As the sneaker resale industry continues turning ordinary people into millionaires, many are hungry to get in on the action and start selling on StockX.
It seems like a wise choice, as the market is predicted to swell to uncharted highs in the next few years.
But a growing field of hopeful sellers makes flipping shoes more competitive every day, leaving many wondering how to make money on StockX.
What’s the secret to StockX?
StockX is the marketplace of choice for full-time professionals like Vernon “Sizzle” Simms, a former DJ turned full-time shoe reseller. He makes more than a million dollars on StockX every year.
Simms says reselling sneakers is more complicated than it looks, but there’s potential for anyone, even teenage entrepreneurs, to launch a successful business on the platform.
When done right, sneakers are becoming one of the best things to flip for profit.
He shared his secrets for success getting started flipping items on StockX.
How does StockX work?
StockX is quite different from trading goods on other popular reselling platforms like eBay, Poshmark or Mercari.
StockX only allows the sale of new or deadstock items, which means products must be sold in their original boxes and be in impeccable condition. Reselling Supreme is increasingly popular on the marketplace as well.
If you are in the market to sell used shoes, you will need to check out other platforms.
If a person has a pair of shoes they wish to sell, they can simply look up the product, and if there’s already a “ask” or buyer bid on a shoe, the seller has the option to make an instant transaction and quickly finalize their goal of selling sneakers on StockX.
However, if they want to wait for a higher price, they can set their number and wait for a buyer willing to pay that amount.
Once a sale is made, the seller ships the product directly to StockX for an authenticity check. If it passes, the sneakers are sent to the buyer.
The platform offers resellers an opportunity to walk into a store, find a shoe priced under the highest StockX “ask,” and make a sale before even heading to the checkout counter.
“The risk is so much lower,” said Simms. “Whereas with eBay, you have to buy the shoe, hold on to it, take pictures and wait for a sale.”
If you are interested in reselling other products online, check out these tips for making money on eBay.
What are the steps to sell on StockX?
To make money on StockX, sellers need to find inventory at lower prices than the sites to sell things online (in other words, buy low sell high).
Sometimes people are selling sneakers on StockX for under retail value, but the priciest purchases come from the sale of limited edition or hard-to-find kicks.
Simms uses three different sourcing methods to reach his 7-figure seller status.
“The Hustle and Bustle”
Simms spends most of his time searching discount stores like Nike Outlets for deals as a reseller.
He finds a shoe and searches for it on StockX to see if he can buy it and flip it for more money to the highest bidder.
He admits that this is the most labor-intensive method, adding that serious sellers should expect to be out most of the day looking for deals. “It’s an all-day, everyday kind of thing,” he said.
Tactic for Success:
Search for style number rather than shoe name to quickly identify a shoe. A shoe’s style number will reveal more information, such as release date and model. Entering this number into the StockX search bar will speed up the process of calculating profits. Style codes can be found on the shoebox or under the shoe’s tongue.
Use bots to purchase shoes online
When a hyped sneaker is about to be released, resellers look to automated systems known as “bots” to get ahead of the competition.
The software extensions can even disguise internet browsers, allowing one person to purchase multiple pairs quickly.
This option isn’t cheap; not only do sellers need the upfront capital to buy the shoes, but the technology itself can cost thousands of dollars.
Hold onto shoes until they increase in value
Many shoes are successfully sold on StockX for higher than their original retail price.
According to the platform’s Current Culture Index 2022 Jordan’s are the number one selling shoe, purchased on average for about 60% above retail price.
Successful sellers like Simms often purchase these shoes for retail and wait to sell them when supply is low, demand is high and the asking price has inflated.
“You have to look at it like a savings account,” said Simms. “Nowadays, money sitting in a bank really doesn’t do anything, it doesn’t move, and you don’t really make anything off of it. So if you think of (sneakers) as a way to have money sitting in the bank and earn money on your money, that’s a smart way to do it.”
Trend on the Rise:
According to information from StockX, sales of preschool and toddler-sized sneakers jumped 150 percent in 2021. Trades of women’s sneakers grew three times faster than men’s sneakers in 2021.
Tips for selling on StockX
As the global sneaker and streetwear resell industry is projected to reach $30 million by 2030, sellers do everything they can to get their own piece of the pie.
7-figure-sellers like Simms use several tricks to maximize profits and get a leg up on the competition.
(Vernon “Sizzle” Simms)
Use quick but trusted methods to authenticate
Vernon Simms says one of the worst things a seller can do to kill a business before it even gets started is get caught trying to sell counterfeit kicks.
StockX charges sellers a penalty of 15% of the transaction price if there’s a failure to complete the sale.
If a pair of shoes are found to be counterfeit, sellers will be charged the price they paid for the shoe and the cost of shipping.
Simms recommends using a third-party app for verification if someone needs to know whether a shoe is authentic in a pinch.
Services like CheckCheck require users to take photos of the sneakers to be analyzed by artificial intelligence technology to detect inconsistencies.
Two trained human authenticators will verify the sneakers are real as a final check. The turnaround time is quick; answers typically come back within 30 minutes.
Simms suggests that beginners stick to buying inventory from retail stores to make sure shoes are authentic.
He admitted to making a costly mistake when he started as a reseller, inadvertently purchasing a case of fake Jordan 11s from an individual.
“I couldn’t get ahold of the person who sold them to me, they just stopped responding, and I couldn’t get anything back,” he said. “I lost out big time.”
Tactic for Success:
Use employee discounts or store rewards to reduce costs.Simms used to work at Finish Line and used his employee discount to purchase shoes and resell them. Sellers who frequent the same stores can sign up for customer reward programs that will generate gift cards and coupons with every purchase that can be used for savings on the next purchase.
Buy secret intel for projected trends
To be a successful sneaker reseller, a person has to be highly knowledgeable about what’s hot at the moment because the trends are constantly changing.
According to Simms, not much stays the same and what’s popular now changes instantly.
Yeezys were extremely popular for years, but recently demand has significantly fallen. According to a StockX report, the shoes dropped from the platform’s second-highest seller to fourth in 2021.
“Now you have Yeezys that sit on the shelf,” Simms added. “That’s never happened, ever.”
To stay ahead of the curve without investing much time, sellers can pay expertly curated information through memberships that deliver the latest trends to their inbox.
“People have made groups where they give information out and pay a monthly fee, and that might be worth doing for someone who is just starting,” said Simms.
Sell more expensive products to reduce selling fees
The fees on StockX are not the same for every seller. The platform operates with a seller-level system, which means the more an individual sells, the lower the fee they’ll be charged.
A seller with no experience on the platform will pay a 10% transaction fee, while a person who has sold at least 250 pairs of shoes for $30,000 will be charged only 8% for each transaction.
Focusing on buying and selling more expensive items will get a person to a level 5 selling status more quickly and make them significantly higher profits.
Does Selling on StockX count as income?
As of 2022, StockX will file income reports for anyone who makes more than $600 a year on the platform.
This is a change from how reselling platforms dealt with taxes in the past, which was essentially an honor system.
Previously, tax information was only collected for sellers who made at least $20,000 in more than 200 transactions.
Those who file their tax return in 2022 and don’t report StockX earnings over $600 could be audited by the IRS and forced to pay additional taxes and penalties.
“That’s one thing that’s going to draw some people back,” speculated Simms. “Some people don’t like taxes, and they don’t like paying them. But that’s just how it is, and there’s no way to run from it.”
Shipping supply costs, transportation costs, membership fees and even home office expenses can be recorded for tax deductions, so it’s essential to keep track of all money spent to operate a sneaker reselling business.
“Keep track of everything,” added Simms.
While not every StockX seller will be able to crank out a million dollars in sales a year, there is money to be made and potential for the right kind of person.
However, Simms warns that reselling sneakers on StockX isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme.
“If you think it’s easy, you’re very, very wrong. It’s a lot of time and a lot of patience. A lot of people might get frustrated because there are days when you don’t make anything.
Are you set up to where you can go a week, two weeks or a month without being able to provide for yourself? That alone will make a person decide not to do it anymore.”
Nikki Davidson is a freelance TV and print journalist who covers finance and real estate news for media outlets across the country. She's also a chronic side-hustler and YouTuber who creates videos about reselling clothing online (Channel Name: Sew Much 2 Wear).