Selling shoes on eBay is booming.
According to eBay’s sales data, nearly 1 million shoes were sold in the last 90 days alone!
I’ve been flipping shoes on the platform for years, and will share exactly how to sell shoes on eBay and lessons learned from a longtime seller.
How to Sell Shoes on eBay (7 Steps)
Over the years, the selling process for sneakers continues to get better.
Today, eBay offers free authentication services for orders over $100, and seller fees ranging from 7%-12.55% (sellers are eligible for lower range if shoes are over $100 and you have an eBay store).
1. Create Your eBay Account
The first step to make money on eBay is setting up your account. If you have an account already, feel free to jump to step 2.
When setting up an eBay account, there are two types:
- Personal account – select if you are a casual seller
- Business account – select if you are a business, nonprofit, or sell large quantities of items.
If you start with a personal account, you can always switch it to a business account in the future (done through account settings).
During account registration for both types, you’ll be asked for basic information like your name, email, address, and phone number.
If you open a business account, you’ll need additional information including: date of birth, last four digits of SSN or ITIN, and a bank account (eBay replaced PayPal with Managed Payments, which is why a bank account is connected now).
As with any real business (online or offline), you are responsible for paying taxes on earnings, and eBay is no exception. For this reason, eBay is required by law to gather a few extra details.
2. Download the eBay App
If you haven’t already, I highly recommend downloading the eBay app – it’s free for iPhone and Android.
Although some things are easier on the computer, the eBay app offers a few advantages:
- Create listings on one device – you can take photos and upload listings all on your phone. Whereas if you use a computer to list, you’ll have to transfer photos to your computer which adds time.
- Easy to reply to customer inquiries – messages will come to you through the app so you can reply quickly, which really helps keep your buyers happy.
- Hear the cha-ching sound – when you make a sale, the app makes a ‘cha-ching’ sound that many eBay sellers enjoy.
3. Source Shoes
If your goal is to become a large seller, sourcing inventory (or consistently finding items) is crucial to your success. If you plan to be a casual seller, feel free to jump to step 4.
Sourcing shoes is one of my favorite parts of the process, because of the surprise factor when you find a rare brand or model.
Here are a few of my favorite shoe flips that I’ve found from a variety of sources.
If you want to get into selling used shoes on eBay or new ones, make sure you test out a variety of sourcing methods. I’ll share a few of my favorites.
Best places to source shoes:
- Yard sales – I’ve found some amazing shoe deals shopping at yard sales. The best part is you can negotiate better prices by bundle multiple pairs of shoes for a lower per unit price.
- Thrift stores – this is perhaps the most popular way to source shoes, and is still very effective. Thrift stores like Goodwill, Savers, and Salvation Army have isles of shoes for decent prices. Usually the shoes won’t be pristine, which is why it’s beneficial to learn a few easy tricks to restore shoes. Goodwill Outlets allow you to buy shoes by weight, which significantly lowers your per unit price.
- Big box stores – Many sellers still use retail arbitrage to find shoes at stores like Ross, Burlington, and the Nike Outlet. This strategy involves buying shoes from these stores for a low enough price that you can then resell them on eBay for a profit.
4. Create Your Listing
Do shoes sell well on eBay?
Absolutely, so long as you use the right listing strategy.
The five key elements for an eBay listing are: (1) photos, (2) product title, (3) item specifics, (4) selling price, and (5) shipping.
While it may seem like a lot, creating listings on eBay is pretty quick.
Listing starts with taking great photos of your shoes. I recommend using natural light if possible and take at least 8-9 photos so buyers see every angle of the shoe.
The product title can be up to 80 characters, which allows for plenty of keywords to be added. Keywords help your listing show up for more searches with shoppers.
I recommend using this structure for your shoe listings: Brand / Model / Size / Colors. An example would be: “Nike Air Trainer 1 Mid Premium Chlorophyll Sz 10 Grey Green”.
Filling out item specifics help your shoes get shown to shoppers who use filters for things like shoe size, shoe type, brand, etc.
Luckily eBay usually autofills a lot of this information based on your product title, which is great.
Many new sellers get tripped up by the selling price, before knowing how to use sold listings on eBay. Sold listings tell us how much shoppers are currently paying for a particular product.
With this information, we can easily set prices inline with what shoppers are willing to pay.
The last piece of the puzzle is shipping. Most sellers use the Priority Mail Shoe Boxes from USPS for the most cost effective shipping option. These boxes are great because USPS provides them for free as long as you buy shipping through them.
5. Communicate with Buyers
Once an order is placed, the buyer receives automated emails from eBay.
Buyer communication is a key part of online marketplaces like eBay, Mercari, and Poshmark. Fortunately, eBay takes care of this step for the most part.
One of the best ways to build trust early on is to be very responsive to customer questions, and communicate clearly.
From time to time, you might be asked for more pictures, or more details about the shoes you’re selling. Always provide these, as it helps reassure shoppers you are a reliable person to buy from.
6. Ship Shoes Quickly
Once an order is placed, the sooner you can ship the better. Processing time (meaning the time it takes you to package the shoes and hand them over to the shipping service) should be clearly communicated and accurate.
As mentioned above, sellers typically use the Priority Mail Shoe Boxes from USPS for the most cost effective shipping option. When taping up the box, ensure there are no unsealed sides/corners, so the shoes do not get wet.
In addition, remember that you’re competing with services like Amazon, which have incredible shipping times. So prompt shipping is one way to set yourself apart.
7. Rinse & Repeat
The best way to grow your eBay business and improve seller rating is to keep posting new listings consistently.
Sales will probably be slow initially as you build your seller feedback, but that’s all part of the process.
Shoes are amazing items to resell on eBay, and one of my personal favorites, because they are easy to source, have strong demand, and can sell for hundreds of dollars.
3 Tips for Selling Shoes on eBay
Now let’s cover a few tricks of the trade I’ve learned during years of selling that’ll help you grow your earnings on the platform.
1. People buy single shoes
Believe it or not, there’s quite a few shoe sales on eBay that are single shoes (only the left shoe or right shoe).
In fact, about 0.1% of shoe sales on eBay in the last 90 days were single shoes, or about 1,000 orders.
These shoes are most often purchased by people who lost a leg or sustained an injury.
2. Use serial numbers to identify shoes
Unless you are a hardcore sneaker collector, you’ll probably come across shoes you are not familiar with. This can be frustrating if the shoe appears to be valuable, but isn’t easily identifiable.
Luckily, almost every shoe has a serial number on the tongue that can be googled to quickly identify the brand and model.
From there you can add that information into eBay to get accurate pricing information.
3. Easy restoration tricks to boost sale price
If you plan on selling lots of shoes, you’ll want to learn a few basic restoration techniques.
Learning how to restore shoes does two things (1) allows you to buy and sell more shoes since you can resell shoes from thrift stores that need minor fixes, that most sellers pass on and (2) it allows you to sell shoes for higher prices.
My two favorite products to use for shoe restoration are: Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam and Angelus Easy Cleaner Sneaker Cleaner.
The wonder balsam works like magic at restoring leather (and removing surface scratches). Here’s a pair of boots I restored using this product.
The Easy Cleaner is a special formula cleaner that removes blemishes, dirt, and scuffs on almost any shoe surface.
Selling Shoes on eBay vs StockX
StockX is an online marketplace that focuses on selling collectable and high dollar items. They only sell a few categories of items, unlike eBay, but have grown to be a major marketplace for selling shoes online.
How to sell on StockX is pretty different from eBay, since users can only sell new shoes on StockX and don’t create listings.
This means you can skip a lot of work that’s required for eBay sellers. That said, you won’t be able to sell used shoes, which represents a large market share of shoe buying online.
In terms of fees, StockX charges anywhere from 8-10%, while eBay charges anywhere from 8-12.55%. Most shoe sellers selectively sell on both platforms depending on the shoes in question.
At the end of the day, both platforms have their strengths, which is why most serious shoe sellers use both.
As a runner up, I’d say shoe selling on Mercari is also very effective in my experience.
I’ve been selling shoes on eBay for the last 5 years, and believe it’s a must use platform for anyone interested in sneaker selling. Hopefully this guide helps make the process easier for you!
John-Paul Cody has been an avid online seller for years, across platforms including eBay, Mercari, Craigslist, and more. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from UNC Chapel Hill, and works in data analytics and marketing.