If you’re a sneakerhead, you probably know all about the drama that comes with building your collection: coveted, limited edition runs; bidding wars; shop-drop raffles; buying frenzies that rival the quest for Glastonbury tickets. And that's just a few examples. Complicating all this further is the lack of transparency and authentication in online shopping. Increasing demand has generated a growing counterfeit industry, with scammers posing as resellers, claiming to have a pair of must-have Nike Air Jordans or New Balance 530s which then turn out to be fakes. Whether you’re a trainer fanatic or just investing in a new pair of kicks, they're screwing everyone over.
Luckily, eBay – undoubtedly the country’s favourite sneaker marketplace, last year selling a pair every nine seconds – is doing something about it. The platform has launched its very first authentication centre to facilitate an ‘authenticity guarantee’ on sneakers over £150 in the UK. They’ll be working with an independent team of industry experts from Sneaker Con to fully vet and verify any pair within this price bracket. Right now, the programme authenticates the most popular sneaker styles and brands on the marketplace – namely Nike, adidas and New Balance – in new and used condition. By the end of the year it will grow to include many more brands and sneakers at lower price points.
The programme does come with a cost – an extra 5% fee for sellers – but it means that both sellers and buyers can shop with confidence; absolutely vital when you may be shelling out a month’s paycheque on a new pair!
eBay’s sneaker category manager (and self-confessed sneakerhead) Wahaaj Shabbir knows this only too well, saying in a press release: "Sneakerheads come to eBay to buy and sell exclusive sneaker drops that are hard to get your hands on. The most expensive pair of trainers we have sold on the platform so far are the Dior Air Jordan1 AJ1 High OG Grey sneakers which sold for £7k. When you are trading anything worth that much, a guarantee of authentication and protection and knowing that eBay has you covered is so important."
How exactly does eBay’s Sneaker Authentication Guarantee work?
When a sneaker purchase is made, the seller ships it directly to eBay's authentication centre where each pair is put through a rigorous assessment by independent, third-party inspectors. Every pair which is part of the programme will receive a comprehensive, multi-point, physical inspection by Sneaker Con’s inspectors, ensuring that they are consistent with the listing title, description and images, checking the box, shoes and accessories. An eBay tag embedded with NFC chip technology is attached to guarantee authenticity and finalise the process, driving confidence in the collectability and resale value. Having passed inspection, sneakers will then be sent via expedited shipping to the buyer.
Does eBay’s Sneaker Authentication Guarantee affect returns?
Yes, for sellers who choose to offer returns, eBay's sneaker authentication programme ensures the exact item sold is returned to the seller via a verified returns process. Returns are shipped back directly to the authentication centre, where the third-party experts verify each item and its condition before returning to the seller. A win-win for buyers and sellers alike!
Our top picks from eBay’s sneaker edit...
Considering eBay’s authentication programme, we couldn’t help but do a little window shopping ourselves. Below, you’ll find our sneaker wish list…
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