Whether you're a prehistoric sneakerhead that was combing the pages of Ebay long before Instagram (or social media, for that matter) even existed, someone who wears sneakers solely for functional reasons or you fall somewhere in between, there is an app for you. The last five years has afforded the sneaker industry rapid growth and spawned another light-footed industry: the sneaker resale market, specifically online and/or in app form.
Early success of these sneaker businesses has motivated investors to pour millions (and millions) into startups in the space, only to help them propel further with better technology, user experience and resale and purchasing efficiency. Meanwhile, sneakers are still very much a coveted status symbol, as the market continues to churn out (or flip) the next indicators of cool, from rare Virgil Abloh x Nike Air Jordan 1s and hard-to-land luxury John Geiger Co. tie-dyed "Chella" 002s to more accessible Fila Disruptors or Nike M2K Tekno sneakers.
But when it comes to actually shopping for these sneakers, such sough-after items can be difficult to purchase, especially when they're only available on the resale market. Luckily, a slew of apps have helped make this experience easier and we handpicked our favorites. (Disclaimer: though Stadium Goods launched its own app in 2017, it was originally founded as a brick and mortar, so we didn't include it in the mix.)
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Below are what we believe are the best sneaker apps to download, along with what they are used best for, a little history on each and why any user — from sneaker noob to full-blown sneakerhead — can use them to acquire a pair of fresh kicks.
Founded: 2015 by Dan Gilbert, Greg Schwartz, Josh Luber and Chris Kaufman
Headquartered: Detroit, Mich.
Originally launched solely for sneaker reselling, StockX eventually expanded to streetwear, watches and handbags, thus earning the self-given title of "The Stock Market of Things." For shoppers, the options are to buy immediately at the listed price or place a bid in an attempt to get the sellers to come down in price. On the opposing side, sellers can list their sneakers to sell at whatever price they'd like or sell immediately to the highest bidder.
Each shoe has its own profile or portfolio. Not only is there information on the shoe, its history and retail price, but each item has real-time updates on what's sold, including size, price and time of day. Additional data, like the volatility of the price of a shoe, the 52-week high price, trade range, number of shoes per silhouette sold through the platform and overall average sale price are available, too. Plus, StockX puts all of its products through an authentication process to ensure users are getting the real thing and not well-executed knockoffs.
Much like all of the aftermarket platforms, with a little digging, users can find sneakers for under retail value. However, StockX's user interface is the clearest and easiest to use, especially with its simple "How It Works" section for those new to sneaker reselling.
Our favorite use: Despite arguably being the most well-rounded aftermarket app (with the lowest resale seller fee percentage), the data is unmatched. Whether users are buying or selling on the app, or prefer an entirely different platform, it truly is the stock market of sneakers and a must-use for all.
Founded: 2015 by Eddy Lu and Daishin Sugano
Headquartered: Los Angeles, Calif.
Goat is another aftermarket platform. It's similar to StockX in that the sneakers are all authenticated and users can bid or buy the listed price. There's also less data, but a major differentiator for Goat is the ability to buy or sell used sneakers, with or without an original box. The app's "Instant Ship" option allows users to buy sneakers that have already been authenticated, thus arriving in their hands quicker. While StockX highlights things like "New Lowest Asks" (new lowest prices), Goat has curated collections of coveted sneakers, which makes a lot of sense as the app also has a print magazine called Greatness.
Our favorite use: Goat is the only sneaker-focused resale marketplace that allows users to sell used sneakers. (StockX, Flight Club and Stadium Goods users can only sell deadstock, or unworn, sneakers with the original box on each.) Unlike secondhand marketplaces like Grailed or Depop, Goat has sneaker-specific questions and requests specific photo angles for those selling their used sneakers. This also benefits buyers who are open to purchasing used shoes or new shoes that simply don't have the original box.
Nike App at Retail
Founded: 2018 by Nike
Headquartered: Beaverton, Ore.
Nike App at Retail is just as much meant to be an online shopping experience as it is to enhance in-store experiences with all the perks of online shopping. With primarily Nike products and a little bit of Converse, users or NikePlus Members can create their personal store and discover what sneakers are available nearby should they want to reserve a pair to try on IRL.
If a user is physically at a store and using the app, they can scan products to learn more about them or ping an associate bring them out to try on, thus eliminating searching for someone that works at the location. Additionally, Nike's latest technological development, Nike Fit, is being added to the app, which uses a combination of AR and VR to measure users' feet, as well as AI to learn fit preference, so the app will then be able to recommend what size to get for future purchases.
Nike also has the Snkrs app, but that's primarily for those into high-heat products looking to bring back the nostalgia around sneaker campouts of yesteryear when fanatics would line up for days in advance to cop the most coveted drops.
Our favorite use: The feeling of a Nike store customized just for you is the best. Whether it's providing updates on new products or sales, or learning your fit preferences via Nike Fit, the app is an aid to shopping efficiently.
Founded: 2017 year by Sean Lozano
Headquartered: New York, N.Y.
Functionally, Laced is completely different from all of the other apps. Not an aggregator, e-commerce platform or a marketplace, Laced turns sneaker shopping into a game. It's the only place where users have a chance to get super-hyped sneakers (or less hype, but still cool ones) for less than the price of lunch.
Here's how it works: An auction kicks off every day at 8 p.m. EST and users bid for the opportunity to buy the sneakers. While this may seem silly, the sneaker price only goes up one cent with each bid. The cheapest a pair of sneakers has gone for is 52 cents, while the most expensive was $108, still significantly below retail price. Auctions last until the bidding ceases, so the shortest one has been 12 seconds and the longest has lasted three and a half hours. No doubt about it, playing is a gamble, but the selection is a healthy mix of shoes from all things Yeezy and Off-White to Nike React Element 87s and an array of Air Jordan 1s.
Our favorite use: Winning!
Headquartered: Chicago, Ill.
Suplexed is a price comparison app that displays the complete size run and all of the prices that pairs are listed for (asks or offers) across StockX, Goat, Flight Club and Stadium Goods on one page. One click deeper will show purchase price history charts, similarly to StockX.
Other functions include the ability to set price or offer alerts and a section purely to search unused shoes that are available for under retail value. The app is also reseller-friendly and compares seller fees among resale platforms.
Finally, Suplexed's 140,000 users have the option to either click through and purchase on the aforementioned platforms or do a quick Ebay search of the shopped shoe.
Our favorite use: The multi-platform price comparison all on one screen is the entire reason why this app is a must-download, but for those users that like sneakers but aren't sneakerheads per se, the "Below Retail" search filter is a great reason, too.