Looking to get your hands on a pair of $315 LeBron X sneakers? Don’t count on taking part in that sacred midnight release ritual.
Nike, the maker of the Lebron X sneakers, which are slated to debut this fall, told retailers they couldn’t schedule midnight releases for the shoes and instead would have to wait until 8 a.m. to start selling, according to the Wall Street Journal. In addition, Nike's rules require the stores to wait to post photos and descriptions of the shoes until after they launch.
The move may be an aim to prevent lines of customers camped out for days and the sometimes-violent riots that have become expected with the release of a highly-anticipated shoe. An Orlando, Florida, Foot Locker store called riot police earlier this year after crowds waiting for the midnight release of the Lebron Galaxy 9 and Foamposite Galaxy sneakers caused an intense stampede. The release was ultimately cancelled.
Azriel Gilmore, a manager at Burn Rubber, a sneaker store in Royal Oak, Mich., said Nike's new rules are likely an effort to prevent hordes of customers from gathering outside stores in anticipation of the midnight release.
“What they're trying to do is stop the whole mobbish, 10-day camp-out for some shoe,” he said.
Although coveted sneakers have always garnered hype, the extreme measures customers are taking to get the shoes are a relatively recent development, and may be thanks to the ubiquity of sites like eBay that allow shoe flippers to sell the sneakers at a profit, according to Niyah Kerr, a manager at the Manhattan shoe store Kith.
“The sneaker game has definitely changed into a new breed,” said Kerr, who has collected sneakers for about five years. “Before it was a small culture, now people resell the shoes and don't even wear them.”
Mike Watson, the owner of Got Sole?, a shoe store in Indianapolis, echoed Kerr’s sentiments, noting, “That’s the hype.”
“Instead of true sneaker connoisseurs trying to get the shoe for themselves you get this whole mass of population that could care less about the shoe trying to make a quick buck on the resell,” he said.
Watson said he got an email from Nike about the new release rules in March of this year. The Orlando sneaker riots took place at the end of February.