eBay’s Director of Sneakers on How to Score the Rarest Jordans, Yeezys, and More

Sharp & eBay

If you think the sneaker market is hot, the sneaker resale market is even hotter. And if you’ve been scouring the internet for the rarest, most hyped sneakers on the planet, look no further than eBay. Over time, the online marketplace has become a trusted source (and digital treasure trove) of coveted footwear, that they’ve appointed a Director of Sneakers – yes, that’s a job. Mark Flaa cut his teeth building startups before joining eBay, where he led various businesses at the company before moving into his current role, where he oversees the North American sneaker business to make eBay’s sneaker category unparalleled in the market. Here, Flaa shares eBay buying tips, the coolest sneakers on the site, and resale trends.

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Can you tell us a bit about eBay as a sneaker destination? Why is it the go-to destination for Canadian sneakerheads to go? 

eBay sells millions of sneakers a year, making the marketplace one of the largest channels to buy and sell sneakers in the world. As the originator of the sneaker resale game, we continue to be a top source for the latest hype shoes and the hardest to find grails. Some sneaker drops are notoriously hard and may take a while to make their way into the Canadian market, so eBay is a great way for Canadians to access the resale of coveted drops before the local market can serve them up. In other words, our global marketplace is a gateway for Canadian sneakerheads to get their hands on some pretty exclusive items.

We’ve also eliminated sneaker selling fees so our diehard community can turn their kicks into cash to fund future purchases, which in turn creates a more robust breadth of sneaker inventory for shoppers. Canadians can access the entire world for everything from rare grails and the latest, trending collabs to amazing value on top-name brands like adidas, all on a platform that provides a safe community to buy and sell.

What are some of the rarest and most coveted sneakers on eBay right now? Why are they so sought after? 

There are so many hidden gems on eBay, from samples to friends and family pairs with extremely limited release numbers. Our team also works with people in the industry to sell the most unique collections of rare, limited runs and vintage shoes anywhere. Of course, we have all types of Yeezys & Air Yeezys, and newer releases like this year’s Jordan 1 Dior collab, but I particularly like the rare Air Max 1 “the six” released in 2015 and paying homage to Toronto.

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Off-White Nikes and Jordans aside, are there any hidden gems on eBay for those that love the thrill of the hunt? 

Jordans and Yeezys are the two top-selling sneaker brands among shoppers on eBay, and there’s something for every collector. I have a great time looking for the most perfect pre-owned version of some of the most expensive models. Some of these new models go for thousands of dollars, but you can find some amazing, nearly-new shoes that were obviously well cared for at a fraction of the price.

Any tips and tricks to nabbing the shoes you want on eBay? Best times to bid? The perfect price?

We’ve all been frustrated by missing the latest drop on Nike, so many sneakerheads turn to eBay first and leverage features like our “Saved Search” function to be alerted when that new drop hits our site, either pre-release or after a seller has it in hand.  Others will wait for the initial hype to clear and for the price to come down a bit – you can use the eBay “watchlist” function to flag an item from an individual seller and get notified if they reduce the price. I’m often too impatient for auctions, so I shop on most items at the “Buy It Now” price and secure the kicks instantly. But, when I find an auction I can’t pass up, I always put in a bid early so I get the alerts as the auction changes price and then monitor more closely as the end of the auction nears.

What types of protections or policies does eBay have in place to ensure shoes are legitimate? How can Canadians be confident they’re copping the real stuff?

Fakes are not welcome on eBay, period. We’re committed to aggressively combatting the sale of counterfeit goods and have consistently been referenced as an internet industry leader in working to stop the online sale of counterfeit goods. We accomplish this by combining sophisticated detection tools and strong relationships with brand owners, retailers and law enforcement agencies to combat counterfeits and give our customers with a safe, trusted shopping experience.

Also, Canadians can shop with confidence with eBay’s Money Back Guarantee – a program that applies to virtually all transactions, including luxury and rare sneakers. What this means is buyers will get their full money back if the item they ordered didn’t arrive, is faulty or damaged, or doesn’t match the listing, including authenticity claims. Some people are surprised to learn about our guarantee, considering the breadth and depth of our site, but it’s a key pillar for eBay in maintaining a safe and trusted platform.

And, we’re always looking to further enhance the buying and selling experience in our sneaker category. Just this past fall we expanded our Authenticity Guarantee service for sneaker sales in the U.S., covering the most popular styles and brands. We’re excited to bring all of the goodness from this service to other markets. Canada is a top market for eBay in terms of sneakers, so there is a lot more in store for Canadian sneakerheads.

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We’ve got a serious community of sneakerheads here in Canada. What is the most expensive shoe ever purchased by a Canadian on eBay? 

That’s for sure! In 2020, the most expensive sneakers purchased on eBay by a Canadian were the coveted Nike Air Yeezy 2 Red October shoes, bought for a cool $20,000!

The holidays just wrapped up – what were on hypebeast’s wish lists?

We’re continuing to see heightened interest across some really unique, rare and retro drops. In fact, the top searched sneakers on eBay over the last year include:

Any cool trends you’re seeing in the sneaker resale market?

Last year was rough on physical retailers, sneaker boutiques & consignment shops. We’ve been happy to support these shops by giving them a quick and easy way to sell their merchandise online to a global audience and make up for that lack of foot traffic to their stores.  In fact, in the midst of lockdowns last year, we launched Up & Running, an accelerator program specifically designed to help offline small businesses start selling on eBay, instantly accessing 183 million active buyers across the country and around the world. eBay is powered by small businesses that sell on our site, and it’s one of the reasons why we have such rich, vibrant and unique inventory.

Online sales continue to expand at explosive rates in sneakers this year, with so many shoppers opting to download the eBay app, so despite retail challenges with the global pandemic, there is still a tremendous online demand for sneakers that retailers and small businesses can tap into on eBay.

Any shoes on your wish list right now?

I’d love to cop the Travis Scott Jordan 1 after missing that the first time around, and the 2020 Chunky Dunky is an amazing collab I’m still thinking about. Also, I still haven’t picked up the Centre Courts after seeing MJ sport them in last year’s The Last Dance documentary, and I’ve got my wife pushing me to hit on some of the models from New Balance (I’m liking the Casablanca 327s, but she likes quite a bit more color). I could go on.

On average, there are more than 1⁄2 million sneaker listings on eBay each day – so needless to say, my list is long!