In the early 2010s, the name-brand sneaker and basketball shoe craze was in full swing. Enthusiasts of all ages were camping out on lines or making deals over the internet to buy and sell their new and used Jordans and Nikes, some models of which could be ludicrously expensive.


No matter the sneaker or price, however, both buyers and sellers in those days only had a few choices when it came to sneaker marketplaces. It was possible to find listings for sneakers on eBay, but they were often very overpriced and the strict auction structure was a turnoff for many buyers. The most popular method of buying and selling was by far the use of dedicated market groups on Facebook. Users collectively posted thousands of listings per day and the groups did their job, but seeking out a particular item was incredibly tedious, which made it just as hard to sell a pair of sneakers — nobody could find anything without spending hours browsing.


One year past the decade’s halfway mark, and there’s been plenty of progress made; the streetwear marketplace K’LEKT offers the scene what it has lacked for so long: an organized and routinely patrolled platform that allows sneakerheads from all over the world to peddle and purchase.




The marketplace was founded in 2013 by two German sneaker collectors who were simply trying to engage in the hobby that they loved. Heiko, one of the founders, explains in a Q&A YouTube video, “[we] weren’t really happy with marketplace options like eBay or Facebook groups so we thought that we had to create something better ourselves.” They’ve certainly accomplished that goal; the site boasts a community of over 300,000 users per month.


A fan favorite feature of K’LEKT is that it requires seller verification, making it a much safer platform than a Facebook group.  K’LEKT has an employee who manually checks listings for fake items, and the site requires sellers to verify their PayPal accounts, a requirement that deters most scammers. Many Facebook groups dedicated to buying and selling sneakers are saturated with buyers who have fallen victim to counterfeit sellers, and even worse, deal with sellers who rob them during or after in-person transactions. Though the site charges a seller fee based on the item price, it’s well worth the exposure and time saved that come with a well-kept platform like K’LEKT.


Have you ever used K’LEKT, or have you had to deal with other options for buying and selling sneakers? Share your stories here or on Twitter @BillChangNY