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eBay launched a new sneaker authentication service to better protect buyers and sellers - here's what it's like to use

INSIDER logo INSIDER 8/3/2021 aismael@insider.com (Amir Ismael)

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letter: A pair of Off-White x Air Jordan 5s purchased on eBay. Amir Ismael/Insider © Amir Ismael/Insider A pair of Off-White x Air Jordan 5s purchased on eBay. Amir Ismael/Insider
  • Collectors have been using eBay to buy and sell sneakers for years, and the platform just got better.
  • Now, eBay has teamed up with SneakerCon to authenticate all sneakers sold for $100 or more.
  • It keeps buyers from getting scammed or receiving fakes and eliminates extra fees for sellers.
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Over the past 13 years, I've purchased more sneakers on eBay than I care to admit - and I'm not alone.

Sneaker collectors have been using eBay as a place to buy and sell rare and expensive kicks since the early 2000s. The sheer volume and variety of listings made it the best online site to find those gems, but there were some drawbacks.

There were undoubtedly fake items and dishonest sellers ready to take advantage of anyone who'd fall for their tricks. It took time and careful attention to learn how to confidently shop without getting scammed.

As a buyer, I would carefully analyze every word and picture in the listing, ask the seller for more details if needed, and even record myself opening packages to cover myself from receiving something different than the listing. Fortunately, I never got scammed, but that isn't the case for everyone.

Now, eBay has totally reconfigured how users buy and sell sneakers, and it's simpler, safer, and more user-friendly than ever before.

How eBay's authenticity guaranteed program works

Prior to eBay's new authenticity guaranteed program for sneakers, the entire transaction was handled between the buyer and seller. Once the item was paid for, the seller would ship it directly to the buyer, which left a lot of room for scams or general disputes over the quality, condition, or authenticity of the item.

Now, eBay has partnered with SneakerCon, a company well known in the sneaker community for its buy-sell-trade events, and most importantly, its authentication techniques. Any sneaker sold for over $100 is eligible for the authenticity guaranteed process.

First, the seller must ship the sneakers to eBay and SneakerCon for verification. Once they're verified to be 100% authentic, they're tagged with an NFC tag, repackaged, and shipped to you.

Earlier this year, I purchased a pair of Union Los Angeles x Air Jordan 4s using the new eBay Sneakers format, and the process was seamless.


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My experience using the new eBay Sneakers format

Compared to other buying and selling platforms like StockX, I was able to see actual pictures of the sneakers I'd be receiving instead of stock product images. Although I don't mind shopping platforms that use stock images, it was more reassuring to see detailed pictures of the exact pair I was purchasing.

graphical user interface: I always choose to make an offer if it's an option. The worst a seller can do is decline. Amir Ismael/Insider © Amir Ismael/Insider I always choose to make an offer if it's an option. The worst a seller can do is decline. Amir Ismael/Insider

The shoes were listed for $750, but the seller accepted my offer of $730. I know, I know, these sneakers are very expensive - and that's exactly why I chose eBay to ensure I'd be getting the real deal.

My shoes arrived 11 days later, which was relatively fast considering they needed to be shipped to Sneaker Con before being sent to me.

a close up of a box: My Union x Air Jordan 4s from eBay after they arrived in the mail. Amir Ismael/Insider © Amir Ismael/Insider My Union x Air Jordan 4s from eBay after they arrived in the mail. Amir Ismael/Insider

The shoes were exactly as pictured and came well-packaged in a box (although I would've preferred a more discreet tape over the eBay branded tape).

My favorite part was the NFC tag. You can scan it with your smartphone to show details specific to the order as added proof of authenticity. As long as you leave the tag on and the shoes are still in the same condition, eBay will honor returns.

graphical user interface: The NFC tag shows useful information like the size and date they were confirmed authentic. Amir Ismae/Insider © Amir Ismae/Insider The NFC tag shows useful information like the size and date they were confirmed authentic. Amir Ismae/Insider

Benefits of selling sneakers on eBay

StockX and GOAT have made selling sneakers online as simple as hitting a few buttons, but with eBay, you'll have to take pictures and create a listing for your item. It does take a little bit more time, but if you're willing to do it, there are significant benefits.

With eBay, it's free to sell sneakers over $100, there's no processing fee, and no cash-out fee. Before the new eBay Sneakers format, you could expect to hand over roughly 10% of earnings in fees.

If you've ever sold sneakers on a platform that charges fees, you know that while 10% might not sound like a lot, it can drastically cut into your profit, making it sometimes not even worth the sale.

graphical user interface, text, application: eBay © eBay eBay

The bottom line

As the sneaker resale market and sneakers, in general, become more mainstream, eBay is positioning itself to be one of the best places to shop. As someone who has bought countless pairs of shoes on eBay before the updates, I can confirm eBay now appeals to all types of consumers, from savvy sneakerheads who know how the resale market works to people looking to buy their first pair of collectible shoes.

Since purchasing the Union 4s, I've used eBay to buy Off-White x Air Jordan 5s and Salehe Bembury x New Balance 2002Rs - and I don't plan on stopping any time soon.

If you were ever hesitant about using eBay to buy sneakers, don't be. It's safe, fast, and you can feel confident about receiving authentic shoes every time.

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