AS A way of saying ‘thank you’ to their patrons, sneaker store Rock N Sole PH often posts pictures of their customers who’ve just bought a new pair of shoes. On Instagram, the store calls it #CustomerAppreciationDay.
If you scroll through the posts showing people happily holding up their brand new kicks, a certain pattern begins to emerge.
They’re mostly buying Air Jordans.
“Jordan 1s, to be specific,” says Jeoffrey Hidalgo, founder of Rock N Sole.
The shoe silhouette has become unmistakable, and ubiquitous. You could spot that swoosh slicing through the color blocking from a mile away. Whether cut high, mid, or low, whether black toed or Pine Greened or Bred, the Air Jordan 1s were designed nearly 35 years ago, but have since become timeless — the classic definition of what a sneaker should look like.
Nike has long perfected the art and the hype of a retro release. Even if there are many other Air Jordans out there, the AJ 1s reign supreme in the Jordan Brand portfolio: the GOAT in a pen of GOATs. There’s seemingly a brand new colorway or a brand new collaboration released every week.
Hidalgo, who got his start selling sneakers online as a side gig from his day job, remembers the crazy demand for the Jordan 1s, even a few years back.
“The hype was already there,” he said. He recalled the sneaker community’s excitement with the AJ1 collabs with brands, artists, and designers like Off-White’s Virgil Abloh, rapper and designer Travis Scott, fashion brand Union LA, and more.
But if the collaborations kindled the spark, it was a certain sports documentary that set it ablaze.
“After the release of The Last Dance, we sneaker store owners really felt the hype of Jordan sneakers in terms of the demand and resale value,” said Hidalgo, a huge basketball fan himself.
Michael Jordan has always been the GOAT. But The Last Dance, with never-before-seen footage and an insider look at the backcourt drama, the legend became even realer than before.
It’s a halo effect that’s seen any Jordan-related merch suddenly become the hottest thing in the market.
Just this May, a Sotheby’s auction of a game-worn Air Jordan 1 set a sneaker record by getting a whopping $560,000 bid. And in a recently released report from High Snobiety and reseller site StockX, Air Jordans have jumped up in price by an average of 20 percent in the two months following the premiere of the ESPN-Netflix docu.
Hidalgo can confirm that this is indeed a thing that is happening.
“The price really shot up after they released the docu film. Maybe, it's because the people had a deeper understanding of its history,” he said.
“Even the pairs that were shown in the docu, like the Scottie Pippen's signature shoes, went up to like 300% from its original value.”
Despite the seemingly endless train of new Air Jordan releases, Hidalgo said that supply is becoming tighter and tighter.
“Due to high demand and the limited number of pairs they are releasing, it is really hard to get sufficient supplies,” he confessed. OG and retro colorways in particular have become harder to source. “As a sneaker store owner, I have to be more aggressive and creative to get more stocks from all over the world.”
Increasing demand, rocketing prices… It’s a welcome problem, for sure — especially in this time of COVID-19.
“This pandemic has really hit us all,” said Hidalgo. “It's like we are starting all over again. Everything is back to zero.”
While its two sneaker stores are located in prime locations — along Tomas Morato in Quezon City and inside the Capitol Commons Mall in Pasig — lockdown restrictions have reduced foot traffic for Rock N Sole PH. Hidalgo, who got his start selling shoes on the internet, set up an online store at rocknsoleph.com so customers can do safe sneaker shopping.
He’s happy to report that sales have been doing good.
That’s The Last Dance Effect in action right there.