What Do You Think?: Rising Prices of Sneakers

April 25th, 2013 by

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It’s tough being a sneakerhead these days. So many great sneakers release every weekend, but the issue at hand isn’t the overwhelming variety of available options, but the rising costs that have steadily risen over the last few years. Obviously, inflation plays a role in the economy as a whole, but these rising costs of what are generally “unessential” purchases have us thinking about the future of sneaker commerce and the direction of the “sneakerhead” movement as a whole. Will sneaker prices continue to rise? Read on below for tonight’s “What Do You Think” discussion topic and leave your opinions.

Sneakers have been around since the beginning of the 20th century, but since the original days of the Chuck Taylor, several footwear brands have emerged and made firm names for themselves in the industry with refreshing design and futuristic concepts. Since the days of basic rubber and canvas,  brands have branched out to pumps, air bags, built-in pedometers, and other interesting and somewhat gimmicky advancements, and consumers have used these attractive features as excuses to spend considerable amounts on sneakers that continually rise in price. We can argue that shoes are so advanced in design that creating an intricate outsole or an air pump-infused tongue requires more of a financial investment by the manufacturer, causing MSRPs to go up as well. Manufacturing costs as a whole – shipment, production, distribution – have all risen in tandem over the years, so consequently the consumer is the one left to cover the bill. Perhaps these brands have gone maybe a bit too far with superfluous technology in sneakers, causing prices to skyrocket to unnecessary levels. Even Retro models like the Air Jordan continue to its way up the price charts, even though production of Retros are more cost-effective in comparison to new models.

But are consumer trends the cause of these rising prices? The age-old relation between supply and demand certainly bodes true in the case of sneakers, and with the demand of high-profile sneaker releases still not met by the supply, perhaps sneaker brands are purposefully creeping up the slope to pricing levels that the public may still deem acceptable. But that’s only speaking on the retail sector, because sneakerheads are still out there hunting around for pairs after release dates and paying ridiculous after-market prices on high-profile sneakers that have doubled or tripled in price. Do you think there’s a tipping point where the consumer will finally be fed up and give up the game for good (or is that why the Roshe is so popular)? Will companies controlling the game continue to rise prices knowing that they’ll be “copped” anyway, and will other dormant brands return with Retro models to cash in on the sneaker craze? Or will there always be just enough breathing room for us to stay alive in the sneaker game? Let’s get the What Do You Think discussion on Rising Prices of Sneakers going in the comments section below.

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