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What are Sample Sneakers?

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Author: Milan Lengyeltoti

Published: June 29 2021

Sneaker companies like Nike and Adidas often create one-of-a-kind sample sneakers. There are many reasons why brands make samples of their products. One is that they want to test the sneakers' durability and wearability before mass manufacturing them. Another is that they manufacture a sneak only for celebrities, athletes and their friends & family. What makes a pair of kicks a sample? They are limited to a very few or even just one pair and never get released to the public in large quantities.

However, while sneaker samples are rare, this doesn't mean that all of them are valuable. Sometimes they might look and feel the same as the final product, in which case the sample isn't worth much. In other cases, they might differ significantly from the final product or not even get released to the public ever. This can make its price surge to some insane levels, like these 6000$ Nike x Off-White Zoom Flys in TomStefaniuk's video.


How to Get Sample Kicks?

The easiest way is to get them from outlet stores. Sneaker manufacturers dump unsold and sample products into their clearance stores. You probably won't find ultra hyped sneaker samples here, rather general models in sample colorways or with minimal differences from the final product.

The more difficult but more effective way would be finding a "plug" who sources samples straight from the brand's factory or R&D department. From there, you could get some very rare pieces that could go for thousands of dollars on the aftermarket.

The expensive way would be buying a sample from StockXGoat, or other reselling marketplaces. However, there are very few samples that you can find on these platforms. eBay is another excellent place to hunt for sample kicks with a bigger repertoire, but be very cautious here. There are a lot of fakes on eBay since they don't authenticate products, unlike StockX or Goat.


Is It Safe To Buy Samples?

The biggest downside of buying sample kicks is that they can be impossible to authenticate, especially a 1 of 1 model. This is the reason why marketplaces like StockX and GOAT only offer a very narrow range of sample kicks since they can't authenticate them. There is nothing to refer to during authentication, so you can never be sure that the sample you are purchasing is legit.

That's why you must rely on your own judgment based on the seller's story on how they got it. There are usually no box and tags that come with the sneaks, so you are left with a sneaker that you can't really compare to anything else on the market.

Sample kicks are more for die-hard collectors and those who can't wait for the product to release or buy a similar pair that is already on the market. You're probably going to have a hard time selling sample pairs if you decide to do so however.