Limited Edition Sneakers and Sneaker Bots
The hype around limited edition sneakers is off the charts, as we know. It seems there is an incessant need to be the first to get the latest Nike Air Jordans or Adidas Yeezys before the sneaker bots win out. How long has this been going on? And what is it about those sneaker bots that allows them to take over limited edition sneaker sales, anyway? In the following paragraphs, we will explore the history of the limited edition sneaker craze, as well as the phenomenon of sneaker bots and their role in the limited edition sneaker hype.
There are varying opinions on when the limited edition sneaker craze began. According to sneaker enthusiast Noah Panico, interviewed by Complex.com, “Athletes always had player exclusives. So to me, it’s been [limited] as long as I can remember.” But when pressed, Panico admitted that if he had to identify a starting point, it would be in 1991 with Nike’s Air Max, Cross Trainer, and Air Mowabbs. However, sneaker collector Mark Bostic, also interviewed by Complex.com, pinpoints the beginning of the craze with the Nike Air Jordan XI in 1995. To quote Bostic, “It really started with the Air Jordan XI.” Bostic goes on to explain that the release of that sneaker started a craze that led sneaker fans to want more.
Another big step in the craze for limited additions, according to Complex.com, came in 2005, with the release of the Nike “Pigeon” Dunks. This release began a riot that was reported in several newspapers, who featured the story of sneaker fans climbing over one another for a shot at buying the coveted kicks. The “Pigeon” Dunks were the result of a collaboration between Nike and designer Jeff Staple and they changed the game for limited edition sneakers. Check out SoleCollector.com for photos.
These days, limited editions come out every couple of weeks. Complex.com tells us that “Nowadays it feels like everything that comes out is limited. Jumpman Bostic brought up the Just Don Air Jordan II as an example of that.” That shoe is a relic, having first come out in 1986, but without the Just Don name. In 2015, the Just Don name was added, and the sneaker became a sought-after limited edition.
Of course, back in the 1990s, the Internet wasn’t a factor in the sale of sneakers, but nowadays, it is pretty much the only way to go to obtain your limited edition kicks. It is no wonder sneaker bots have taken over. Yes, sneaker bots — those annoying computer codes that log on to the shopping sites and buy up all the limited editions before we slower humans get the chance. These codes are difficult to get around, and they work on any shopping site.
HighSnobiety.com quotes software engineer and sneaker collector James Murphy as follows: “I can tell you with 100% confidence, any non-lottery site is bottable. Sometimes even finding the link for the purchase is easy with a bot, for example with YEEZY Supply and MR PORTER, or sometimes you just need the bot to click around, in the case of Supreme.” Supreme attempted to block sneaker bots by not allowing sales of items that don’t remain in the electronic shopping cart for a reasonable amount of time. However, as it turned out, they were preventing some of the quicker sneaker heads from making their purchases. Lottery sites are able to get around the sneaker bots, but so far, no one has found a really efficient way to allow standard shopping sites to do so.