Limited Editions Thrive in Secondhand Markets | Be Korea-savvy

Limited Editions Thrive in Secondhand Markets

Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 v2 “Zebra." (image: Adidas)

Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 v2 “Zebra.” (image: Adidas)

SEOUL, March 2 (Korea Bizwire) – Re-selling limited edition products is good business for opportunists. 

The latest hype in Korea has been over the Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 v2 “Zebra,” co-designed by American rapper and producer Kanye West. This extremely limited edition pair of shoes sold for a retail price of 289,000 won ($255.75), but they now cost somewhere around 1.5 million won on secondhand platforms online. 

Similarly, the pair’s predecessor Yeezy Boost “Bred” (black + red) with the same retail price now sell for at about 600,000 won on secondhand markets, which isn’t as impressive but still double the original amount. 

Such popularity, and the subsequent resale of limited or special edition shoes is nothing new. 

The Nike Air Max 95s, launched in August 2015 to celebrate their 20th anniversary, sold out in Korea in less than two hours, and were later resold at prices roughly 100,000 won higher than their retail price of 189,000 won. 

Nike’s Air Jordans, likewise, have long been popular among shoe fanatics with every new release. The Air Jordan 1 Bred (2016), for instance, peaked at 600,000 won on secondhand platforms after selling for 199,000 won at shoe stores. The shoes are still traded at a little over 400,000 won.

Overseas collectors share the same enthusiasm. The most notable is perhaps Kanye’s Air Yeezy 2 “Red October,” which the rapper co-designed with Nike before he teamed up with Adidas. A pair of the shoes, which were produced in a limited run of only 1,000 pairs, was traded for $93,000 on eBay at one point in 2012, and they still cost thousands of dollars for anyone trying to add them to their collection. 

Air Jordan 1 Bred. (image: Nike)

Air Jordan 1 Bred. (image: Nike)

Some resellers have even decided to take this business model to a professional level. 

For example, Yeezy Mafia, a group of some 50 individuals from countries around the world, provides shoe collectors with early information on new Adidas releases (often before official announcements) and resells them to those with a Yeezy Mafia membership. Sneaker resellers Allen Kuo and Benjamin Kickz are also big players in the market. 

Of course, shoes are not the only items that attract devotees.

Starbucks’ special edition merchandise usually sells out quickly in Korea, and items are later traded online for higher prices, while clothes by specialty retailers or private label manufacturers co-designed with other designers are also frequently found on secondhand markets. 

H&M’s collaboration products – which the company releases each year with world-class designers such as Balmain, Isabel Marant, Alexander Wang, and Maison Margiela – are particularly popular. In 2015, hundreds camped out at an H&M outlet in Myeongdong for days to get their hands on the newest Balmain x H&M collection. 

One of the dresses, which rose to prominence after Suzy of idol group Miss A was seen wearing one on a local TV show, was going for roughly 250,000 won, up from its retail price of 159,000 won.

By Lina Jang (

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