) on

It’s a whopping sum, especially when you consider what StockX is trading in: used sneakers. And veterans of the culture – those who were around way before Yeezy’s were a figure of Kanye’s imagination – have hit out at the news, labelling it a further blow for the authenticity of the scene. Or what’s left of it, rather.

“It's like so strange to see something that's so common (urban wear) became mainstream. And to have it presented as novel,” wrote a commenter who goes by the username ‘gdf’ on the New York Times’ story about StockX’s valuation.

“There are people who collect sneakers folks and these guys aren't geniuses for facilitating the process, just super privileged.” And gdf isn’t the only one who feels this way.

“Maybe all y’all just don’t understand the cultural phenomenon of sneakerheads. This isn’t some recent thing - it started back in the 80s. There are songs about collecting rare sneakers, for Pete’s sake,” points out Heather W, rather endearingly.

It raises the question: is StockX’s valuation – and the rising success of fellow commercial platforms like GOAT and Stadium Goods – a win or a loss for sneaker enthusiasts?

It’s certainly symptomatic of the consumerist culture we live in – one where it’s not outrageous for a pair of pre-worn Jordan Kobe’s to fetch upward of $70,000. And while Luber says he’s creating a platform where sneaker enthusiasts can trade freely and safely, his ultimate vision for StockX – where static retail prices are replaced with a stock market style shopping – could fuel further inflation.

“It’s not going to be an overnight thing, but it is absolutely logical,” Luber told the NYT of his plan to disrupt the game.

According to US investment bank Cowen, the American sneaker resale market is currently worth $2 billion, and is expected to rise to $6 billion by 2025. And for as long as players like Luber – and his newly appointed CEO, former eBay and StubHub employee Scott Cutler – have skin in the game, things are only bound to get more interesting.

Until then, best pull the trigger on those grails, before you become priced out for good.

Words: Amy Campbell