Although sneaker resale platforms like GOAT, StockX and Stadium Goods have recently made headlines as the $2 billion-$3 billion industry continues to grow, outdoor footwear is the next largest footwear category in resale—and eBay has a plan to capitalize on that.
As more styles become acceptable for formal or work environments, the boot is becoming a better value proposition for consumers and, according to the head of footwear at eBay, Jeff Chan, the platform resold four pairs of boots every minute in 2018. That makes boots the next most valuable footwear category for the retailer after only sneakers.
Edited reports that, over the last two years, hiking-inspired footwear has seen a 260 percent increase in products stocked by premium and luxury brands to accompany the skyrocketing popularity of sneakers.
“Sneakers are a wardrobe essential these days and there is an incredible amount of interest and appetite around the streetwear sector, especially surrounding the collectible and rare sneaker drops,” Chan said, acknowledging that his team expends a great deal of effort to stay on top of the latest releases for eBay’s sneaker resale community.
But, Chan says, you need a different touch when it comes to outdoor footwear.
“With boots, we tend to focus more broadly on trends, both seasonal and fashion trends. For instance, we’ll market in-season styles like winter boots, booties, shearling, work boots, lace-ups, flat styles, open toe for spring/summer,” Chan said. “We react to what we are seeing trend-wise, as well as what is popular with our buyers, in order to serve them the most relevant merchandise possible.”
eBay says the demographics of consumers in the outdoor footwear resale market are split fairly evenly between men and women, with a slight tilt towards women when including fashion boots. However, outdoor boot brands like Dr. Martens, Red Wing and Timberland tend to do better with men—accounting for more than 75 percent of the gross market value in among these shoppers.
The most popular brands in resale for men, according to Chan, also included Ariat and Danner. Women, he said, prefer Ugg, Sorel, Frye and both Dr. Martens and Timberland.
Simply having a plan for boots and outdoor footwear puts eBay in a different position compared to other footwear resale platforms. GOAT and Stadium Goods declined an interview with Sourcing Journal but StockX acknowledged that its platform was not designed to appeal to consumers looking to purchase outdoor footwear from a resale platform. All three tend to carry outdoor footwear only when it is part of a collaboration with a reputable sneaker brand.
eBay has an advantage in outdoor footwear resale due to its native position in the resale market and the company has made strides recently to remind consumers that its platform is still a great option for both buyers and sellers of footwear—even as its competitors tout features like built-in authenticity verification.
For instance, in anticipation of the NBA’s All-Star Game in Charlotte, N.C., on Feb. 17, eBay sponsored a massive sneaker drop sourced from the personal collections of famous sneakerheads and held a pop-up event in the city in collaboration with Highsnobiety and NBA star, P.J. Tucker of the Houston Rockets.
Chan says eBay has another plan for its outdoor footwear market. The retailer is working on a new curated men’s outdoor event that will showcase the best-selling brands on the platform for both clothing and footwear—helping to elevate the category even further in the minds of its consumers.