As one of the oldest established members in the sneaker resale game, Flight Club, founded in 2005, remains one of the most familiar names and still holds its reputation as one of the greats.
Newcomers like StockX and GOAT have come on to the scene, both offering fierce competition, so the question stands now perhaps stronger than it has before:
Is it worth buying from FlightClub in 2019?
(2021 Update: A lot is changing, including the rising popularity of Suplexed, one of the most useful platforms out there.)
Let’s dive in to see if the oldest name in the game is able to hold onto the throne nearly two decades into its creation.
When someone thinks about the resale aftermarket, Flight Club is one of the first names to come to mind.
With nearly sneakers currently in inventory, nearly all of which are Jordans and other valuable aftermarket sneakers that go for above retail, it’s no wonder Flight Club continues to hold this hard-earned reputation.
What it’s like to buy from FlightClub.com online
First beginning as vintagekicks.com way back in 2005, Flight Club has made online shopping a very important part of its business.
Today more than ever, online shopping is important to the reputation of Flight Club.
A growing number of people every year prefer to buy things online. eCommerce is booming and growing every year, with approximately $500 billion annually being spent online. Footwear’s share in this market is growing , with an estimated $6 billion coming directly from the sneaker aftermarket–that is, simply from the individuals or companies who are selling shoes after the brands like Nike do, often for huge profits.
So it’s not a surprise that many people go to Flight Club when it comes to buying sneakers online.
But there is something that’s crystal clear when you compare Flight Club to other options: it’s expensive.
More than 40% more expensive in some cases, in the case of the Air Jordan 1 Off-White “Chicago”, there was a huge 40% difference , or over $600 in difference per pair.
So, what are you really paying for?
With the brand name fading to competition, it may be hard to see what Flight Club has to offer as an online shopper.
It’s worth noting that Flight Club is known for not stocking fakes and prides itself in holding that reputation. Perhaps this is worth the premium.
However, competitor StockX is also beefing up its verification process for claiming 100% authentic shoes only. Although it’s been roasted in the past for giving customers fake merch, with a market share that is quickly overtaking all competition, very few people have been reporting such troubles recently with the brand.
To be fair, Flight Club isn’t totally without its accusations of stocking non-authentic kicks. In today’s day and age of fakes getting better and better, it’s pretty much inevitable that sellers will get called out on fugazi’s even when they’re legit.
One benefit of buying on Flight Club is being able to finance your kicks at 0% with AfterPay.
They were first using Affirm, a high interest loan option, which StockX currently uses.
Well-founded criticism hit Flight Club when it was using Affirm, because not only are people paying the Flight Club premium, they’re paying interest on top of it, which in the case of expensive footwear like Off-Whites, could literally mean hundreds of dollars.
Instead, Flight Club is using AfterPay, which gives buyers the options of paying the exact same total price, but in 4 different equal payments at 0% interest each.
Like all good things, there’s a catch though:
Fail to make a payment on time, and you’ll be hit with interest.
However, if you are financially comfortable enough to commit to four equal payments, you’ll be getting something for the same price but with better cash flow and zero interest that might come with a credit card or using Affirm on StockX, meaning that if you were planning to finance these shoes anyways, paying a little extra on Flight Club and splitting the price into 4 might be very well worth it.
A Supreme Experience: The Flight Club benefit
Flight Club holds a very important role in setting aftermarket prices for serious collectors and will continue to have its celebrity and high end fan base, most known for rolling up to the store in the flesh. So if anything, you should relish in the once in a lifetime opportunity to check out their stores, which are located in New York (the original), Miami and Los Angeles.
Arguably the only thing worth the inevitable price premium is the experience, which will happen when you go to Flight Club in person.
Nothing is like this shopping experience.
You will walk in the store and get some of the coolest sneakerhead vibes ever: hip music bumping in the background at a volume that’s a bit too loud for a store, but perfect when you’re surrounded by hype shoes, employees in the freshest kicks buzzing around with a swagger that many customers may call rude, but it’s all part of the experience especially if you’re in New York.
On top of all of this, the most amazing collection of kicks you’ll see in person, all perfectly saran-wrapped and on display in bright lighting that makes their colors pop like never before.
Buying kicks in this environment is amazing, As a customer, you’ll be in the same category as the celebrity customers that shop there, and everyone in the store will see you copping new kicks. Finally, when you walk out with that Flight Club bag, it’s sure that eyes of envy will follow you out the door.
Fierce Competition: StockX.com
Josh Luber, CEO and creator of Campless in 2012, merged all of his efforts under the name StockX in 2015 as the “Stock Market for Sneakers”“.
Its growth has been tremendous, attracting A-List investors including Eminem, Mark Wahlberg and Steve Aoki who all saw the rock solid value and upward trend in the sneaker resale market.
The competitive advantage that StockX holds compared to Flight Club is the transparency of its prices: both buyers and sellers are able to see a full history of sales data with price graphs and even individual indexes (Jordan, Nike and Adidas each have their own currently) just like the real stock market.
Bids (what buyers are willing to pay) and asks (what sellers are willing to let go at) are displayed at live time, giving super transparent data in a way that no other sneaker website has done before.
A sale happens immediately, no questions asked, when a bid and an ask price are the same.
It’s no surprise then that a number of users are migrating to this platform, although some old school buyers will stick with what they know and are used to.
StockX is an incredible place to make and time alternative investments in sneakers as we explain in depth in this post.
The Future of Flight Club: A Partnership with GOAT
Also founded in 2015, GOAT has quickly risen as a huge name in sneaker resale market, putting the hustle of slinging shoes along with the convenience and user lovability of an app.
GOAT grew astronomically in its years of development, and instead of continuing to put up a fight, Flight Club decided to join efforts with the momentum that the newcomer GOAT offered.
In February of 2018 the deal was formally announced: $60 million dollars from Index Ventures was to be dedicated towards the partnership of the two former competitors.
On the outside, many people still don’t know that GOAT and FlightClub are owned by the same companies. Their prices, nor their buying experience and certainly not their branding have shared any similarity since the rebranding.
Behind the scenes the two companies are one, with GOAT focusing on its app user base and Flight Club focusing on cementing its presence as a global e-commerce resource for sneakers.
So…should I go shopping on Flight Club in 2019?
Today, it’s a tough fight between buying or selling sneakers on GOAT or FlightClub vs StockX.
There are pros and cons to each platform, but it seems like that today in 2019, people love StockX most for its data and an easy place to put a bid up on shoes, and GOAT (thus Flight Club) is the go-to place for people to buy on an app.
Flight Club remains a juggernaut with its loyal fanbase in the online limited sneaker market, but with technology changing, it was smart of them to take sides with GOAT.
It’s not clear whether or not there will be a winner among these platforms in the end, but what is clear that in today’s day and age, the sneaker resale market is booming and it doesn’t look like it’s going away any time soon.