It has been an eventful summer for me. This summer has been nothing but warm weather, memories, laughs, events; and yet a very light summer for sneakers purchases. I mean, this is my vice so I have picked up a few pairs here and there, but nowhere near the magnitude of the rest of the year. I happen to be a strict online buyer, mainly because in short I am too arrogant to wait in anyone’s line for anything. There are times when I wake up early, as many others do and go to a link minutes before a launch and refresh until a drop. This would seem to be so simple and the route to go, right? As long as you have a reliable computer and a fast internet connection you are golden, right? That is the furthest thing from the truth with the current state of sneakers.
The overall collection a sneaker enthusiast has is their clout, their prestige their resume. Just like anything involving any group of collectors it can become competitive. The thing about competition is at times people can be persuaded to search for a competitive advantage in extreme moments. That practice has not skipped over the sneaker world. In the past having a plug or connect working at a store or boutique, or for the brand was really the only type of advantage to have. Building those relationships with those gatekeepers so to speak was key; and many rare pairs could be missed if you did not possess such relationships. With the digital age that has been bypassed slightly. It still never hurts to have those connections and contacts, but the internet makes their vitality far less than in the past.
So the question is now, how can you get that same in person advantage without any connects? How can you guarantee a pair? How can you avoid the waits and site traffic and ensure your pickup? “Add to Cart” services have become common when it comes to online sneaker buying. ATC or Bot services automatically load the desired shoe into your cart, and take you straight to a checkout screen. Some of these programs are coded well enough to preload payment and shipping info into your order so all that is necessary is payment method. They manage to locate, acquire and checkout with any shoe in moments, much faster than any human could possibly do with the fastest equipment available. This has been a true unfair advantage when it comes to limited releases.
These Bots make short run releases nearly impossible to purchase if you are an average Joe. For us normal folks it can take a lot of luck and perfect timing to be able to obtain many of these releases. These services are possibly the greatest tool to a resellers business. Not only can they get a desired pair of shoes, but they can also get multiple pairs many times before someone without an ATC can even checkout with one pair. This is literally the equivalent of performance enhancing drugs to an athlete. The only difference is there are no laws or commissions to monitor the use of these services. The brands and retailers are satisfied either way because legitimate sales are being made even though the purchasing methods are slightly jaded.
You would think the brands would be ecstatic about this, but notice I only said satisfied. Retailers have gone to raffles for store purchases. This has killed a lot of connect opportunities, it has become harder to build that rapport with the gatekeepers and slipping someone a few bucks is useless now since this process has been implemented. Many of the retailers and brands have had focus on online purchasing as well attempting to thwart the efforts of the services and their providers. This has been a work in progress for some time. New processes are constantly being introduced with hopes of finally stopping the use of Bots. Many purchase methods like, captchas, apps, timers, and random links have all been introduced with moderate success. Random links have had the most success other than silent releases; but once the link is actually released it is up for grabs to an ATC. Silent releases help with making releases fair game, but are impossible to do consistently with highly promoted shoes.
So what do you do? I am an enthusiast with a very solid collection. I don’t happen to use any services either. I may have just been lucky, but I do manage to get the pairs I want as well as pickups for friends they can’t get their hands on. My advice is simply choose a fast browser, make sure your machine is optimal, have a speedy and reliable web connection; and it never hurts to use multiple devices. This may be the only options until this battle against these programs and services has come to an end.
Good luck with those hyped kicks, I expect to be highly entertained with “Sadderday” tweets on my TL.