In a previous post, I implored adidas to do more with its newfound momentum by doing more with its most popular silo, the NMD, via bolder, more attention-grabbing colorways.
On Thursday, April 20th, adi did just that – but not with the NMD. Rather, the brand fulfilled my personal request with its all-new Iniki Runner, a Boost-infused , classically styled lifestyle shoe whose construction makes it something of a ‘NMD Robusto’, an NMD Plus.
For its own part, Nike had one important shoe release on the annual ‘stoner’s holiday’ – 4/20 – a retro Foamposite One, plus the ID version for its clog-like Vapormax. The Swoosh bookend its weekend slate with a Japan-exclusive NikeID AM Zero in two classic Atmos colorways – big whoop.
Jordan Brand, meanwhile, released another $400 retro V in Pure Platinum, plus a highly pedestrian Grade School exclusive 11 Low.
Outside of the big three, the other brands brought forth a strong contingent of kicks, headlined by Ronnie Fieg’s duo of Asics Gels, plus strong collaborative drops from both Vans and Reebok.
You heard it here first:
With the Iniki Runner, adidas has finally created that one undeniably fresh silhouette that, I believe, will convert sneaker buyers who’d been previously lukewarm to the NMD, whether they know it yet or not.
Let me explain.
Take a look at the most popular NMD drops, courtesy of data experts, StockX.
If one looks closely, it is apparent that on most NMD colorways, the ‘Three Stripe’ branding is subdued, in many cases literally melting into the side of the shoe so as be virtually invisible.
Indeed, in the few instances where an NMD colorway has featured a sharply-contrasting upper/ branding combination, the results have been some of the best looking drops to date.
It is nevertheless clear that the quasi-‘tonal’ look is at the core of adi’s vision for its NMD.
Iniki Runner Boost
With the Iniki, then, adidas has set about exploring its classic color blocking and branding.
This is a big move by adidas, perhaps drawing on the fact that its best-selling shoe of last year was the Superstar, a shoe upon which that iconic branding / silhouette combo is undeniably front and center.
Of the eighteen Iniki colorways to have released so far, nearly all besides the Black/Black colorway feature a clearly expressed Three Stripe branding on the upper. In addition to that, classic running shoe staples like a suede toe cap and heel counter, plus gum soles and the serrated stripes complete the new-meets-old effect.
It made perfect sense, then for the ‘Pride of the 70’s’ Iniki colorway to be the one buyers have chased the hardest in the aftermarket.
Easily the most retro-looking colorway, the Pride Iniki has both commanded the highest price premium in the aftermarket, and sold in the highest volume, no doubt due to its clear distinction from the NMD. The iniki stands on its own.
Another highly-popular Iniki colorway has been the Solar Yellow.
This style is interesting, because it is a not, technically, an OG classic, but rather a colorway adidas has previously reserved for select styles, many of which are performance shoes. The only ‘casual’ shoe to have gotten the treatment is an Ultra Boost.
That all-important contrasting color scheme, though, has proved the big draw for buyers.
With an excellent silo as the backbone, a Solar Yellow/ Black colorway would always stand out as an attention-grabbing look. Resale prices for the Solar Iniki have been capped around $200 with plenty of pairs left at far below that.
In fact, the majority of Iniki colorways resold on eBay have done so for less than $200, a clear reflection of the wiggle room a low ($120) MSRP allows for. The majority of pairs being resold are thus selling at a fair price – the best scenario in any aftermarket transaction.
Apart from the aforementioned Pride and Solar Yellow colorways , most of the initial Iniki rollout are tame. This, however, can easily change in the near future as subsequent colorways and inevitable collaborations hit shelves. The most important thing is that this shoe has the sort of upside I feel the NMD – its silhouette cousin – will never truly approach.
The sight of some styles still available for retail – from Adidas, no less – shows that the market as a whole has yet to catch up to the long-term significance the arrival of the Iniki represents for sneakers.
That is just fine for enlightened souls looking to get in on the bottom floor of a shoe that is the next big thing, and has snuck into the market more under-the-radar than it should be.
The two women’s exclusive NMD R1 drops from the 20th are only available from Adidas in the larger men’s sizes, but they’ve been scarcely chased into the aftermarket. The few pairs resold have fetched slightly over retail, another reason the NMD will soon make way for the Iniki in terms of significance: downward price trends.
The above will explain why both colorways of the two NMD XR1 colorways from the same day are sitting in a FSR two weeks after they released.
Nobody wanted the Navy NMD R2 – available here – and the Black, speckled pair has been price-capped at $200, with recent sales completed at retail……
As for the two women’s colorway of the R2, a general drop at the big box retailers ensured that these would be slow sells.
Find them here.
Adidas easily won the day in Thursday April 20th, but was once again out of the way by the time Saturday came, having dropped every single pair of its releases during the midweek.
Nike, on the other hand, had a handful of special releases on deck, highlighted by another classic Foamposite return. Joining that was the Vapormax ID option rollout, a 4/20-themed SB Dunk, and two Japan exclusive Air Max Zeros in Atmos colorways.
The copper foams went toe-to-toe with Adidas’ sneaker barrage on Thursday. Seeing as this shoe appealed to an entirely different buyer, it disappeared from online shelves.
After that , however, prices were capped at about $40-$50 over retail with much volatility.
I don’t think anyone will really be wearing the Vapormax in any significant numbers by this time next year. That is not something I feel an ID option for the shoe will prevent, either.
For now, however, there are still a few believers.
SB Dunk Low
The ‘cult silhouette’ SB Dunk had its worst year ever in terms of the perceived quality of the colorways which dropped in 2016.
Not only that, but there has been an encroaching cynicism among Dunk buyers in the aftermarket , a result of Nike doing an especially poor job of protecting the silhouette’s ‘prestige’ by releasing too many pairs of not only GRs but even limited collaborations and retros. When potential Grails such as the Brown De La Soul retro of 2015 are available two years later – deadstock – for a fraction of retail (often times having been rescued from various discount outposts for peanuts) that completely discredits the original retail price. Buyers feel burned, especially if they paid a price premium after the initial release.
Over time and continued devalued releases, these same buyers begin to distrust the integrity of subsequent drops, and trust in the Brand itself also diminishes. That distrust and cynicism has hit an all-time high with SB Dunk buyers. The viability of the SB Dunk market has thus hit an all-time low.
And yet, there are still enough Kool-Aid-sippers to support the sell-through of annual themed dunk drops such as the 4/20 ‘Galaxy’.
With its rather muddy upper, this was certainly not the most attractive of Dunk colorways. It was, nevertheless, limited (online at least), and sold out.
An aside: Exposure
But look at the prices for the shoe on Flight Club’s website: Prices ranging from retail to slightly over retail for most sizes.
Yes, the SB Dunk Low TRD QS ‘Galaxy’ did sell out, but that fact is as meaningless as the ‘TRD’ and the ‘QS’ in the Official Name of the shoe. The kicks are, more or less, worthless.
So, if cynicism is the new modus operandi for the SB Dunk faithful, it is merely a reflection of the way Nike continues to treat buyers as if they are , collectively, morons.
The aftermarket knows better, and is silently killing Nike’s credibility.
Air Max Zero
How easy was is to see through the marketing ploy the Swoosh executed with its final two drops of the weekend: the Atmos x NikeID Air Max Zero?
Plainly inspired by the Safari and Tiger Camo Air Max 1 Grails, the two AM Zero colorways were created by Atmos using NikeID, yet would be sold as standalone colorways exclusively in Japan. The question thus becomes “what the hell was the point of calling the shoe a NikeID collab?”
- why was it japan exclusive?
- Do most people even still like the Air Max Zero?
- Does this release have any real purpose?
The answer to the latter question: YES.
The purpose of this drop was to see just how much longer Nike can release shoes select jackasses see fit to pay $500 in the aftermarket for, even if they’re not sure they truly want it.
C’est la vie.
The $400 Platinum Retro V is still available in nearly every size via Footaction right here.
A (small) Rant:
If an OG like the Metallic V can be had for more-or-less retail nearly one year after it dropped ( and every other recent V is still in stores) what posessed MJ to think that buyers would leap to grab this concoction? Even the Take Flight V – a far more intriguing concept – has resold for less than its $400 tag, so the pricing on this release boggles the mind.
But then, this is the same Brand for whom somebody in management thought the Jordan Shine was worthy of a $400 tag as well.
The madness continues…..
Retro 11 Low GG
Oh yeah these dropped as well. Find em here.
And so does the steady-yet-measured way Ronnie Fieg releases kicks to remind buyers that he has what they need: curated flames, as always.
As he is wont to do , Fieg took the release of one of his highly-anticipated Gel Lyte III (volcano 2.0) drops to introduce buyers to an overlooked silhouette , in this case the Asics Gel Diablo.
‘Volcano’ being the official theme of the two-pair pack, it was logical that the kicks look like literal ‘heat’.
With the Diablo half of it, however, a mostly light colorway with hits of pink and red is seen, perhaps as a nod to the lava of a semi-awake volcano – who knows.
Anyway, the shoe has been as volatile in the aftermarket as an actual Vulcan is in real life, selling for between $220 and $300 (fifty over and nearly double box) with the majority of pairs moving via sellers with in store access, apparently.
The Main Event of the pack, the Volcano 2.0 Gel 3, was one of those early-bird-doubles-the-profits, sell-as-soon-as-you-leave-the-store sort of releases.
Fieg is known for pressing his bets with his surefire Grails, thus making it very expensive to play reseller with them. This meant that the Volcano Gel 3s got slapped with a $250 MSRP.
So in return, sellers have pressed their bets with true buyers in the aftermarket, asking the question “,can I get $500 or more for this shoe?”
For the most part, the answer has been ‘yes!’, as next-level collectors nod their heads and buy into the Volcano 2.0 maintaining its elite status as time passes. Is such a mentality the ‘way to be’ in a sneaker world of insta-Grails and collabo-mania?
Yes, provided the release itself maintains its prestige in the minds of those who, say, weeks, months , and years in the future say to themselves, “hmmm, I wonder if ‘x’ shoe is available somewhere?”
Will buyers still be typing ‘Fieg Volcano’ into Google/eBay search boxes one year from now?
For my money? Hell yeah they will.
This 4/20 homage pack sold out via its collaborator exclusive release, but has seen nearly zero action inna de aftah-mahjet bwoy. Lodda mercy bwoy!
The shoe billed as the first ever collaborative beween German boutique aFew and Italian sportswear outfit, Diadora, has made a couple of sellers a small mint from those who’ve seen fit to part with $600 for a pair.
What was easily one of the freshest Instapump Fury releases in a while , the Undefeated colorway – which mimics Allen Iverson’s OG signature shoes – sold out at its $180 box price, and have disappeared since, not a single pair resold on eBay as of this writing.