Many times, we all have heart something about the launch of limited-edition sneakers by a famous brand, in this case by Nike. But, do we really know how the limited-edition sneakers market works? The limited-edition sneakers market consists of sneakers which are sold by classic traders, like Nike, but using a marketing strategy which makes these sneakers much more exclusives, unusual or unique. That strategy causes a huge social demand in the presence of a rare supply. It is a business model similar to the brand Supreme.
The social attention for this market was born in 1985, after the launch of the first Air Force 1 and later the Air Jordan 1. This is caused, firstly, by hip-hop culture which spread the way of dressing called streetwear. However, the limited-edition market transforms some designs of streetwear sneakers into a part of the luxury market. That is because of the exclusivity that these sneakers give to the buyer and the high price they can reach in the market.
Therefore, we find a fusion between two types of markets which seemed to be inconceivable. The designs that are usually sold in these limited-editions are created by collaborations between Nike and luxury brands or singers, reinventing traditional designs and, also, using materials which seem to be gold or silver. With all of this Nike gives the buyer exclusivity in exchange for a high price.
NIKE X OFF-WHITE
An example of these limited-edition sneakers by Nike, that caused an important media repercussion in the fashion world in 2017, was the collection Nike Off-White. This range was designed by the brand Off-White’s collection and current creative director for men’s collections of Louis Vuitton Virgil Abloh. Moreover, he is one of the most important mentors in the present fashion industry. The range consisted of the reinvention of ten traditional Nike designs by Abloh. The result was a limited-edition collection which had a lot of media coverage. Among these designs we clearly find the reinvention of the sneakers Air Force 1 and Air Jordan 1: Off-White x Nike Air Force 1 Volt and the Off-White x Nike Air Jordan 1.
The sneakers Off-White x Nike Air Jordan 1 were the most looked for and valued. Moreover, their current price exceeds 2.500 euros in the resale market. For its part, the Off-White x Nike Air Force 1 Volt also reached a really high price in the resale market because it exceeds 1.800 euros.
AIR JORDAN XXXI GOLD ALL STAR
Regarding to materials that seems to be gold or silver we find the sneakers Air Jordan XXXI Gold All Star. These sneakers were launched in 2017 in honour of ‘All Star Weekend’. Some sneaker designs were exhibited at the Jordan Brand’s pop-up shops in New Orleans for three days. Among these sneakers, the Air Jordan XXXI Metallic Gold stood out. These sneakers consist in the Air Jordan coloured in gold. This liberates them from visible seams and gives the sneakers the exclusivity that only gold can supply. Furthermore, we can find these sneakers in some resale websites, but its price exceeds at present 3.000 euros.
NIKE X DRAKE
Nevertheless, even though this design appears to be unheard of and unbeatable, it must be emphasised that it was superseded thanks to the singer Drake. The Canadian rapper proposed himself to design the most expensive sneakers of history when he started to collaborate with Air Jordan. The result was a pair of sneakers totally covered by solid gold which supplies 22 kilos to each shoe and a price around two million dollars.
NIKE X BIG BOI
However, Drake was not the only one who reinvented a Nike’s design and transformed it in a rare design and, moreover, a more expensive design. The rapper Big Boi, member of the hip-hop singer duo Outkast, reinvented the traditional Air Force 1. This design was not very special apart from having many real diamonds driven into the sneakers to reinvent the traditional design of AF1 and give them a price higher than 50.000 dollars.
Another popular case about limited-edition Air Force 1 sneakers is the Nike Entourage ‘Friends & Family’. The story behind these sneakers resides in the HBO series ‘Entourage’ as Nike made this design for the cast and also for their friends and family. Therefore, there are only 100 pairs of these sneakers in all over the world. This caused that its price in auction was estimated to be between 33.000 and 45.000 euros for each pair.
With all of these collaborations Nike manages to reinvent a design that has been sold since 1982, the sneakers Air Force 1 and, afterwards, the Air Jordan 1 launched in 1984. We remind that both designs were focused on being worn by basketball players at the court. In their beginning the were not so successful, moreover the Air Jordan 1 sneakers were forbidden at the court because they did not meet the NBA’s requirements. However, the increasing demand from an enthusiastic community for streetwear caused that the sneakers continue being sold till transform them into a daily worn sneaker and not just as sport shoes.
Since that Nike has not stopped making collaborations and new designs, especially with the model Air Force 1, which exist more than 2.000 designs in different heights: high-top (the first in being launched), mid-top and low-top. Some of these collaborations have affordable prices like the Air Force 1 Supreme or some of the Travis Scott designs. However, other cooperations have really high prices because of the rare supply and, therefore, the exclusivity that they give the buyer, which causes that only the wealthiest classes can afford it.
Furthermore, the reinvention of traditional designs makes Nike the leader in the sneakers market and a referent in the streetwear style. This makes having some sneaker designs a utopia because of the high demand that exists in the present society. Apart from that, Nike has obtained for its designs to be seen in important fashion brands’ catwalks, as well in the famous’ daily lives or in normal people’s lives too. Therefore, the design Air Force 1 could be considered as versatile design which has been adapted for different target groups and different situations.