A British golf store thinks it may have found the perfect way to stop its highly exclusive sneakers from falling into the hands of resellers: getting buyers to ram a golf ball 200 yards into the distance.
U.K.-based golfwear store Trendygolf has got its hands on 144 limited edition Nike Jordan 1 low “Travis Scotts,” and is using unconventional means to try and sell them to its golfing customers.
The retailer is holding a raffle-focused launch where 72 lucky participants will get to buy the shoes at an “exclusive London venue” this Friday.
But winning the raffle is only half the battle if customers want to get their hands on the £154.95 ($188.60) sneakers.
Once they get to the event, the 72 participants will get two chances to drive a golf ball more than 200 yards, or more than 150 yards if they’re female. If they fail, they miss out on the chance to buy the shoes.
“This is to ensure that the shoes are being purchased by golfers rather than resellers,” the press release says.
The customers will attempt to win the sneakers at Pitch Soho, part of a chain of indoor golf clubs that lets patrons drive a ball into a screen to simulate a real shot. The golfers angling for the sneakers will be placed in a simulation of the Ryder Cup.
Shoes for golfers
While it’s an unconventional way to sell sneakers, Chris Collick, head of content and marketing at Trendygolf, told Fortune it’s the only way to stop them from falling into the hands of customers with ulterior motives.
Last year, Collick says Trendygolf sold out their batch of Air Jordan 1 Low G Golf Shoes in two minutes. However, he was later flooded with complaints from customers who claimed the shoes had been picked up by bots operated by resellers.
Collick said last year’s Nike Jordan 1s were selling for up to three times those sold by Trendygolf. On StockX, a sneaker auction site, the new Travis Scott sneaker is listed at £950 (around $1,160), nearly 10 times what the retailer is selling its batch for.
“The biggest thing for us and the biggest thing for Nike releasing this shoe is we wanted it to go the hands of golfers who were going to wear them on the course, and wear them proudly being a golf shoe,” Collick said.
“It eliminates the fact that it’s going to a reseller. We know it will at least go to a golfer who can play.”
The 100 best drivers on the PGA tour can throttle a ball more than 300 yards on average, according to data compiled by CBS. While there’s limited official data on the average driving distance of an amateur, analysis by golf technology group Shot Scope suggests most can drive a ball at least 200 yards.
Chris is confident that his golfing customers will comfortably manage to hit a ball 150 or 200 yards.
“I’ve just had heart surgery four weeks ago and I could still probably hit the ball 200 yards in recovery,” he said. Still, Collick joked that resellers might still be panic-booking golf lessons in advance of Friday’s launch.
The second half of Trandygolf’s allocation of sneakers will be sold in a normal online raffle.
However, Collick thinks the idea of crafting a bespoke customer base through some form of test is one that could catch on. He suggested skaters could prove they can do a kickflip in order to buy a pair of limited Nike Dunks.
$30 billion market
The shoe resale market has exploded in recent years, driven largely by a combination of hype and scarcity. Cowen Group, an investment management company, predicts that the global sneaker resale market will swell from $6 billion in 2020 to $30 billion by 2030.
Sneakers are sold second-hand on websites like StockX, GOAT, and eBay for hundreds of dollars over their price on the primary market.
Resellers will either buy in bulk and operate at lower margins, or try going for more exclusive individual launches that can sell at markups into the thousands.
Sneaker companies have leaned into this trend with their own exclusive launches, one of which is the Nike and Travis Scott collaboration being sold by Trendygolf.
Because they’re highly speculative, there’s no hard and fast rule to pricing sneakers. Kobia Redd, a shoe reseller from Boston, told NBC News he sets the prices of his shoes based on hype, and compared the assets to stocks.
He told NBC he a pair of Yeezy’s, originally costing $200, were going on resale markets for $5,000.
Last year, Nike said it would begin clamping down on resellers using artificial technology to jump the line and buy sneakers with the intention of making a profit. The seller said it could cancel online orders found to be made using special software.