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Why the Sneaker Market Matters

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In recent years, analytics has changed the way we look at sports and politics, but it's also seeped into areas that we wouldn't have dreamed of a decade ago. According to a recent TED Talk by Josh Luber, rare sneakers aren't just collectibles. The secondary sneaker market, driven by a legion of tastemakers and influencers, functions as a model for the stock market. As the founder of a company, Campless, that collects data about this market and analyzes it for collectors and investors, Luber identifies a single entity that has the power to upend the market on a whim:

The sneaker market is just supply and demand, but Nike's gotten very good at using supply -- limited sneakers -- and the distribution of those sneakers to their own benefit. So it's really just supply. Sneakerheads joke that as long as it's limited and Nike, they'll buy it. Shoes that sell for 8,000 dollars do so because they're very rare. It's no different than any other collectible market, only this isn't a market at all. It's a false construct created by Nike -- ingeniously created by Nike, in the most positive sense -- to sell more shoes. And in the process, it provided tens of thousands of people with life-long passions, myself included. If Nike wanted to kill the resell market, they could do so tomorrow, all they have to do is release more shoes.

Watch Luber's entire TED Talk in the clip below.