How to Hack Sneaker Con, the World’s Greatest Sneaker Convention

Sneaker Con’s biggest event to date comes to DC this weekend

Sneaker Con DC
Sneaker Con returns to DC this weekend
Sneaker Con DC

Sneakerheads, rejoice. Whether you’ve been on the hunt for your next pair of Jordans or just bought some Yeezys secondhand that are a little suspect, this weekend’s Sneaker Con, the largest sneaker convention in the country, has all the answers you need and more.

Coming to the Washington Convention Center this Saturday and Sunday (September 7-8), the event is set to feature “300 vendors and 150,000 pairs of major heat,” and attendees can also bring their own pairs with them for the chance to trade, sell, verify authenticity and more.

To get you ready for Saturday, we chatted with two guys in the know — co-founder Barris Vinogradov and KITH New York sales associate Jordan Bloom — about the wide world of sneakerdom, from the most exciting drops you’ll see at the event to how to spot a fake in the wild.

Sneaker Con
(Sneaker Con)

The Convention 

“Our first show outside of New York was in DC in 2011, and we were so surprised to see an even bigger turn out there than in NYC,” Vinogradov tells InsideHook. DC’s first Sneaker Con took place on H Street at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, and has since scaled up to this year’s massive event at the Washington Convention Center

Vinogradav founded Sneaker Con with his brother Alan and Yu-Ming Wu of in 2009 after experiencing the quick success of selling a pair of Bapestas on Ebay. “It’s just a real, positive culture and like nothing else in the world. [Sneaker culture] incorporates anything from sports to music to fashion,” he says. “From the Sneaker Con aspect, we’ve created a place where young kids can come and learn to do business. It’s like business school, but outside of the classroom. So it’s really a place for all ages.”

Those coming to Sneaker Con looking to learn more about the culture can also sit in on talks by panels of experts discussing various topics, such Jaysse Lopez aka Two Js from popular clothing store Urban Necessities and Troy Brown of the Washington Wizards.

The Trading Pit 

Beyond the hundreds of vendor booths at Sneaker Con is the Trading Pit, where attendees are able to buy, sell and barter. “The most interesting thing about Sneaker Con is that if you want to get into the resale game but you don’t have enough shoes to purchase a whole table, you can bring them to the trading pit,” says Vinogradov.

“For example, a kid that goes by ‘Unique Sneaks’ started out years ago at the Trading Pit, and now he’s grown his business to the point of $100,000 buyouts. It all started out with a couple of shoes at the trading pit.”

Sneaker Con will also authenticate new kicks for you. Stop by their authentication booth and grab an RFID tag — you’ll then be able to add your find to their online marketplace via an app available for IOS devices on the App Store. “So you know you’re always buying something legit,” says Vinogradov.

(Sneaker Con)

The Best Drops in the House

“Every single month there’s always something new and special to look forward to, and at Sneaker Con you’ll always find the latest. This week they’re dropping the Supreme x Nike Dunk Lows and they’re going to sell out for sure. The Jordan 1s that just dropped sold out and a lot of people weren’t able to get them. The best way to get them now is at Sneaker Con,” says Vinogradov.

Jordan Bloom, a sales associate at KITH in New York City, agrees. “Jordan 1s in Carolina Blue and Navy just came out this past weekend and that’s probably going to be a big seller at Sneaker Con,” he says. “Anything with Carolina Blue, because of Jordan’s tenure at the University of North Carolina, is going to have a lot of resale value.”

Bloom also tells us to keep our eyes out for anything from Virgil Abloh, the founder and owner of OFF WHITE. “Anything [Abloh] attaches his name to has immediate an incredible amount of value to it. Everything he’s done with Nike to incorporate Off-White and his own personal flair has stood out in the resale community because of its popularity with younger kids, as well as fans of the brand,” says Bloom.

Stay on the lookout for Abloh’s new The Ten collection, which has skyrocketed in value in recent months. “People have realized that those are still more coveted than the newer releases that continue to come out. You’ll still see pairs like the original OFF WHITE x Air Jordan 1s in the Chicago Colorway selling for upwards up $2,500 — where at first they may have been going for somewhere between $700 and $1,000 when they first came out in November 2017,” Bloom tells InsideHook. 

Sneaker Con
(Sneaker Con)

Don’t Forget the Classics

If you’re on the hunt for a pair of kicks that will continue to rack up value, set your sights on Kanye’s original collaborations with Nike before he ended up making his deal with Adidas. Classics like the Nike Air Yeezy 2s sell for ridiculous prices that go well above $10,000, as it’s believed that such a collaboration will never happen again. 

“Any original Air Jordan, particularly the Air Jordan Bred, Royal or Chicago from either 1985 or 1994 will always have great resale value no matter what,” Bloom says. “Aside from that, a pair that’s declined in value but will always have a strong resale presence is the Galaxy Foamposite because of the sheer chaos that shoe caused Nike during the 2012 All-Star Basketball Games when they were first introduced. It was only released in a handful of stores and absolutely everyone wanted to get their hands on them.”

The Best Bang for Your Buck

Been waiting to get your hands on some Yeezys? Now is the time. “A lot of the recent Yeezy shoes have gone down in resale value just because of how widely available they are, so you can find them on outlets like StockX and Grailed immediately after a release for as little as $15 over the retail value, and I’d imagine that at a convention as big as Sneaker Con it wouldn’t be any different. At Sneaker Con they could probably grab a pair of recent Yeezy 350s or 700s, or even 500s for as low as $200-$250, which is close to retail value,” says Bloom.

(Sneaker Con)

How to Spot a Fake

Can’t make it to the festival? The easiest way to spot a fake at home is from the execution of the shape and material of the shoe. “When I’m working here in Soho and I see a kid come in here with a fake pair of shoes, you can just tell so easily by how out of shape the pair looks compared to the ones on our wall — the same amount of care or passion hasn’t been put into the product,” says Bloom. 

If you’re at home, you can also take a look at tutorials on YouTube, which Bloom tells us can become available as soon as a few days after a release. “There are even Instagram pages like @yeezybusta that offer side-by-side comparisons showing how easy it is to spot a fake from an original.”

The biggest tip that that Bloom has for Sneaker Con goers is this: “Know your prices going in to make sure that you’re not getting taken advantage of. You can check for up-to-the-minute updates on how much shoes are going for on StockX, which works in the same way as the stock market.” 

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