The weekend ending March 18th was a simple one, featuring just a few releases from the Big Three. The Biggest drop, however , was the Atmos Air Max 1 ‘Elephant’ retro.
This, naturally, meant that Nike took center stage. Rival adidas had one hot drop (a quasi-restock) to offer, and subsidiary Jordan Brand’s ‘Big Drop’ was a two-pair ‘Package’ that directly tied-into The Swoosh’s drop. Nothing major came from the other brands.
First things first:
Retro 12 Low
The Wolf Grey Low 12 can be found here.
Ditto the above for this.
The Air Max 1 Saga
Air Max 1 Ultra 2.0
Nike stole the show for the week early, in a way that was somewhat unexpected: dropping an ‘Ultra’ version of OG Sport Red colorway that so many had struck-out on just ?weeks ago.
It did this on a Thursday.
I’m not sure whether Nike worked out the logistics of this release date specifically in order to have the shoe go toe-to-toe with the Triple Black NMD ‘ribbed’, but that’s how it panned out.
And this release sold out.
Was it FOMO that drove the strong sales for Ultra Sport Red AM 1, buyers telling themselves they’d better buy it, because it could be the closest they may ever get to owning the colorway in any shape or form anytime soon?
It must’ve been, because the sell-through was followed by strong support in the aftermarket volume- wise, with prices strongly capped at $200, then descending steadily through the weekend to about $160-ish.
It was also telling that sales of the previously unwanted Flyknit version of the Sport Red saw a slight bump in volume and price, all while prices for the True Oh-Jeez settled at a more sane $300-$350 range.
That’s what sort of chain reaction FOMO leads to; more on that later in the ‘conspiracy theory’ section.
Interlude: Foamie Friday
Not I, but it’s clear to all by now that this shoe was limited, and sold out, even at that cough-inducing $250 box price.
The $20 price hike caused an interesting confusion in the aftermarket, with sales price-capped at around $330, just about $60 in profits when one accounts for taxes. Meanwhile, some sales were consummated at below retail for noob sellers who bailed on what was probably looking like a very expensive dud they could neither make a killing on, nor rest assured wouldn’t get overshadowed by what Saturday had to offer.
There’s no telling what level of significance the Silver Surfer Foams will ultimately obtain. For now, though, it looks to be quite slight.
….Now Back to our regularly scheduled programming…..
When the news broke that the Atmos Air Maxes were dropping as part of a Jordan 3 Pack, hopeful buyers were surely surprised: a $150 cop had just been turned into a $400 one. Moreover, anybody who’d been hopeful of avoiding the ‘Jordan Crowd’ on the low had been hoodwinked it seemed.
Needless to say, there was a collective sigh of relief once it became clear the shoe would also release as a standalone pair.
Now would come the challenge of actually obtaining one (or more) of said pairs.
The Atmos drop was, not surprisingly, going to follow in the same vein as the previous two, meaning it would be an absolute headache to cop.
Nevertheless, in my personal attempt to chase ‘easy money (no Durant), I quickly decided to target Concepts NYC.
Having learned from my error in passing on that store in chasing the Sport Reds, I figured it made the most sense to try the only store confirmed to have pairs on a FCFS (first come, first serve) basis.
Harlem’s Atmos outpost was another logical choice, but intel gleaned from the Niketalk forum informed me that it was a ‘wristband reservation’ drop, and I’d already missed the queue for that. Everywhere else- Kith, Niketown, Extra Butter- was raffelinos.
Concepts it was (with fingers crossed).
On Saturday morning, New York was still digging itself out from under a late-Winter Noreaster four days prior. I was not looking forward to standing in a line outside Concepts’ Hudson Street spot on the Far West side of lower Manhattan; an hour was all I’d give to the chase.
As it turned out, I didn’t arrive on the scene until about thirty minutes before it’s 11AM opening time. I took a place at the end of the not-too-bad line, around the corner from the entrance, where a clump of thirsty buyers was amassed.
An aside: life inside the resale struggle
I saw that I was behind a trio of Asian gents who’d already copped a pair from Kith, and we’re searching for more. It was clear to me what the makeup of the group was:
one sneakerhead (Mr. Joggers-and-8-Ball-Gel-Lyte-Vs, on the far right) was small-time reseller looking for a big payday, and he’d convinced two otherwise uninterested family members to come along. If everything went according to plan, well, the three would pretend complete and utter ignorance of the other’s identities, and scoop up three more pairs, Lord willing.
After all, the only thing us in line were waiting for was a wristband for a guaranteed pair (any size available, thank you). Once we’d obtained that (a likely outcome, given the calm with which folks in line stood in the cold), it was ‘on like Donkey Kong’.
It was soon after I’d finished such musings, and a second after my section of the line had finally rounded the corner , when one of the ‘security’ guys announced that ticket distribution was over: anyone still empty-handed would not be getting a pair.
Like most of the last-in-line ‘L’ takers, I shrugged at the realization of what I’d been hoping against (but knew was likely inevitable), and walked away like “Fuck the Atmos Air Maxes.”
I didn’t even check the immediate resale activity on eBay after leaving Concepts, because I knew the deal; it was a broken record: ridiculously high price premiums, because Nike was, once again, playing games.
Eventually, for the sake of due diligence, I did get visual confirmation of my intuition.
The action was hot-and-heavy for the “I neeeed thoooose” Elephant Air Max, with prices fluctuating wildly between Grail-level prices of $500, and Super-Grail-level $700, with even a few bridge-jumpers paying the ‘8-piece’. As always, once the lunatics had fattened the PayPal accounts of the well-connected and the lucky (raffle winners), prices settled to around $500-$550, Grail status.
This was the sort of thing one particular Niketalk member was referencing when he’d made a hilarious, hypothetical threat to the Swoosh proposing a switch of allegiance to adidas if he kept ‘striking out’ on the hottest pairs.
For other Niketalk members, their sentiments towards Nike’s marketing for the Air Maxes were not nearly as light-hearted.
The Low Down
But is there a hidden logic to what has clearly been an overly-restricted release strategy for the Collector Edition Air Maxes? Is Nike leveraging the resale market in a way never entirely seen before? Are the retro Air Max 1 Grails merely advertising for other similar yet sliiiiiightly different silhouettes?
If you ask me, the answer is yes.
I pointed out the resale activity that the Sport Red kicked off: inducing buyers – who’d not only missed out, but would likely never own a pair if doing so meant shelving out half of a thousand dollars – to chase the Ultra version in the identical colorway. The OG was the bait, the Ultra the switch.
It was the same story with the Atmos AM 1, but in that case, Nike was looking to use hype surrounding the hyper-limited pair in order to market not a shoe, but a shoe concept : Nike I.D.
It was on Friday that – sandwiched between the two Air Max 1 drops – heads were informed of the new Safari Print ID option for the AM 1 FLyknit on the website, just as the College ID option for the Air Force 1 and Dunk debuted just prior to March Madness. Both ‘special’ styles are tie-ins designed to spur sales of a silhouette (Air Max 1 Ultra), and big idea (design your own shoe at a premium price, for a limited time only).
Was Nike hoping to use the Atmos AM 1 (which actually features Elephant print, not Safari) to promote a FOMO-induced urge to plunk down Two-hundred instead of Four or Five-hundred bucks for a ‘fresh’ AM 1 alternative?
I’ve not a clue. The above is merely an observation, a possible explanation to make sense of what would otherwise necessarily be interpreted as Nike having forgotten how to market can’t-miss shoe releases.
It’s simply too early to make such a bold declaration about the most valuable apparel brand in the world, regardless of what #5 on that list appears to have going on right now.
As for the Atmos AM 1 x AJ 3 drop, welp, they’re logically being treated as Grails, each pair being presumably valued at $500+ apiece, since the pack is selling for not a penny less than $1k on eBay for all but the most foolish sellers.
C’est la vie.
The Triple Black NMD made an official return for adidas in a ‘ribbed’ construction on the 16th, although it supposedly dropped unannounced on the 14th, according to Sneaker News.
Anyway, the usual sequence of events happened: sell out, then resale in good volume at a tightly-capped $200 and less.
Dame Lillard 3
Full Size Run right here for this shoe.
End x RBK Instapump Fury
The “Black Salmon” Instapumps sold out, but it’s the Pink Salmons that people want in the resale market. Of course, as the above pic shows, there’s always one.
New Balance 1978
Find the above right Here.