The Kyx World online sneaker subscription platform launched in June, a platform created to serve sneakers that miss the ultra-limited, high-temperature releases. In the five months since its inception, the company has figured out what its tenants are looking for the most.
Leland Grossman, Marketing Director at Kyx World, gave FN a glimpse of what subscribers praise the most. The company has broken down its rentals into four lists: Top five Nike Dunks, Top 10 Air Jordans, Top 10 Yeezys, and Top 10 sneakers in total.
Below, Grossman shared with FN why these specific shoes and brands are hitting subscribers and offers a forecast for 2022.
There is no collaboration on the list of the top 5 rented dunks of 2021. Why are renters looking elsewhere?
Leland Grossman: “We know that Travis Scott and Virgil [Abloh] generate a lot of the energy around this business, but due to the way the industry has supported collaborations, they just aren’t accessible. Now we see “Black / White”, we see “Syracuse”, we see “Michigan”, we see “UNLV”, we see these classic Dunks colourways, a $ 150 shoe that used to be and sit on the Foot Locker shelf, go for resale on StockX for twice the price. What we’ve learned about our consumer is that while we love to see top-tier subscriptions, we really serve the people who want Dunks. What we like to see is this more general release style because we see it way beyond the sneakerhead. My vision is for someone to go to Kyx and rent Sacais because they just think the shoes are cool and not because they know who Chitose [Abe] is and its long history of Nike. It’s cool to see these almost generic colourways having time to shine.
You said your tenant isn’t just the sneaker enthusiast. How, if at all, does this impact the pairs you buy and then rent?
LG: “Part of it is the way we educate. I find most of the product descriptions really fit the sneakerhead. You have to know and care about what they are talking about in order to make sense of what it is. They speak in this language that if you are not part of the culture it makes no sense. What we’re trying to do is add things like style and size notes to really land the plane among the average consumer – wear them with pants, don’t wear them with those jeans, they are half a size. If the average person does not know these things, it prevents them from entering [sneakers] because he feels exclusive. I think over the next year or so you will see more general release shoes, but we also need to keep them relatively tight. We can’t have 500 shoes on the platform.
The only Adidas look on the list of the top 10 rented sneakers of 2021 is Yeezys? What does this tell you about the desirability of the brand?
LG: “I give New Balance a lot of credit for the things they do with Joe Freshgods, with Teddy [Santis]. They recognize the potential and move quickly on it. I think this is really where Adidas failed. Kanye [West] did an amazing job building the Yeezy brand through Adidas technology without making Adidas a part of history. People just think of Yeezy as a completely stand-alone brand. We probably have less than five total separate Adidas collaborations from Yeezy on the platform, and honestly, they’re not getting a ton of love. Brands must guide employees. You get a Sean Wotherspoon, whose shoe at Nike was an absolute banger, bring him to Adidas and frankly, this is one of my least favorite shoes. What is happening here? You’ve given him too much freedom to let loose without a fuss, and the thread is falling off the shoes. And they’ve got some dope collaborators in their reigns, but there’s an old white German dude making the last calls and sometimes that’s the problem in a culture that definitely doesn’t take care of old white German dudes.
With just three collaborations on the 2021 Top 10 Rented Jordans list, why are people more interested in renting the generally more accessible Air Jordans?
LG: “A lot of these general release Jordans – the ‘Hyper Royals’, the ‘Mochas’, the ‘Legend Blues’ – these are shoes that the average kid in Kentucky, New York, Los Angeles, Houston just can’t. get their local Foot Locker and they’re put off by the idea that they have to pay for the resale of a shoe they just want to wear. But you can spend your sneaker budget on a pair of ‘Legend Blues’ and a ‘Hyper Royal’, or you can get the ‘Shadows’, ‘University Blue’, ‘Oreo’, ‘Lighting’ 4s and have basically 12 pairs for the price of four.
New Balance managed to smash the list of the best rented sneakers of 2021, dominated by Nike and Jordan. How did New Balanced succeed in reaching your consumers?
LG: “I think they have created internal processes that allow them to move forward much faster. There is a guy called Joe Grondin, he manages the collaborations there, and I give him a lot of credit because he clearly knew how to raise awareness about culture with Teddy, with Salehe [Bembury] and others. New Balance takes more risks and tries things that shine even more. They’ve firmly established their cooler brand position than Adidas because they’re willing to take that bet on someone like Joe Fresh, and the colorway is true and the accompanying video was so cool. Specifically with the 550, I think we’re in that phase of culture where people are obsessed with history and you could shoot a basketball silhouette worn by James Worthy in the ’80s and it connects with the consumer. current who is so ready for this running story. And the fact that it looks like a Reebok or [an Adidas] Stan Smith, just a classic silhouette, and with the return of baggy jeans, it really goes with this look.
With the Yeezy 700 V3 “Kyanite” at the top of your list of most rented sneakers, what does that say about the popularity of the Yeezy imprint and its durability?
LG: “It goes back to the diversity of silhouettes. They’ve created enough of a shoe ecosystem where when a 700 becomes less popular or a 300 or a 350, they have enough of that DNA and a constructed language where people are excited for the next thing. Kanye does a really good job letting the water heat up and then when it cools it swivels around so there’s always something interesting the brand is doing. Also, it’s not being afraid to do the thing that’s weird. These Knit Runners came out and people were joking about them, but in the end, it sparked conversation, it got people talking about the brand.
What are your forecasts for the rental market for 2022?
LG: “Virgil will continue to generate excitement at Nike. I don’t see Yeezy going anywhere, and I think the momentum is only going to continue. New Balance isn’t going anywhere either. Adidas, something needs to change in their energy department to get back on their feet. But it’s Adidas, so it’s totally doable, it’s not an insurmountable hill to climb. As for other brands, I have a really awesome Mizuno x Wood Wood collaboration from last year that I love, and I think Saucony is doing some interesting things – saw they just did a Trinidad James collaboration. I think as this culture develops and more and more people like it who have Saucony or Brooks or Hoka running shoes, I think the energy will start to become more intentional around them, especially since these haute couture brands and collaborators are really looking for their own way.