If there’s one thing sneakerheads like more than copping rare and select shoes, it’s getting them for below retail price. Nothing is truly sweeter than the satisfaction of getting your grails for less than their original price.
While that seems like an impossible task, one San Francisco Bay Area sneaker store is doing its best to bring hyped-up and low-key kicks to the people, for the people. Sole Supremacy of Newark, Calif., operates a physical and online shop but also hosts eBay auctions where every shoe it posts for auction starts at $0.99.
Here’s how it works: Sole Supremacy buys sneaker collections in bulk from sneakerheads looking to flip their stash for a quick buyout. Every used shoe is posted on eBay, where the users who bid during the biweekly auctions decide their value.
From Yeezys to Jordans and every shoe in between, the price starts at $0.99 and slowly moves up according to the bidding. “All of our worn shoes go to eBay, but we also post new shoes on eBay which are shoes that we do not think have a good chance to move on our web shop in a solid amount of time, just because the market has changed,” said Sole Supremacy owner and founder Derek Lew.
In what is like a stock market for sneakers, the consumers determine the value instead of the hype from major sneaker brands. Shoes that get overpriced and overvalued at major reselling marketplaces are humbled drastically, and the true value of the shoe is revealed, to the advantage of the consumer. “Everyone values a worn shoe differently, and there is no consensus of what a worn shoe is worth. I do not think there is a correct method to determine how much a worn shoe is worth, because everyone’s opinion is different,” said Lew.
Sole Supremacy has been a Bay Area landmark for about 10 years and stakes its success on its trust and reputation with customers throughout the years.
With web shops popping up left and right, looking only to quickly flip kicks, Sole Supremacy has kept its head afloat in a competitive marketplace through its customer relationships. “It has a lot to do with reputation and trust. There are new shops popping up every month, and there are shops that close yearly, and some of the shops that close have done people wrong. I think our reputation of having been around for so long and being a trusted source is important. It is so hard to gain a following and to gain an audience that trusts you because there are so many options, but I think starting before the hype and because we have been in this ‘game’ for so long, I think that’s just a competitive edge where people know our name and know to go to us,” said Lew.
The store carries a regular stock of new kicks, which it sells online and in-store. It also offers members of the “Sole Steals” program the retail value of shoes along with a membership fee. Sole Supremacy also sells thoroughly-used shoes in “beater boxes,” where sneakerheads can get several pairs of used shoes for one flat price.