There's a £268 Million Collectible Trainers Economy on eBay

By Maddie Stone on at

Remember those Back to the Future shoes we all freaked out over in 2011? They're but one instance of rare collectible trainers, which have grown into a $400 million/£268 million economy on eBay. Who knew?

And the number of collectors, or sneakerheads, is growing daily. According to Quartz:

Today, the numbers point to a growing, and increasingly globe-spanning, population of eBay-enabled sneaker collectors. Their spending on sneakers purchased over eBay has grown by double-digit percentages each year since 2010. Last year about 6.3 million pairs of sneakers were sold on the site. Of those, 1.2 million were priced at $200 [£134] or more, pushing total sales of those pricier models past the $400 million mark, and making them one of eBay's top 10 fashion categories, according to Marcelle Parrish, eBay's head of fashion.

Leading the collectible craze are buyers in the UK, Germany, and the US, but emerging markets in India, Russia, and Italy have more than quadrupled in recent years. What are the world's growing population of sneakerheads buying? Mostly, Nike Air Jordans:

In 2013, Nike Air Jordans accounted for $1 in every $3 [£0.67 in £2] spent on trainers on eBay. Of the more than 1,300 trainer models that trainers-data site Campless tracks on eBay, eight of the top 10 models in terms of dollar sales between March 2014 and February 2015 were Jordans. All 10 of the top selling trainers on eBay—including those Air Jordans—were made by Nike.

If you're still not convinced that trainer collecting is worth your time, four words: Power laces are coming. [Quartz]

Top image: Kevin Wu / Flickr

This article originally appeared on Factually, Gizmodo's blog for setting the record straight