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This Louis Vuitton Sneaker Is Silicon Valley’s Latest Status Symbol

What if I were to tell you that the most happening sneaker on the red-hot resale market wasn’t a $1,269 pair of Adidas Yeezy Boosts or a $1,515 retro Air Jordan design, but a high-top released by a French brand known for leather travel trunks and monogrammed handbags?

At the moment, rare and high-end sneakers are so highly valued that their re-sale prices can exceed the original sticker price. Shoppers most often find pre-owned kicks on sites like Stock X or eBay, where a bid of $1,750 might win a pair of Nike 4 Graffiti NYC Lebron basketball shoes. There is another market, though, for sneakers made by fashion brands such as Lanvin and Gucci.

One example is the Real Real, an online luxury shop where you can find a vintage Hermès bag, a set of Lalique Champagne flutes, and a $1,200 pair of black nylon Chanel high-tops with tonal stitching, contrasting rubber soles, and quilted leather insoles. This is a meaningful indicator for fashion brands, which can offer steeper markups on the accessories that make up a key part of their profit margins.

Common Projects Achilles low-top sneaker, the best selling sneaker on secondary market site the Real Real.

Source: TheRealReal

To find out which of these are actually highly sought after, we asked the Real Real to give us a geographic break-down of its top-selling sneakers. 

As a whole, anti-flashy white low-tops dominate. In New York, and in the nation at large, the Real Real’s best-seller is the Common Projects Achilles low-top

Made in Italy since 2004, the Common Projects shoe is a durable, smartly constructed sneaker that refuses to go out of style. It’s simpler than a Stan Smith and, starting at $375, is only about five times the price. Part of its beauty is its inconspicuousness. No one will ever say, “What are those?,” largely is because anyone inclined to do so already knows.

A San Francisco Treat

But when the Real Real broke down the data to focus only on San Francisco and Silicon Valley, a list otherwise marked by the minimalism of Lanvin and Givenchy shoes revealed an outlier at the top spot: the Louis Vuitton Damier high-top

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Louis Vuitton Damier high-top, the best-selling sneaker in San Francisco on the secondary market site the Real Real.

Source: TheRealReal

Louis Vuitton has produced the shoe in many styles, but they all share the same basic scheme, and the Graphite Heroes model pictured here is, on the Real Real, is the most popular style of the most popular sneaker in San Francisco and its techiest environs. 

This flamboyant version of the shoe—resembling as it does a hybrid of a vintage Ponys and a pair of Vans—is no longer in production. While you can find its former retail price listed as $745, Graham Wetzbarger, the Real Real’s head of authentication, says that $515 should be closer to the mark. He dates its debut to the fall 2008 collection: “It was the Marc Jacobs era under menswear designer Paul Helbers who was at Louis Vuitton until 2011.”

And in this context, the checkered pattern (an LV logotype since 1888) encourages comparison to another, different style of Vans. In other situations, these shoes might invite comparisons to ladies’ handbags, but the creators of this distinctive pattern seem to have stumbled into a sweet spot and accidentally created the Bay Area’s most high-end skater shoe. 

The complete list of the top five bestselling sneakers on the Real Real—broken down by cities San Francisco and New York City and the U.S. overall—is below:

United States

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Adidas X Yeezy Boost 350 V2, the fifth-best-selling sneaker on the Real Real.

Source: TheRealReal

 

  1. Common Projects Achilles low-top
  2. Buscemi 100MM high-top
  3. Balenciaga Arena high-top
  4. Valentino Garavani Rockrunner
  5. Adidas X Yeezy Boost 350 V2

After the Common Projects shoe is the Buscemi 100MM. In any color, the Buscemi makes even an electric-blue Arena look as discrete as an undertaker’s oxford. Let’s talk about the 18-carat-gold-plated padlocks on the ankles. I thought it possible that these ornaments might represent commentary on the absurd values ascribed to luxury sneakers in general. (Which would qualify the shoes as witty.) The designer is now offering a $132,000 version featuring locks decorated with 11.5 carats of diamonds. (Which qualifies it as a thoughtful gift for the most cherished member of your entourage.) 

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Balenciaga’s Arena, third on the list of best-selling sneaker on site the Real Real.

Source: TheRealReal

The Balenciaga Arena is in third place here, a lambskin number unifying themes introduced by the fifth- and fourth-place sneakers. It is purely a fashion item—it looks like a hiking boot for walking an extremely arduous red carpet—and, as paparazzi photos show, it hasmet the approval of Kim Kardashian’s husband. Kanye West, he of the Yeezy, has boasted that he is responsible for 50 percent of Balenciaga’s shoe sales; just because he’s an egomaniac doesn’t mean he’s incorrect.

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Valentino Rockrunners

Source: TheRealReal

While a running shoe like the Boost makes plausible claims about the technology that helps some people actually run well in it, the Rockrunner prefers to direct shoppers’ attention to the series of rubberized pyramidal studs standing proud as any logo at the heel stabilizer. Striking but not loud, arty but unpretentious, it is generally a likeable shoe, as long as we concede that the only athletic activity for which it is correct is brunch.

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Source: TheRealReal

New York City

  1. Common Projects Achilles low-top
  2. Balenciaga Arena high-top
  3. Maison Margiela Replica low-top
  4. Adidas x Yeezy Boost 350 V2 
  5. Gucci Ace low-top

There’s a lot of overlap with the U.S. in general, and the significant differences only force us to conclude that New Yorkers are relatively less susceptible to the gleaming gimmick of Buscemi hardcore hardware. The luxury-shoe-shopping men of the New York are clearly enamored of the low-key: The Maison Margiela Replica is basically the running-shoe analog of the Common Project Achilles, and the Gucci Ace is likewise subdued.

San Francisco

  1. Louis Vuitton Damier high-top 
  2. Gucci GG low-top 
  3. Lanvin low-top  
  4. Common Projects Achilles low-top 
  5. Givenchy Urban Knots low-top

 


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