The Emergence of Sneaker Culture in India

Sneakers are not just for athletics anymore but have become a part of our everyday lives. In 2020 the sneaker industry was valued at $84,420 million and is projected to grow to $128,110 million by 2027 showing a 7.2% growth from 2021-27 (MarketWatch, 2021) owing the success to the millennials and Gen-Z who took the market and exponentially turned it into a freedom of expression and choice.


The limited edition sneaker industry is booming. Digital limited edition sneaker illustration. Sneakers are not just for athletics anymore but have become a part of our everyday lives. In 2020 the sneaker industry was valued at $84,420 million and is projected to grow to $128,110 million by 2027 showing a 7.2% growth from 2021-27 (MarketWatch, 2021) owing the success to the millennials and Gen-Z who took the market and exponentially turned it into a freedom of expression and choice.
Digital Illustration by © Imperium Publication

Our society is driven by status where the hype sits perfectly with the mentality. The Indian markets are considered to be the second largest consumer of footwear in the world (News on Air, 2021), which sets the trend for the emerging sneaker culture upward in the country. The resale market for the industry has grown exponentially to a multibillion-dollar industry in the last decade and India’s digital market has proved to be an asset to the hype in the country.


Limited edition sneakers have caused fights and has made people stand in line for hours. But unique sneakers are no longer just shoes or collectibles, they have turned into a symbol, a form of art and freedom of speech. The sale of shoes as an occupation has expanded in our society, however, the audience who wants to buy them for the purpose of wearing them is far lesser than the one that wants to purchase them just to flip them for profits


The emergence of basketball, celebrity collaborations and the digital platforms have created the hype for sneaker collectors and resellers in the country. Michael Jordan with his collaboration, ‘Jordans’ with Nike has had a huge impact worldwide with the sneaker culture and the famous rapper Travis Scott has changed the sneaker game altogether after Kanye West. Famous celebrities have had a huge impact with their collaborations among the people and have allowed them the people to embrace the freedom of speech with their unique designs and symbolize them as ‘art on feet’.


It is clear now that sneakers are climbing the hierarchal chain faster than ‘shoes’, while the ‘shoe’ market is estimated to grow at 3%, with the ‘sneaker’ industry doubling the rate with 7%. Sneakers are emerging to be a better investment than gold but then again, it’s also about understanding the market and the various factors affecting every pair, and whether to hold the pair for it to rise in value or sell it instantly.


This was illustrated perfectly by the iconic release of Jordan 1 Chicago x off-white which released in 2018 with a retail price of US $190, which is now worth $9000. And after the sudden demise of the creator Off-White Virgil Abloh the price sky rocketed, transforming it into a rare piece of art that is engraved in history.


It is fair to say that the rise of the Sneaker Culture is not going to stop anytime soon, since the hype, gravitas and emotions surrounding the flipping of sneakers is enough to keep the people who have entered the industry to stay there, and has left out enough potential to attract others to it as well. And given the hype surrounding someone who wears a rare pair of sneakers to a party, the Sneaker Culture is here to stay.



Sneakers have piqued the interest of resellers who understand the market to make a quick buck and spread the culture and this was seen in India as well by Vedant Lamba and his iconic start-up of Mainstreet Market place in Mumbai as a first hub of sneakers and hype-wear that caught the attention of people and famous celebrities in the country to spread the hype among people, as it was mentioned before Indian marketplace is considered to be of status symbols thus the hype spread like wildfire. Even though the culture is breaking ground at a fast pace it is yet to be immersed across the country for people to recognize, appreciate and invest in this hype known as ‘sneakers’ thus this hype runs free and without a doubt it is seen to be an asset which is worth having.