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How to Become a Successful Shoe Reseller in 2023


Did you know the global footwear market was worth $387.74 billion in 2022? Come 2029, experts forecast it to reach $543.90 billion!

The U.S. accounts for a massive chunk of that market, especially the sneaker sector. Indeed, about a third of its $80 billion footwear market comes from athletic shoes. It is, after all, the birthplace of Nike and Sketchers, some of the world’s most popular sneaker brands.

That’s also why shoe reselling in the U.S. is big business. So if you’re looking to side hustle, you best learn how to become a shoe reseller.

This guide covers the most crucial facts about making money flipping shoes, so read on.

Understand the Basics of Reselling

Reselling involves buying products from manufacturers, retailers, or other private sellers. Resellers then sell these items to their clients (other consumers) at a marked-up price.

You might wonder why shoppers would even be willing to pay a higher resale price.

For shoe buyers, one reason is that a pair they want is no longer available. An example is a limited edition that has stopped production, like the Nike Dunk High Wu-Tang (1999). Nike doesn’t make them anymore, but some people may still own a pair, such as collectors willing to sell them.

Another reason is that the shoe model shoppers want has and will never be available in their area. These include people in countries where the products haven’t reached their market. However, they may have seen photos or videos online and have fallen in love with it.

In other cases, the specific model buyers want is out of stock, but the restock date is unknown. Limited edition releases still in production may fall into this class.

Those are the people you want to target as your potential customers. However, while you should prioritize what they want, you also need to make some decisions on your own.

An example is when you feel a specific model still in production has unrecognized value. If so, consider investing in it now and wait for its value to appreciate. If it does, you can resell it for a profit.

Prepare a Budget

Your startup budget depends mainly on the type of shoes you want to resell. Sneakers are among your best bet, as almost everyone uses them, so they’re in high demand.

The average sneaker prices range between $70 and $250 a pair. The ones on the higher end typically have a higher resale value.

You can always start with just a few hundred dollars to purchase one or two shoes to resell. If you’re successful, you can reinvest your capital and some of your profits. This way, you can keep buying, reselling, and growing your business and clientele.

However, remember that, as a startup reseller, you may also need money for the following:

  • Reseller’s permit
  • Business registration
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Setting up an e-commerce store or website
  • Applicable business insurance

Factoring in those other costs, the ideal startup budget is around a few thousand dollars. If you’re tech-savvy, you can build your first e-store or site the DIY way to cut costs. Then, once you make more profits, you can hire an expert to create your professional website.

Check Your State Laws

In many U.S. states, a reseller’s permit allows resellers to do business without paying sales tax. After all, the resellers won’t use those items for personal consumption.

Instead, the buyers who intend to use the products themselves would likely pay for the sales tax. You, the reseller, may have to collect that tax from them and remit it to your state.

However, that exemption doesn’t apply to all out-of-state sales made by resellers. So, check the laws in your state and those you plan to purchase shoes to resell from.

You may also have to deal with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). An example is if any of your customers pay you using their credit or debit cards. Another is if you get over $600 in payments through an online marketplace or a payment app.

Know the Lingo

You don’t have to be a collector to resell shoes, but you have to talk their talk. If you don’t know the lingo, you won’t know what your customers want, much less get them to buy from you.

So before you enter the shoe business, delve into the history of the most popular brands. For sneakers, these include Nike, Adidas, Puma, Skechers, New Balance, and Burberry, to name a few.

Next, research each shoe brand to learn about its top-selling shoe models. This can also give you an idea of which products interest you the most. Your interest is just as vital; if you don’t like them, you’ll unlikely have the enthusiasm to resell them.

Suppose you’d like to start with Nike, which is an excellent choice, as most people recognize its name. Forbes has also ranked it the world’s 13th most valuable brand. By contrast, Adidas, the 2nd most popular sneaker brand, got 51st in Forbes’ ranking.

In that case, your next move should be to learn about Nike’s best shoes to resell. You can start by checking out the models of the Nike Air Max found here. Air Jordans are another, and so are Nike Dunks.

Sign Up With Your Preferred Brands

Once you’ve decided on the first few brands you’d like to resell, sign up for their membership. Don’t worry about paying since most top shoe brands, such as Nike and Adidas, offer it for free.

One of the primary reasons to join your brand’s club is to gain first-hand access to their latest news. These include teasers about their newest models, limited editions, and release dates. Knowing this beforehand allows you to prepare to grab pairs once they drop.

Members also usually get exclusive early access to the latest drops. You must take advantage of this; most resellers profit from these products.

Most clubs also give you access to member-only products. So unless you join the community, you won’t get to buy and resell these items.

As a new member, you’ll likely get a special discount for joining, too. For example, Nike offers a 10% discount to new members they can apply to their first purchase. Adidas also offers a 15% discount its new members can use on their first orders.

Membership gives you access to other perks, such as free delivery, usually on all orders. You can also enjoy member-exclusive sales and priority access. You can even get rewards and freebies just for ordering stuff from them!

Follow the News

To be a successful shoe reseller this 2023 and beyond, you must stay updated on the latest trends. One reason is that, while primarily functional, shoes are still fashion items. Fashion is ever-evolving, so you risk becoming outdated if you don’t know how it’s changing.

Fortunately, you have many other sources aside from your club membership.

Facebook Sneaker Groups

These groups are more of a community of sneakerheads than a marketplace. Their members are passionate about sneakers and are true OGs. Many have even been sneaker buffs before the resale industry boomed.

As a newbie to the sneaker industry, these groups are valuable sources of information. You can learn more about various brands, including their history, from their members.

Pay particular attention to their critical evaluations of the latest and future releases. These can help you gauge how likely these new products will resell.

Twitter (X)

Twitter, now known as X, is another platform you should join as a would-be shoe reseller. It can help you stay updated on the latest deets on shoe models, releases, and restocks. You can also find veteran resellers offering valuable tips for newbies like yourself.

If you plan to resell sneakers, follow the account @SneakerNews. It’s among the top sources of information for previews and release dates. It also provides insightful tips to help sneaker buyers make the right purchases.


Reddit is a social news aggregation and discussion website. You can find collectors and sneakerheads debating OG, current, and future releases here. That makes this platform one of the best places to get closer to your target market.

One subreddit you should join is r/Sneakers, a community of sneaker lovers. It has 3.5 million members, many of whom will likely have tips for you as a reseller.

You can also find r/Sneakers members asking for opinions. For example, they may post something like, “What do you think of the new Yeezee?” Follow such or similar threads to see what makes your target market tick.

Other Resellers

Other shoe resellers are your direct competitors. Some have been in the industry for years, making them a perfect learning source for you, a newbie.

Look at their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts to see what they sell. Check what they’ve sold and the number of sales they’ve made on specific models. All that can give you an idea of what to resell yourself.

You should also visit their websites for inspiration on what to do with yours.

Check your competitors’ reviews, too. Find out what customers like about them, and then implement the same in your business. Likewise, look for complaints (e.g., slow shipping), and avoid doing the same to keep your clients happy.

Protect Yourself From Scammers

Since shoe reselling is, for the most part, online, be careful of Internet scams. These are prevalent, with the FBI saying it caused an estimated $10.3 billion in losses in 2022 alone. If you fall victim to these crimes, you could lose profits and may even get your identity stolen.

Here’s how to protect yourself from such devastating events.

Always Check the URL

Just because you tried to go to the Nike website doesn’t mean you are on it. A criminal may have targeted and redirected you to a fake website. This malicious action is what you call “pharming.”

Pharming, a portmanteau of phishing and farming, is a social engineering attack. It usually starts with a phishing email made to look like it came from a legitimate company. It contains a link that, when clicked, opens the user’s device to malware.

That malware could then alter the user’s browser functions and cause it to redirect.

What makes pharming so dangerous is that it only changes the URL slightly, such as a single letter. For example, Nike.com may become N1ke.com, Amazon.com to Amaz0n.com, or Adidas.com to Ad1das.com. If you fail to spot that and place an order with your debit card on the spoofed site, you can say goodbye to your money.

Worse, the criminal may steal your debit card information and drain it off your savings. If you use a credit card, they can use your available credit limit.

So when shopping for your inventory online, please always check the URL. Ensure the spelling is correct, especially on the payment page.

Verify Your Prospective Sources

If you’re buying from a third party or private seller, do a background check on them first.

For example, you should visit every seller’s profile page you find on Facebook and wish to buy shoes from. If it’s a business, it should have a business account open to the public. You should also check the reviews to learn if anyone has complained about their products.

Don’t buy from that seller if you see complaints about counterfeit products. Also, avoid those with many past customers complaining about not getting refunds.

Ask For Proof of Purchase

Reputable sellers selling pre-owned but unused items would always provide proof of purchase. So if this isn’t in the photos, ask the seller to show it to you. This document can help you verify the product’s authenticity.

A receipt isn’t always available for older models, especially shoes bought years ago. If you’re buying one, ask the seller if it still has the original box. If so, check the SKU number on the label inside both shoes and the packaging.

All three SKU numbers should match. If they don’t, chances are you’re looking at a counterfeit pair.

That’s How to Become a Shoe Reseller

Now that you know how to become a shoe reseller and what it entails, it’s time to decide if it’s a good route for you. It is if you like shoes, have a knack for recognizing value, and love hunting for good deals. Plus, it only requires a small capital, letting you open a shop with only $1,000 or less.

If that sounds like your kind of hustle, then follow our tips so you can start your reselling journey.

For more guides like this, browse our latest articles on business and finance!


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1 Comment
  1. TOBYS - MARTIN says

    Thanks for the great information. I learned a lot from your article about shoe reseller

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