Straight from the brands
Nike with its Air Jordans and Adidas with its Yeezys are two of the brands most beloved by hypebeasts. The SNKRS app, available for iOS and Android, is where Nike tends to drop its most exclusive sneakers, including Air Jordan collaborations, limited Air Max models and more. If you know there's a pair of Nike shoes you want to get for someone, the SNKRS app can notify you a few times leading up to the scheduled drop date. Basically, any Nike or Jordan collab with artists (like Travis Scott) or another hyped brand (e.g., Off-White) will be worth it. Those are the types of sneakers hypebeasts are after.
Sometimes Nike will make pairs available on a first-come, first-serve basis with scheduled and random drops on its app, others via its raffle-based system (aka the Draw). Think of the latter as a lottery that lets you buy the shoes if you get lucky and your account gets picked. The key with the timed and unexpected drops is to have your Nike SNKRS account all set up beforehand, because the last thing you want to be doing is trying to enter your credit card info during checkout. In the hypebeast world, a single second can be the difference between getting or missing the product.
Adidas usually sells Yeezys (and other limited sneakers) on its website and app, which is available for iOS and Android. If you live in a place like New York City, the application lets you reserve sneakers for pickup at retail stores, but you'll have to be fast enough on the release date to beat all the other hypebeasts who want them. On the Adidas site, meanwhile, the company has a system that allows people to buy pairs if they get past a virtual queue. What this means, essentially, is that Adidas lets shoppers into the product and checkout pages for Yeezys at random times on a set date.
You may end up waiting for a couple of hours, but it's probably better than paying resale prices for Yeezys, which can run hundreds of dollars above their original value.
If you can't get any of the gifts you wanted directly from Nike or Adidas, your safest bet is going to be to go through one of the popular resale apps. Services like GOAT, StockX and Sneaker Con make it easy to buy almost any sneaker you're looking for, but you're going to have to pay a premium over the retail price. The way these apps work is simple: You buy a pair, the seller ships the sneakers to the resale service to be authenticated and then, within a week or so, you get the sneakers you want to gift delivered right to your door.
These resale apps have become more popular than sites like eBay because they're designed to protect people from buying counterfeits, which is a major issue in the sneaker industry. As convenient as these apps are though, not having to deal with the online crowds does come at a cost. A pair of Air Jordan 1s that retail for $160 can be found on GOAT, StockX, Sneaker Con and other resale apps for anywhere between $300 and $4,000. It depends on the particular models you're looking for and how much your hypebeast's happiness is worth to you.
Another way to find limited-edition sneakers or hyped streetwear is by following independent resellers on social media. People behind Instagram accounts like Sole Street (@solestreetsneakerco) sell products from a variety of brands, including Nike, Adidas, Supreme and many others that hypebeasts love. While I wouldn't go buying sneakers from any random person you find on Instagram -- you don't want to get stuck with counterfeits -- pages like Sole Street have a strong reputation. A good sign to look for is the number of followers these resellers have on Instagram, as this shows that buyers trust them.
If a reseller has more than 10,000 followers on Instagram, I would say that's promising, though I would also read through their comments to make sure no one is accusing them of being scammers. Some Instagram resellers will only deal with people locally, though many others (such as Sole Street) ship products in the US and abroad -- as long as you're willing to pay the shipping and handling fees. Aside from that, you can expect their prices to be in line with those you'd find on GOAT and StockX.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em
Unless you know how to write a computer script or build your own bot that can buy stuff for you automatically, chances are you're going to have to pay resale prices for hyped sneakers from Nike or Adidas. That's the sad truth of the streetwear game. But if you don't want to pay ridiculous amounts for the pair you need as a gift this holiday season, there is another option. Add-to-cart services like RSVP Kingz offer an easy way for people to get the hyped sneakers they're looking for.
For a fee ranging from $30 to hundreds of dollars depending on what you're trying to buy, RSVP Kingz will let its sneaker-seeking bots loose on sites like Nike, Adidas, Yeezy Supply, Foot Locker, Finish Line and Supreme. All you have to do is fill out a form with your information (including shoe size and shipping address), and if they're successful, you'll get the shoes delivered directly to you. With RSVP Kingz, it's essentially as if you had your own bot, except you don't have to write any code or be around your computer or phone when a shoe drops. These services take care of all of that for you, and if RSVP Kingz' systems can't snag what you're looking for, you won't have to pay anything.
This is a solid option if you want to have a higher chance of acquiring limited-edition kicks and most important, saving some money along the way. For example, while RSVP Kingz might charge you $200 plus the retail price for a pair of Jordans, that may still end up being a couple hundred dollars less than what you would have to pay on GOAT, StockX or to an indie reseller online.
RSVP Kingz and Instagram resellers may not be the way you're used to shopping, but if you're looking for a sneaker that's hard to find, they could end up being your only option. Thanks to hypebeasts it's a whole new world out there, and you better get used to it quick if you're hoping to get them what they truly want.