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Forget Stocks and NFTs ... Buy Sneakers (If You Can Find Them)

Many rare sneaker models can resell used for five figures.

If the word sneakers brings up images of the beaten-up shoes you wear to the gym, you probably won't think of them and investment in the same sentence. Better think stocks, bonds or even NFTs if you're looking for something particularly volatile.

But sneaker collecting, or securing extremely rare shoe models and selling them at a profit, is lucrative if somewhat niche business — a number of in-demand kicks regularly sell for five figures.

"Streetwear has exploded in popularity over recent years with collectors and sneakerheads eager to get their hands on brand discount codes, to snap up the latest pieces for a bargain, with discount codes for Nike sneakers being the most sought after," reads a recent report compiled by discounting code site DealA.

I Can Get How Much For Those Sneakers?

According to some numbers crunched by the site, the most valuable sneaker model on the resale market is the Nike  (NKE) - Get Nike Inc. Report Dunk SB Low Paris.

With only around 200 models made for the 2002 "White Dunk" art exhibition in Paris, the shoes featuring artwork from expressionist artist Bernard Buffet are extremely rare and therefore often dubbed "the world's most expensive shoe."

Some versions are listed on clothing reseller StockX for over $500,000 while, according to DealA, the lowest ask for an unworn model on the market is currently $89,691. That is 149,385% more than the original retail price of $60.

"Only 202 pairs of these sneakers were made in the original 2003 production run and this rarity has upped their price by a jaw-dropping 149,385%," reads the report.

Another super-valuable sneaker model is the original Jordan 1 OG Bred. The 1985 collaboration between Nike and NBA legend Michael Jordan was what first set off decades of shoe collaborations and sneakerhead crazes to secure rare shoes.

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With the lowest asking price at $94,675, the ROI on the Jordan 1 OG Bred is a jaw-dropping 145,554% from the original $65 retail price.

"Possibly the holy-grail to sneakerheads, Jordan 1 OG Breds revolutionized the sports shoe and fashion industries when they were released in 1985," reads the report.

The Nike SB Dunk Low London, Nike SB Dunk Low Tokyo and the Jordan 1 OG Chicago all follow as the top five most valuable sneaker models; the lowest asking price for a new model of each is currently more than $22,000.

See the full list of the 50 most valuable sneaker models on the market HERE.

Should I Start Buying Up Every Sneaker I See?

While such ROIs can certainly set the wheels in many investors' minds into motion, the sneakerhead life requires fan-style devotion if it is to go from fan activity to genuine business strategy — one needs to be in tune with the community enough to understand which shoes are popular and which have the potential to become valuable years down the line.

But for those who track the latest sneaker trends, "flipping" can become an extremely profitable business. A Forbes story once featured a 19-year-old investor who put $132,000 worth of Yeezy Boost 350 Zyon sneakers on his credit card only to resell them within minutes and make over $20,000 in profit.

"When I'm not working on a high margin it really hurts me, but they don't do it for every sale, which is kinda weird," Joe Hebert told Forbes in 2021. "I still don't know the formula, and I've been asking for it for a while."