Sneaker obsession could turn into full-time job

Money can be made buying, selling sneakers

By Eryka Washington - Investigative Reporter

The sneaker game is a serious business. Buying, selling and trading sneakers is a full time job where lots of money can be made.

"He dyed the sole too so I know they were already messed up before," 16-year-old Mathew Carabello said.

Robert Walker better known as "King of Kicks" says, "it's a very lucrative business if you know what you're doing."

Walker stays on top of the sneaker game thanks to his relationships.

"Just about every major shoe store Footlocker, Foot Action, Champs I actually know the manager personally," Walker said.

This gives Walker a better chance of getting his hands on "popular sneakers" that are limited and tough to find.

When a limited sneaker is released, only a few are sent out to stores across the country. That's when you see long lines of people waiting, outside stores, hoping to buy the shoe.

"I've taken my little lawn chair and sat there for hours over night," Matthew said.

"All he thinks of is shoes, day in day out. He's on the phone, on computer, on Twitter on Facebook, text messaging all he thinks of shoes, shoes, shoes!" said Margarita Carabello, Mathew's mom.

Mathew says to succeed, you must know the rules.

"It's important not to trade an over-valued shoe for an under-valued shoe," he said.

Its sneaker shows where Mathew uses his negotiating skills, whether buying or trading.

So who is buying these shoes? Anyone who can afford it. Young, old, black and white sneaker heads say shoes are for everyone.

"Most of the guys who are going to attend this love sneakers," said Jason Clinton, Sneaker Shows coordinator. "They just don't want to come in and buy a pair of shoes they are looking for shoes that's not going to be in the mall, not going to be able to order them online."

Clinton takes his "upscale" sneaker show from city to city across the country.

"We go to little places like Highland Park, Illinois, places that guys never heard of but they love sneakers just like the big city guys," Clinton said.

Ninety percent of the attendees bring sneakers and are looking to make a deal.

A vendor can make up to $7,000 to $8,000 in a couple of hours.

The shoes below are sold out in stores and only available online:

  • Foamposit Galaxy: In store it'll cost $230 vs. online $1,300
  • Lebron Cork Shoes: Retails $220 vs. online $900
  • Kayne West has shoe called "Nike Air Yeezy" Retails $200 vs. online it'll cost you $1,500 or more

Sellers can make over a 300 percent profit.  That's why so many sneaker heads try to buy shoes when they are first released in stores.

The Florida Mall has had its fair share of drama surrounding the release of sneakers. Fights have broken out and police have had to shut everything down.

To avoid scenes like this, many stores now have a lottery system. If your name is picked you get to buy the sneaker.

As for Mathew, his collection continues to grow, but his mom does have one complaint.

"I don't see the profit because everything he makes he reinvests it in shoes," she said.

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