Sneaker pawn star
Teen opens shop to hock shoes (with sniff test)
A New York teenager has created the world’s first sneaker pawnshop where streetwise youngsters can deposit their valuable sneakers in return for cash.
The store specializes in high-end designer models and “dead stock” — limited-edition sneakers no longer being made — which can sell for many thousands of dollars, and is the brainchild of Chase Reed, a 16-year-old from Harlem.
All shoes brought into Sneaker Pawn must also pass a smell test before their owners receive cash. They can redeem them later, or allow them to be sold. Owners have first refusal before any sale and receive 80 per cent of the proceeds if they allow it to go ahead.
Customers usually borrow around $100 US per pair of lightly-worn sneakers, although one was lent thousands of dollars after taking in a pair of soughtafter Nike LeBron Crown Jewels and two pairs of Nike Air Jordans. They must repay the loan at a rate of 20 per cent.
Chase came up with the idea for Sneaker Pawn after asking his father, Troy, to lend him $50 days after being bought an expensive pair of sneakers. Troy told the New York Daily Post: “I was like, ‘Are you serious?’ I’m holding these sneakers until I get my $50 back.”
Chase raised the seed money to open Sneaker Pawn by selling his own 200-strong collection of sneakers. He works in the shop after school and at weekends, while his father mans the tills during school hours. As well as passing the sniff test, Chase and his colleagues check that sneakers brought in to be pawned have retained their colour and do not have excessive wear on the soles.
Troy said: “Young kids don’t have jewelry. They don’t have cars. But what they do have is thousands of dollars worth of sneakers in their house.
“After we evaluate them, we’ll give the kid, say, $100 for the sneakers. If he wants them back, he’ll pay the $100, plus $20 for storing the sneakers.”
Among the shop’s customers have been a youngster who pawned his valuable sneakers to pay for his brother’s funeral and two teenage girls who wanted cash to buy prom dresses. The owner of the LeBron Crown Jewels used the money to move to the Bronx from Brooklyn.
Sneakers have become big business in recent years, with youngsters frequently queuing all night outside shops such as Nike and Reebok to buy the latest releases, and swapping shoes at huge sneaker conventions.
There is a lively trade on auction sites such as eBay, where limited-edition sneakers can rise in value far above their original retail price, particularly if they have a celebrity endorsement.
Originally bought for $270, LeBron Crown Jewels, named after basketball star LeBron James of the Miami Heat, are now worth around $1,400.
Nike Air Yeezys, designed in collaboration with the singer Kanye West, cost $263 when they were released, and are currently on sale on eBay for between $1,700 and $15,000. Earlier this year, a teenager turned down an offer of $98,000 for a pair that had been signed by the singer.
Puma is pushing the envelope by putting its athletes in one pink shoe and one blue shoe. Apparently, this will make it easier to tell which foot that player delivers goals with: Pink is right and blue is left. Look for Spain’s Cesc Fabregas and Italy’s Mario Balotelli in the boots. “I have to be honest, the first time I saw the Tricks boots, I thought the Puma guy was mad,” Balotelli is quoted as saying. “But when I realized he wasn’t, I was already excited.”
Shoes or socks?
Nike’s statement for the World Cup is its new Magista and Mercurial soccer boots that use the company’s fly-knit technology, which basically looks like cleats attached to a pair of socks. Cristiano Ronaldo is going to be wearing the Mercurial Superfly, a high-top version with a cool name. “The way we think about product innovation is really about serving athletes and really about how we can help people reach their true potential,” said Phil McCartney, vice-president of global soccer for Nike. “I think the product we’re going to have on the pitch in the World Cup is a really good example of that.”
Adidas goes retro
Adidas is offering the backand-white Battle Pack collection of four different cleats, featuring prints that are supposed to pay homage to Brazil — the only pop of colour is the trademark three stripes in neon orange. An excep- tion was made for Lionel Messi, who gets the star treatment with his own design and a bit of added Argentina blue on his F50s. “It’s the biggest tournament on the biggest stage. It’s win or go home.
It’s black or white. So that’s why you see the black and white execution on the shoes,” adidas merchandise manager Peter Hong said.
The top goal scorer at the World Cup receives the Golden Boot award. But at least one player will already have his
Sixteen-year-old Chase Reed came up with the idea for the sneaker pawn shop.
Nike Air Yeezys can fetch between $1,700 and $15,000 on eBay.