Back in the old days you could walk into any shoe retailer and expect them to have the shoes you're looking for in stock, even for a good price. That's not the case anymore.
A pair of the Air Jordan 1s when they first came out in the 80s for instance would never cost more than a hundred bucks tops. If you were collecting in the ‘90s and ‘00s, it wasn’t difficult to collect hundreds of pairs without compromising too much on your savings. In the past five years, without an incredible plug, it’s been nearly impossible to grab your favorite sneakers without dealing with a reseller.
One thing that seem to be a factor of this is the hype machine. It’s still the most powerful force behind today's sneaker releases. If a shoe is perceived to be a limited or a megastar like Kanye West wears a certain sneaker, it almost automatically becomes sought after and a must-have regardless of cost. We’ve seen Kanye pull it off with general releases like Nike Flyknit Trainers and Air Jordan 1s, and that celebrity appeal will always be a driver of hype in one way or another. If you check secondary market prices on the adidas Yeezy Boost you’ll see people are willing to sink thousands of dollars to get a super-limited sneaker that's linked to a major celebrity.