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The Insider’s Guide to Buying Limited Release Trainers

If you’re looking to expand your already impressive collection, earn some quick cash on the resale market or simply get your hands on the perfect pair, the world of limited release trainers can be difficult to navigate if you aren’t prepared. With trainermania sweeping the nation and the war against auto-checkout software (AKA bots) ramping up, sneaker brands and retailers are getting smarter about the way they sell their most hyped releases. From spending hours every weekend queuing up outside shoe stores as a teenager, to running Western Europe’s largest hub for casual footwear news, George Sullivan from The Sole Supplier shares his insider tips for buying limited release trainers to make sure you never miss a drop.

Follow the breadcrumbs 

Before any official announcement, you can be sure there will be rumours swirling around the internet about the silhouette, colourway and rough release date. Make sure to follow all the social media accounts of the sneaker brands you love, as well as accounts keeping sneakerheads up to date with news and hints about the latest releases.

Know your options 

Do your research to find out how you can buy the pair you want. Some may be in-store or retailer exclusives; others may only be available via a raffle system which randomly selects winners, or it may be a wider release across multiple physical and online retailers. Specialised sneaker sites are an obvious first stop, however, there are also other more left-field retailers which you (and others) might not think of as trainer stockists. Selfridges, Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter are among the unlikely suspects. 

Get prepped 

Create an online account on your chosen retailers’ sites or apps before the launch. To speed up the buying process or if you encounter a looping checkout page, it can be a good idea to use your PayPal account which is often quicker. Make sure you don’t forget the login details for how you are planning to pay. There’s nothing more annoying than missing out because you’ve spent too long trying to remember your PayPal password or you lock yourself out of online banking!

Don’t get timed out 

If you’re buying via phone, make sure you have the auto lock on your screen switched off, so your screen won’t automatically lock if you aren’t pressing anything. Once you’ve got the right size pair in your cart, this is the worst time to get distracted. Check out ASAP as some retailers give you a limited timeframe to complete your order or you’ll go back to square one. 

Size up 

Make sure you’re clear on sizing before drop day. While most brands fit true to size, Yeezys are known to fit small, so you may want to grab 0.5 size up on your normal shoe size. Always have a backup size in mind, just in case yours is sold out. You could then trade or sell this pair for your size after (or just get them a little bigger and double-up on socks!)

Keep an eye out for restocks 

If you’re not lucky enough to get your hands on a limited release, don’t lose hope. To sweeten the deal for defeated customers, brands often announce restocks for their most hyped sell-outs. Follow @thesolerestocks to know when the most exclusive sneaker restocks across UK and European retailers are announced. 

Don’t be fooled by dodgy resellers 

If you can’t get your dream pair at retail price, there’s always the resale market but beware, prices are likely to be heavily inflated for desirable releases. Always check multiple resale sites to get a sense of the current market price and trust your instincts when it comes to the authenticity of the sneakers you’re looking at. Asking for proof of purchase can also help you avoid buying bogus shoes. A seller rating lower than 95 percent on Amazon and eBay should be avoided and always read the comments and reviews of other buyers before clicking buy.

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