Is Selling Sneakers Profitable
How I Make $10000 a Month Flipping Sneakers – Side Hustle …
This contribution comes from JV Ortiz, who found side hustle success in the world of buying and selling sneakers. He’s been at this business for two years and actually quit his job to pursue this venture full-time.
(And at $10k a month, I don’t blame him! )
JV lives in Brooklyn, New York and when he’s not out hunting for shoe deals you can find him running, surfing, and working on self development.
At his site,, he’s written a 100-page guide on how to break into the sneaker flipping game. You can use code SIDEHUSTLENATION to take 40% off.
Take it away, JV!
From $1 T-Shirts to $1, 000 Sneakers: My Reselling Story
As someone who always had an entrepreneurial ambition and a hustler’s mindset, I was craving the right environment to really reach my potential.
I had seen documentaries about such environments that were meritocracies like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, where formal education didn’t matter at all. In this realm, people were paid based on their trading performance, making millionaires out of some from blue collar backgrounds.
Buy Low, Sell High
Because I was so inspired by traders, I first tried my luck trading stocks — but ultimately lost money.
Still the opportunity to make money like traders do, by buying low and selling higher, made a lot of sense to me.
I decided that, rather than dealing with speculating market forecasts (i. e. actually gambling), I should sell things that real people actually buy. And I was attracted to the idea of reselling as a hustle because there is no need to build a brand from the ground up.
Instead, you can piggyback on the popularity of existing brands. With this new strategy in mind, I headed for the clearance racks at local discount clothing stores and thrift shops, looking for brand name items that I could sell at a profit on eBay.
I started to develop an idea of what brands resold for, and realized that on eBay, brand new items were selling below retail prices, so to make a profit with my used inventory I would have to find a steep discount.
My First Profitable Flips: Starting with $1 T-Shirts
At thrift stores, I could pick up t-shirts for $1 or $2 and sell them for about $10.
I was able to make money doing this, but it was nowhere near enough to reach my goal of matching the current paycheck. (At the time, I was looking for a better way to make money in college than working a retail job that paid slightly more than minimum wage. )
At best, I was making a $10 profit for each item I sold, and at the peak was selling 5 items per week. It’s good that I was making some money on the side pretty consistently, but I became hungry for more and started to brainstorm ideas.
Applying the 10x Rule
Thinking back again to the successful commodity traders, I recognized the obvious fact that the reason that these traders became millionaires is because they were trading in large quantities of money.
I had also been watching the TV show Million Dollar Listing at the time, where real estate agents made as much money selling one house as the average American would earn in a year. They did basically the same amount of work as the typical real estate agent but made ten times more simply because they were selling houses that were ten times more.
I was selling $50-$100 items and making about $10 per sale and $50 per week, so I thought, why don’t I sell items that are priced at $500-$1000 and make $100 per sale and $500 per week?
A similar amount of work for 10x the results.
I had saved some money and was ready to start flipping more expensive items but wasn’t really sure where to start, so I searched for higher ticket items to sell. I knew luxury items were expensive, so I researched high end designer items and expensive watches.
Through my research though, I found that it was nearly impossible to make money reselling name brand luxury items. In fact, they were almost universally selling for less on eBay than they were in the store, even when they were on clearance.
Every now and then, I would find a luxury item on deep clearance at the mall and see on eBay that I could make a profit, but that the margin would be too thin and the sale too slow to justify the upfront investment.
Dealing with watches could be profitable but required a great deal of capital, knowledge, and reputation. I was stuck and didn’t know what to do.
Discovering the Sneaker Aftermarket
Searching through eBay, I filtered strictly by price and not by brand name. I was searching for items that were selling for around $500-1000 that I could make a profit from.
To my surprise, in the $1000 realm, among the name-brand luxury bags and other obviously expensive items were a pair of Nikes.
It was February 2015 and the shoes were the Air Jordan 2 Just Don.
Little did I know that this discovery would open the door to my most profitable flipping venture yet, and the one that would match and replace my job income.
I saw that many pairs were selling for nearly $1000 with a lot of bidding action. After doing some research, I found that these shoes were available at retail at $350. Instantly I knew that I wanted to start selling shoes.
Not only did these mark the checkbox of an item that sold for $500-1000, it exceeded my profit goal of $100 per item: I could make over $500 per shoe I sold!
I would only have to sell one shoe per week to make my $500 per week goal, and I could even make $1, 000 in a week if I sold 2 shoes — maybe even $1, 000 in a day.
Nick’s Notes: eBay takes a 10% fee on each sale.
My mind started spinning and I became super driven to learn all that I could about the shoe reselling game.
After spending hours of research and using the little money that I had saved, I bought my first pair of shoes to resell. It was a pair of Jordans that I bought for $190. I sold them hours later for $300 — an $80 profit after shipping and fees.
It was the quickest and easiest money I had ever made. I had finally found a product that met all of my criteria: high ticket items with good margins that sold quickly. Sneakers checked those boxes very nicely.
Nick’s Notes: You may be able to add to your profitability by taking strategic advantage of credit card rewards programs. If you’re buying inventory to flip, it’ll be easier to hit the minimum spending requirements for fatty sign-up bonuses. Here’s a free guide to how these programs work.
Scaling Up the Sneaker Flipping Operation
I kept reselling pairs in that range until I had enough money saved to buy a pair of shoes for $900. After a few anxious days of waiting, I was able to flip them at $1200 for a profit of about $200. I also began to learn how to secure these $1000 shoes (called Yeezy’s, made by Adidas) at retail for insane profit margins of over $500 per shoe.
I started as an absolute outsider and 4 months in I cleared $10, 000 for the month.
Once you know what you’re doing and you take the time to build your reputation and stay on top with sneaker news, the consistency and ease of selling aftermarket sneakers amazes me to this day.
The Shoe Reselling Industry
Forbes estimates that the resale market for sneakers is estimated to be over $1 billion annually.
Nick’s Notes: By carefully and expertly hyping each new product launch, the manufacturers cater to loyal fans — and strategically never quite make enough to fully satisfy the demand. It’s that constant shortfall on the supply side that fuels the resale market.
This is also trend that doesn’t appear to be slowing anytime soon. That same Forbes article notes that the international sneaker market is up 40% since 2004.
Even though only an estimated 4% of sneakers end up being purchased for immediate resale, the market has attracted side hustlers and entrepreneurs. At the top of the heap, some resellers are moving more than $2 million in inventory a year.
What Shoes To Buy?
One of the most common questions I get is how do I know which shoes to buy? Which brands and models will be profitable?
To get an idea of what is hot in streetwear, follow sneaker and fashion publishers like Hypebeast or High Snobiety.
Immerse yourself in your local sneaker communities by attending a sneaker convention and getting an idea of what people are wearing and what people are talking about.
Learn about the Jordan brand. Begin to follow Instagram accounts that have to do with sneakers and sneaker news, so you’ll automatically be doing research every time you’re killing time on the ‘gram. Combine all of the above with checking aftermarket prices on sites like eBay and calculating your estimated profit.
Nick’s Notes: In the advanced search, you can check the box just to see completed listings to see how much items are actually selling for.
I suggest starting small with one or two pairs so you don’t have a huge risk.
Where Do You Buy These Shoes to Resell?
I like to buy older models either through eBay or Facebook groups and sneaker conventions.
For new shoes, you’ll go directly to the brand’s website (,, etc. ) and either press your luck right on the release time or you can utilize a sneaker bot to greatly increase your chances of securing a pair at retail price.
There are also authorized retailers that stock desired shoes, like FootLocker or Eastbay, but it’s best to go with lesser-known sites like Mr. Porter and END to increase your odds of getting the shoes at retail.
Where’s the Best Place to Resell Shoes?
I’ve done most of my reselling on eBay, but it seems like apps like GOAT and StockX are picking up so I’m selling on those more now as well.
Still, I love the feeling of doing in-person deals either through Craigslist, sneaker conventions, or Facebook/Twitter groups.
Obviously, selling in person requires extra precautions, but if you use common sense and deal with good people through networking, you’ll get the best prices from in person on the buying side because online sellers are paying for shipping and fees to the platform that they’re selling on.
Some Common and Costly Mistakes
Although I had done my research, I was still in over my head and had a lot to learn. After my biggest month, I made some preventable mistakes that nearly caused me to lose everything I had earned.
First, I ended up with some fakes and it was a mess trying to get my money back from the seller or PayPal.
Nick’s Notes: As you might expect with shoes that sell for $1000, there’s a thriving black market for counterfeit sneakers.
The other issue I ran into was with my PayPal account itself. They weren’t used to me taking in such large amounts of money per month, so PayPal put a hold on my money. Since I relied on reinvesting that income into more inventory, that hold took me several months to recover from.
I think I could have avoided that if I’d warned them in advance that I would be taking in as much money in a month that I used to take in in a year, but then again I had no idea that I would make so much money so quickly!
Fortunately, I made a recovery and have gathered more knowledge than if it had been smooth sailing from the very start.
How Do You Deal with Fakes?
Although there are plenty of fakes on the market, there are also plenty of resources that will educate you on fakes and how to spot the differences.
As a buyer, you can ask for detailed, tagged pictures (i. with written proof of ownership, often the day/time on a piece of paper next to the shoe in each picture. ) and compare them to the numerous tutorials on YouTube or on sneaker forums that will give you a good idea of whether they’re authentic or not.
Also, if it’s a new release, only deal with people who include the receipt from the store that they purchased. That way you’ll know they’re real and also if it’s your intention to turn around and resell them, then you can prove to buyers they’re the real deal as well.
Another issue when dealing with fakes is selling authentic shoes but having the buyer try to claim that they’re fake. This can be solved by including a receipt as mentioned previously, or you can take detailed pictures as you’re shipping to prove that you are in fact shipping authentic shoes.
Be sure to include tracking with signature required and insurance so the buyer also cannot claim that he or she never got the kicks.
How Do You Manage Inventory?
The short answer is I don’t — I try and sell each pair as quickly as I buy them!
When selling shoes, it can be easy to amass a bulky collection that you have to keep somewhere. To avoid that, I focus on brand new releases or shoes that are really hot classics I know will sell quickly.
This strategy translated into less headache and hassle storing and tracking the inventory, and also let me turn my cash over to reinvest in the next flip faster.
For anyone that wants to get a side hustle going but doesn’t know where to start, selling sneakers is one of the best ways to learn valuable entrepreneurial skills in real life, like customer service, profitably managing inventory, and learning to set and achieve goals.
These skills I have learned through selling shoes have given me gifts that I never got in any kind of formal education.
What Else Could You Flip?
While sneakers are some of the best items to flip if you have a sense for what’s hot, there are certainly plenty of other options to buy low and sell high.
Suggested Playlist: Flipping Profits
Buying low and selling high is the fastest way to multiply money. Here’s how to get it done.
Add to Spotify
Used Shoes and Boots
Nick’s Notes: The resale market for shoes goes far beyond just these limited-edition sneakers. In fact, even gently-used regular name brand shoes and boots can be flipped for profit.
In this case, it’s a game of spotting deals at thrift shops and yard sales. A typical purchase price might be $5-15 for a pair, but those can sell for $50-300 on eBay depending on the brand and condition.
Check out this online class to learn more.
Another flipping business that might be worth exploring is simply buying clearance items locally, and reselling them for a profit on Amazon. This is known as Amazon FBA clearance arbitrage or retail arbitrage.
It may not be as flashy as the sneaker business, but may be easier to source inventory and begin to multiply your money. Click here to learn more about how to get started, or listen in below:
And head over here to join Jessica’s free 7-day course on getting started selling on Amazon.
Flea Market Finds
Another flipping business I want to share is my friend Rob’s — he runs Flea Market Flipper and Flipper University ( use code SIDEHUSTLE100 for $100 off).
The guy has some crazy awesome stories about the random stuff he’s found and then re-sold for big gains. And he’s turned it into a full-time, 6-figure business!
Check out my interview with Rob to learn more, check out his free webinar, or listen with the player app below:
And finally, there’s an entire industry set up around flipping books. One guest of mine reported earning up to $4000 a month re-selling used books.
Stocks and Options?
Another Side Hustle Show guest reported making $1000 a day trading stocks. She didn’t hit that level right away, but through education and practice turned her unique flipping business into a full-time income stream (and then some! ).
For more on this side hustle, be sure to check out JV’s site at and use the code SIDEHUSTLENATION to take 40% off his 100-page sneaker flipping guidebook.
Another resource worth checking out is KickFlips, a free newsletter for potentially-profitable sneakers and streetwear to be on the lookout for.
*********Stock photo by New Africa via Shutterstock
• Global: Sneakers market value worldwide 2012-2025 | Statista
This statistic shows the value of the sneakers market worldwide from 2012 to 2025. In 2020, the total global sneakers market revenue was valued at approximately 70 billion U. S. dollars and was forecast to reach a value of 102 billion U. dollars by 2025.
Biggest players in athletic footwear
The largest brands in the global athletic footwear market are Nike, Adidas, and Puma. Nike still proved to be the brand of choice for many consumers: almost half of respondents in a recent survey owned something from Nike, regardless of their income level. In 2020, Nike generated 24 billion U. dollars in footwear sales, which was more than Puma and Adidas combined.
How to Start a Shoe Store | TRUiC
Start a shoe store by following these 10 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your shoe store. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
What are the startup and ongoing costs?
Who is your target market?
How much can you charge customers?
What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a shoe store?
A shoe store’s startup costs can be hefty. Expect to pay about $10, 000 in initial franchising fees. Grand opening marketing can cost about $5, 000, and initial inventory can cost as much as $50, 000 for a smaller shop.
A lot of these expenses are high because shoes can cost a lot of money. You should plan to have about $2, 500 on hand for insurance startup costs. On the high end, a shoe store’s overall costs can reach $200, 000 when utility deposits, professional fees, computer systems, and business licenses are considered. What are the ongoing expenses for a shoe store?
Expect to pay about $2, 000 per month for rent. Monthly utilities will be about $300. As a shoe store owner, you’ll need to pay your employees between $8 and $20 per hour, depending on their position. If you’ve hired an IT team, expect to pay as much as $30 per hour for skilled labor. Additional costs include marketing fees, which cost about one percent of your yearly net sales and consistent inventory costs—which can be as much as $75, 000 per year. Who is the target market?
The best customers are return shoppers. Because shoes aren’t purchased often, every impression counts. Shoe store shoppers may come and go, but those with a love of boots, athletic shoes, or shoe care products can be very profitable.
It’s a good idea to extend discount services to other stores. Often, shoe stores will use “pull marketing” tactics, gaining return customers from other clothing stores. How does a shoe store make money?
Shoe stores make money by selling shoes, shoe accessories, shoe care products, and other items. Some shoe stores may offer shoe cleaning services, though such services are pretty rare. How much can you charge customers?
Customers can be charged as little as $10 for a pair of nice laces to $400 for a pair of nice boots. Average shoes cost about $70, though prices vary greatly. How much profit can a shoe store make?
An average shoe store makes about $851, 076 in sales, yielding a profit of about $127, 363 for the owner. Shoe stores offer a big return on investment, sitting at about 46. 1 percent. As a shoe store owner, you’ll need to manage your stock and pricing to ensure high profits. How can you make your business more profitable?
It pays off to diversify or specialize. When starting a shoe store business, research popular brands. Once you’ve achieved some popularity, make sure your customers go to you for preferred shoes. You can specialize in selling boots, for example, or athletic shoes.
You should also start an online store. E-commerce is incredibly effective, and the most successful shoe stores have online buying portals. Prioritize customer service, and make shipping affordable. You can greatly increase your profits by expanding into a digital market. If you’re really good at e-commerce, you can even make an entirely online store. What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Shoe Store Name Generator
If you operate a sole proprietorship, you might want to operate under a business name other than your own name. Visit our DBA guide to learn more.
When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:
Your state’s business records
Federal and state trademark records
Social media platforms
Web domain availability.
It’s very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation.
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your shoe store is sued.
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Have a Professional Service Form your LLC for You
Two such reliable services:
You can start an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It’s really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Learn how to get an EIN in our What is an EIN guide or find your existing EIN using our EIN lookup guide.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
Sole Proprietorship vs LLC
LLC vs Corporation
LLC vs S Corp
How to Start an S Corp
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business’s name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
This separates your personal assets from your company’s assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
Open net-30 accounts
When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term “net-30, ” which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.
Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.
Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Get a business credit card
This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business’ expenses all in one place.
It also builds your company’s credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a shoe store. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits. Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
For information about local licenses and permits:
Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Certificate of Occupancy
A shoe store is generally run out of a warehouse or factory. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.
If you plan to lease a location:
It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a clothing line business.
After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
If you plan to purchase or build a location:
You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your store will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers’ Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren’t feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we’ll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
How to promote & market a shoe store
Market online. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the best realms for clothing and shoe sellers. Offer discounts, and attract new customers via an e-commerce platform. If you’re operating out of a shopping strip, make sure local fashion sellers are aware of your location. Network with them, and exchange customers when possible. How to keep customers coming back
Customers, by and large, will be attracted by your products. Your store’s reputation will grow if it offers well-priced, reliable shoes. To retain customers, you’ll need to incentivize return visits. Shoe shopping is a rare occurrence, so you’ll need to be independent of your competition.
Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
All legitimate businesses have websites – full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
Other popular website builders are: WordPress, WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, and Shopify.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use.
Frequently Asked Questions about is selling sneakers profitable
How profitable is the sneaker industry?
Global sneakers market revenue from 2012 to 2025 In 2020, the total global sneakers market revenue was valued at approximately 70 billion U.S. dollars and was forecast to reach a value of 102 billion U.S. dollars by 2025.May 31, 2021
How much do shoe sellers make a year?
How much profit can a shoe store make? An average shoe store makes about $851,076 in sales, yielding a profit of about $127,363 for the owner. Shoe stores offer a big return on investment, sitting at about 46.1 percent. As a shoe store owner, you’ll need to manage your stock and pricing to ensure high profits.Sep 9, 2021
How much money does the average shoe reseller make?
Reseller SalaryAnnual SalaryHourly WageTop Earners$260,000$12575th Percentile$120,000$58Average$95,190$4625th Percentile$33,000$16