An Industry on the Rise

The popularity of sneakers has risen immensely in the last 20 years–changing the culture of fashion and spending habits of adults and high schoolers alike.


Kol Doan, Staff Writer

Clothing is the strongest indicator of personal style, and one of the easiest ways to express individuality.  Among the most expressive parts of an outfit are the shoes. There are countless styles of shoes, all varying in price. In the halls of Summit, students rock shoes ranging from $10 to $1,000 a pair. 

For almost 100 years, the prices of sneakers have been on the rise. Advancements in shoe technology, celebrity and athlete endorsements, the economy and social media are all key factors that have made the shoe market skyrocket. Due to the increase of prices in the shoe industry, what would cost $80 in 1980 is equivalent to $120 in 2021. This is a 50% increase in price in just 41 years. 

In high school, many students express themselves through their own style. One of the most defining parts of the outfit is the shoe.  Trends come and go with rapid pace in high school. Everyone is always trying to hop on the newest trend or pioneer their own. Because of this shoes are much more than foot transportation and comfort.

A popular 2021 shoe trend was the Nike sneaker called “Dunks”. The average price of a pair of Dunks is $120, but the price can go as high as 10s of thousands of dollars. 

Social status can be affected by the style and price of the shoes high school students wear to school. 

“There is pressure to wear nice shoes and other clothing to school,” said a senior Summit student.

The high price of buying sneakers goes both ways, a culture of reselling and collecting shoes has been quickly on the rise. Students and adults have indulged in this risk and reward market to try and boost their bank account. 

Summit sophomore Kai Brennan started reselling shoes in August of 2020, and has since sold over 200 pairs. Brennan typically doesn’t care about the price of shoes, as long as a profit can be made when resold. 

“No price is too expensive, it’s all relative to a sneaker. I flip $50-$1500 shoes sometimes even more.” Said Brennan. 

Avid shoe reseller and husband of Summit teacher Mrs. Carroll, Scott Carroll has a similar strategic look on reselling sneakers. 

“I have over 100 pairs that are ready for resale. Some I am holding onto strategically, while others I have because I thought I would make a solid profit on, but I didn’t so I am just seeing if anything will happen with them.” said Carroll. 

This practice of buying and reselling sneakers has its fair share of highs and lows.

“You might drop $800 on a shoe that ends up being a total flop, but then buy a shoe for $150 that ends up selling for triple that. It’s definitely a risk vs. reward hobby but I really enjoy the thrill of it,” said Carroll. 

Obviously the return on investment is not always guaranteed when trying to resell sneakers, but people still continue to spend top dollar hoping to profit off of it. 

It seems that it is such a simple concept. An item to protect your feet from the outside world, to get from point A to point B harmlessly, but today it is so much more. While the typical teenager might spend hours into the night watching tv, or playing video games, Brennan and others are setting early alarms or scrolling through Nike, Goat, StockX and other shoe websites, to find the next big drop, and hoping to turn a profit off it.