Nike is selling used sneakers directly to consumers.
The company has announced the launch of Nike Refurbished, a program that takes sneakers returned by customers within 60 days of purchase and inspects and cleans them up for resale at a lower price to the brand’s loyalists.
Nike is initially making Refurbished shoes available in 15 of its stores with plans to expand to more locations this year and beyond.
The market for secondhand sneakers has grown significantly in recent years, with the high end, in particular, taking off. Nike is the clear leader in this category. Sneakerheads spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars to purchase some of the brand’s iconic models. A recent article on Six Figure Sneakerhead listed specific Nike shoes as 11 of the top 12 highest priced sneakers in the current resale market.
Nike puts returned sneakers into three categories, depending on their condition: “like new” shoes worn only “for a day or two,” “gently worn,” and “cosmetically flawed.” Items in this last designation could have some defect as a result of an error in the manufacturing process, or perhaps a smudge by the previous owner.
In all cases, Nike inspects returned sneakers and refurbishes them as close to brand new as possible before giving them their condition designation and sending them off to one of the brand’s stores for purchase. Pricing for each item is based on the model and its relative condition.
Shoe boxes include messaging telling shoppers what conditions the shoes are in. Each of the refurbished models is covered by Nike’s 60-day wear test. Customers can return the sneakers at any point during that time if the shoes do not meet their requirements.
The brand is promoting the new service as not just a less expensive means for loyalists to buy sneakers, but also as part of its Nike Zero program to achieve its zero carbon and waste goals. Returned sneakers not included in the Refurbished program are either donated to Nike’s community partners or recycled for use in other products.
Nike was recently named as the most valuable apparel brand in the world for the seventh consecutive year by Brand Finance.