From TV shows (think “Fuller House”) to clothing (fanny packs!), it’s clear that nostalgia is a big motivator when it comes to consumer preference. And what’s old is new again for sneakers too. Kicks are big business — in 2017 athletic footwear was about a $20 billion industry, and if you look around at people’s feet, you can see that retro kicks are a big part of that pie.
So why do people love retro sneaks? For that, we turn to a GOAT. Founded in 2015 in Los Angeles, GOAT is a mobile platform on which people safely buy and sell authentic new and used sneakers. In February, GOAT merged with boutique New York City sneaker store Flight Club to become the largest sneaker marketplace in the world, with a combined 11 million members.
Matt Cohen, GOAT’s VP of business development, says two types of consumers go for retros — those who “experienced the OG release first hand” and newbies.
“For older consumers, there is also a huge nostalgia factor associated with retro sneakers. Maybe they weren't able to get that shoe before, and when they see it on the shelf again it brings back a wave of memories and emotions,” said Cohen.
Shoes from the 80s and 90s fit in seamlessly with newer releases because they were designed and colored up in compelling ways, said Cohen.“Seeing new colors come to life on classic styles can be just as exciting and impressive as the original release.”
Top five bestsellers on GOAT
In that spirit, let’s take a look at the top 5 bestselling sneakers on GOAT — and they’re all Jordans:
#1 Air Jordan 11 Retro 'Concord' 2018 — Price on GOAT $250
It’s no surprise that this shoe came in at number 1. The Air Jordan 11 is arguably the greatest basketball shoe that ever made. The design was revolutionary for its mesh upper and and signature black patent leather overlay. What makes this shoe even more coveted is the fact that MJ wore this model during the magical 1995-1996 season in which the Chicago Bulls dominated the NBA with a 72-10 record and cruised to their 4th NBA championship. Another feature that makes this shoe so special is the story behind the silhouette. Jordan, a well-known car enthusiast, had the shoe designed to look like a convertible with the shiny patent leather acting as the body of the car and the mesh upper portraying the ragtop.
#2 Air Jordan 3 Retro OG 'Black Cement' 2018 — Price on GOAT $240
The term “OG” gets thrown around far too much in the sneaker game, but the Air Jordan Retro 3 ‘Black Cement’ is as OG as you can get. In the summer of 1987, Jordan was coming up on his third year in the NBA, and it was clear that he was turning into one of the best players in the game, which was great for his sponsor Nike (NKE.) But bad for Nike was the fact that Jordan’s contract was coming up for negotiation, and there was an inkling that he might jump ship to another company. Nike knew they needed something big to keep MJ, so they took a shot on a talented but unknown sneaker designer named Tinker Hatfield. Hatfield would not only go on to design the Air Jordan 3, he would go on to create most of the sneakers MJ wore throughout his NBA career. The Air Jordan 3 is the first Jordan model to sport a visible air unit. The shoe is also known most for the elephant print on the toe and heel that contrast with its jet-black leather upper.
#3 Travis Scott x Air Jordan 4 Retro 'Cactus Jack' — price on GOAT $370
It makes sense that the sneaker coming after the Air Jordan 3 on our list is the Air Jordan 4. In keeping with the Air Jordan tradition of the next shoe borrowing with the previous shoe, we can definitely see the similarities. However, what sets this particular Jordan 4 apart is the collaboration with Rapper Travis Scott. The Scott-inspired shoe pays tribute to his hometown of Houston, Texas, with an old-school Houston Oilers blue, red and white colorway. Another noted feature is Scott’s pseudonym “Cactus Jack” displayed on the left heel.
#4 Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG 'Bred Toe' — price on GOAT $370
The Air Jordan 1 is the shoe that changed the basketball sneaker game forever. The 2018 ‘Bred Toe’ variation put a new spin on an old classic. The shoe comes with a Chicago Bulls red, black and white colorway, with the stand-out feature being the ‘Bred’ (black and red) colors on the toe.
#5 Air Jordan 11 Retro 'Win Like '96' — price on GOAT $260
The Air Jordan 11 retro is so nice it appears on this list twice. The ‘Win Like ‘96’ version of this classic shoe had people seeing red … but in a good way. The bold all-red upper pays tribute to the incredible 1996 Bulls championship team. A white midsole and translucent ‘icy’ bottom show that color blocking is always crucial when it comes to retros.
Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade
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