Nike decides to ‘just do it’ in the sneaker resale market – RetailWire


April 14, 2021

Nike sells used sneakers directly to consumers.

The company announced the launch of Refurbished Nikea program that collects sneakers returned by customers within 60 days of purchase, inspects and cleans them to resell them for a lower price to brand loyalists.

Nike is initially offering refurbished shoes in 15 of its stores and plans to expand to more locations this year and beyond.

The market for second-hand sneakers has grown strongly in recent years, with the high end in particular taking off. Nike is the undisputed leader in this category. Sneakerheads spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on some of the brand’s iconic designs. A recent article on Six-figure sneakerhead listed specific Nike shoes as 11 of the 12 most expensive sneakers on the resale market today.

Nike classifies returned sneakers into three categories, based on their condition: “like new” shoes that have only been worn for “a day or two”, “lightly worn” and “cosmetically defective”. Items of the latter designation could have a defect as a result of an error in the manufacturing process, or possibly a stain by the previous owner.

Nike decides to
Photo: Nike

In all cases, Nike inspects returned sneakers and repackages them as close to new as possible before giving them their condition designation and sending them to one of the brand’s stores for purchase. The price of each item is based on the model and its relative condition.

Shoeboxes include messages telling buyers what condition the shoes are in. Each of the refurbished models is covered by Nike’s 60-day wear test. Customers can return the sneakers at any time during this period if the shoes do not meet their requirements.

The brand is promoting the new service not only as a cheaper way for followers to buy sneakers, but also as part of its Nike Zero program to achieve its zero carbon and waste goals. Returned sneakers not included in the Refurbished program are either donated to Nike community partners or recycled for use in other products.

Nike was recently named the world’s most valuable apparel brand for the seventh consecutive year by Brand funding.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see refurbished as a program that Nike will significantly expand (including bringing it online) or will it remain a niche offering? What are the implications of Nike Refurbished for the brand and those who sell its sneakers on the second-hand market?


“This move on Nike’s part may earn them some environmental credibility, but the most compelling argument is to cement mind share in this market and reap the financial rewards.”

“Those who are brand loyal, the true sneakerheads, are looking for ways to access limited release sneakers. You don’t have to grow tall to be successful.”

“I can’t talk about the economy, but it fits with Nike’s impact on the world – and not just with athletic footwear and apparel.”


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