This weekend, the NBA All-Star Weekend returns to my hometown, Orlando, FL, for the first time since 1992. As a part of the celebration, Nike has designed and released the Galaxy All-Star Pack, a collection of shoes developed to commemorate Central Florida as the epicenter for space exploration and research (really, at NASA’s HQ in Cape Canaveral).
To keep the sneaker supply limited, Nike has decided to only release the shoes in Orlando, New York, and online at NikeTown.com. All of the supply will be released today, February 23rd, and they are expected to sell out very quickly.
At midnight (about 90 minutes ago), NikeTown.com released their inventory. At 12:05am when I entered my credit card information, I was notified that I was too late and each and every pair was sold out. I hope that the sneakers were purchased by true fans, or those who genuinely find them interesting, but I suspect that many were sold to collectors and re-sellers.
Sneaker culture is extremely fascinating to study. Like a well-developed network, people who tend to follow exclusive shoe releases are highly active and highly engaged in the discovery and consumption of new products. I understand the economic principle behind artificial scarcity (i.e. low supply = high demand), but I am unsure whether or not it is the right approach to this marketplace. While scarcity keeps the quality and price high, it prices out or limits the availability of the sneaker to many who are willing to buy it. Additionally, the scarcity tends to promote the emergence of a secondary market for exclusive sneakers that is priced as a function of the hype surrounding each shoe. 
As we consider new ways of connecting and interacting with others online, I hope that the exclusive sneaker marketplace becomes more efficient. I don’t know what this looks like yet, but it is something I’ve started to think about.
 To highlight how artificial scarcity affects price in the secondary market, the following charts visualize the price and sales volume of the Nike Air Yeezy, Kanye West’s first pair of shoes, over the last two years. It’s cray.