The entire sneaker world still blows my mind. Nike recently sued MSCHF over the sale of altered Nike Air Max 97s – the “Satan shoe,” in collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X.
The quirky Brooklyn-based company said several employees offered to give blood that was mixed with ink in the sneakers’ air bubbles – a follow up to the Jesus Shoe, which contained holy water. Nike later sued and said they didn’t want to be associated with “Satan extremism.” They’d each sold for $1,018.
But wait. Self-lacing sneakers that retail for $720. Custom-fitted 3D prints. Sneakers that order pizza for you (the button in the tongue connects to your phone via Bluetooth – In case you were wondering).
The sneaker world is abundant with out-of-the-box designs and expensive prices – especially in the secondary market. The global sneaker market stands at $100 billion. The resell market is predicted to reach $30 billion by 2030.
But you can’t just do a quick Google search and buy a pair of limited edition New Balances. In all the sneaker hype, you’ve likely heard of the rising necessity of sneaker bots.
When limited edition sneakers are released, it’s a race of sneakerheads punching in their payment information before the sneakers sell out. The aforementioned Jesus Shoes sold out in minutes.
Sneaker bots are designed to alert users of a sneaker drop as soon as it happens, and sometimes even make the payment process instantaneous, offering a leg-up over other buyers doing it manually. Many Visualping users, a popular monitoring bot, use the tool as a sneaker bot to automatically be notified, via email, when sneakers are released online.
Sneakerbots are used by sneakerheads to collect sneakers as a passion. Others look to nab as many coveted pairs as they can for reselling in the lucrative secondary market. Back in May 2020, a pair of Michael Jordan sneakers were sold for $560,000 – the most expensive sneaker ever sold.
But what, exactly, is a sneaker bot? Here’s everything you need to know about sneaker bots, and how you can easily get set up with one today.
A bot, short for “robot,” is an automated software program designed to learn and execute specific computer-based tasks. Bots emulate computer-based activities to perform efficient and error-free tasks, interacting with applications or systems much like the way people do.
In the sneaker resale world, a sneaker bot automates the process of monitoring the release of anticipated sneakers. The bot will usually alert the sneakerhead of new stock availability (see the email alert example below, from the commonly used bot Visualping), and sometimes expedites the online checkout process – often for several pairs of coveted sneakers at a time.
It goes down to supply and demand: companies like Nike and Adidas release exclusive sneakers in collaboration with celebrities and artists, and updated versions of classic models. Resellers know these sneakers will sell out, and so does everyone who wants to wear them.
Their limited availability from brands like Nike, Adidas and Vans – and the knowledge their market value will skyrocket past the retail price – means they disappear fast. The combination of limited availability and hype converge into spiked sneaker prices in the lucrative secondary market. Once snatched up by bots, the sneakers are then often resold on sites like StockX, Ebay, or elsewhere at a significant markup.
Whether collecting the sneakers as a passion or aiming to make a profit, sneaker bots provide users with the head start they need to nab the sneakers.
Bots, like sneakers, can be difficult to purchase. Most bot makers release their products online via a Twitter announcement. There are only a limited number of copies available for purchase at retail. And once sold out, bots often resell for thousands of dollars.
Some private groups specialize in helping its paying members nab bots when they drop. These bot-nabbing groups use software extensions – basically other bots – to get their hands on the coveted technology that typically costs a few hundred dollars at release.
Sneaker bots are also difficult to use. While they’re relatively widespread among the sneaker reselling community, they are not simple to use by any means. You have to use proxies and a server. A server is a virtual PC that you can use to run bots on, increasing their speed and connection to the website. Proxies are unique IP addresses that can be used to make it seem like you’re multiple people.
Using a proxy is important: when you mass-enter an online queue to increase your chances of completing your purchase, the site may be able to identify all the entries that are coming from one source. This usually results in an IP ban. Proxies allow you to appear as multiple buyers, eliminating the risk.
With over 2 million users, Visualping is a popular and easy-to-use sneaker bot. The monitoring bot automatically checks targeted URLs at preset intervals for changes – for an anticipated sneaker to be released, go back in stock or drop in price, for example.
Visualping is extremely easy to use. Users simply navigate to Visualping’s homepage and copy and paste the URL of the sneaker’s product page into the search bar and click Go.
Users customize which part of the page they want monitored, how often they want the page checked and the email address the alerts will be sent to.
When the page changes – i.e., the sneakers are available for purchase – the user will receive a real-time alert.
When page changes are detected, Visualping sends the user a real-time email alert, with a screenshot of the page and the changes highlighted. The alert also includes a link to the product page so they can promptly take action.
Visualping is a versatile monitoring bot that’s used for an array of different purposes. As well as a price tracker to get price drop alerts, Visualping is commonly used for receiving restock alerts when any kind of products go back in stock. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, 80,000 people in the US used Visualping as a vaccine bot to monitor nearby available Covid-19 vaccine slots for themselves and loved ones.
In the sneaker resale world, a sneaker bot refers to a software application that automatically monitors web pages for sneaker releases and expedites the online checkout process.
Sneakerheads use bots as a way to outrace others trying to nab the limited-edition sneakers – either as a hobby, or to make a profit in the lucrative secondary market.
While getting setup with a sneaker bot is often technically challenging and expensive, Visualping is a popular and easy-to-use sneaker bot that monitors web pages for changes and sends the user real-time alerts when there’s a sneaker drop, or when sneakers go on sale.