A self-professed “sneaker geek” has shared the top 10 classics to flip if you want to make a fortune and which styles to invest in now to make money in a few years.
Entrepreneur Zach Berkowitz first fell in love with the shoes in middle school buying his first pair of Nike Dunk Low’s, worth $300 – and now has a wardrobe chock-full of the finest trainers money can buy.
It’s not just a personal obsession but also a clever investment; unlike other retail goods, sneakers are one of very few products that can increase heavily in price over time – if you choose the right brand and style.
“Sneakers are an interesting asset class because supply decreases over time as some of the shoes are worn, creating a scarcity effect that results in increasing prices as years go by after a release,” Zach, who is the co-founder of New Jersey sneaker brand High Fidelity told JamPrime.com.
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“The re-sell market is currently recovering after what can be called a bubble in 2020 and 2021.
“So, if you own a pair of original Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro Chicagos you could be sitting on, or standing on, a small fortune.
“Now is a good time to invest as prices are no longer inflated.”
Zach’s love of trainers began when he was just a young boy.
He said: “I had always been interested in all the different styles and colorways but couldn’t afford any shoes at the time.
“When I got my first pair of Nike Tiffany SBs after working hard and saving up money to buy them, I wore them a few times and then put them on display in my room because I loved them so much.
“To date I have spent around $5,000 on my personal collection.
“Most of the shoes I got at the all-time low price and now have a much higher market value.”
Globally, the sneaker resale market is valued between $5-$7bn (USD) and is growing every year.
Zach has designed a ‘Footsie Index’, a guide to the retro items all but guaranteed to re-sell for a nice sum.
Surprisingly, the top 10 list is dominated by one brand: Nike.
He said: “Nike is dominating the market due to its long history in the sneaker industry, as the market today is highly amenable to classic/retro styles.
“Nike has 40 years of releases it can remix and re-release.
”The brand also had first mover advantage partnering with Michael Jordan, whose sneakers continue to command the highest degree of brand loyalty.”
The resale value is judged by the brand and style, as well as colouring and even size.
Zach said: “Last year, we were seeing more and more customers looking for classic colorways.
“Obviously new styles sell well but sales of classics have been the strongest for some time.
“The new styles that sell the best tend to be colorways that resemble original retro styles.
“Often the bigger the size, the more they [the trainers] will be worth, as there is more demand and a short supply in the most common larger sizes.
“However, with the reopening of the Asian economies as pandemic restrictions cease, smaller sizes could see appreciation as Asian consumers tend to have smaller feet.
“So with some styles, where an eight or nine in some of these styles are around the $500 mark, the bigger ones can go for over $1,000.”
The Chicago is the most well-recognised colorway of the Air Jordan 1 sneaker, having caused controversy when it first launched in 1985.
They were quickly banned by the National Basketball Association (NBA), which issued a hefty fine each time they were worn on court due to their predominantly red and black colouring, which breached league policy.
Zach said: “Even some of the less popular Air Jordans which have come out over the last five or six years have doubled or more in value.
“For example, the AJ1 Twist Women’s traded for around the retail price of $160 for months after its 2019 release.
“Now the sneaker trades at close to $1,000.
“Even if you get in on a re-release of a classic style like the Air Jordan 1 Chicago’s at a good price, you can make a quick buck flipping the sneaker instantly or hold out for a few years for a much bigger return on your investment.
“The AJ1 Chicago Lost & Founds, which is more or less a November 2022 re-release of the original AJ1 Chicago, retailed at $180, instantly skyrocketed to $340 on the secondary market upon release, and is currently trading at around $450 a pair.”
Zach launched High Fidelity in May 2021 with business partner Mark Chesler, now running two stores and a warehouse.
Mark added: “My philosophy as an entrepreneur was to pick a high-growth, dynamic industry you love and establish a business however you can.
“This sneaker journey has been a lifelong passion for me.
I am extremely grateful that I have been able to turn something I love into a successful business.
“Work doesn’t feel like work, and I look forward to stepping into the warehouse every day.”
TOP 10 CLASSIC SNEAKERS TO RESELL
- Nike Air Jordan 1 Royal - A pair bought for $160 in 2017 are now worth $450
- Nike Air Jordan 1 Bred - A pair bought for $375 in 2016 are now worth $750
- Nike Air Jordan 3 White Cement - A pair bought for $180 in 2018 are now worth $600
- Nike Air Jordan 3 Black Cement - A pair bought for $200 in 2018 are now worth $450
- Nike Air Jordan 4 Retro Bred - A pair bought for $200 in 2019 are now worth $500
- Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro Chicago - A pair bought for $160 in 2015 are now worth $1300
- Nike Air Jordan 11 Retro Space Jam - A pair bought for $220 in 2016 are now worth $600 (with bigger sizes worth $1,000 - $2,000)
- Nike Air Jordan 5 Retro Black Metallic - A pair bought for $220 in 2016 are now worth $475
- Nike Air Jordan 11 Retro Cool Grey - A pair bought for $275 in 2021 are now worth $400 plus
- Nike Air Jordan 11 Retro Bred - A pair bought for $220 in 2019 are now worth $500
As well as revealing up-to-date prices on the biggest classics, Zach and his team at High Fidelity have put together a guide for first-time investors.
The following trainers are on shelves now and expected to soar in value, becoming the next collector’s item.
- Nike Dunk Low SB Concepts Orange Lobsters Regular Box - $450 to $900
- Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG Chicago Lost and Found - $375 to $650
- Nike Air Jordan 3 Retro Reimagined - $400 to $800
- Nike Air Jordan 4 Military black Retro (GS) - $225 to $400
- Nike Air Jordan 1 Light Smoke grey mid men’s - $150 to $400
- Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro High 85’ Black / White - $225 to $400
- Nike Air Jordan 3 Jordan Retro Fire Red - $200 to $400
- Nike Air Jordan 1 Low Aluminium (w) - $130 to $375
- Nike Air Jordan 1 Low Green Toe - $120 to $350
- Nike Dunk Low Triple Pink (GS) - $100 to $400
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