Getting your hands on a pair of hyped sneakers is like playing a game of luck. For the tech savvy, you can put your trust into the shady but often high yielding world of bots. If you have extra money to spare, you skip the lines, skip the bots, and buy from a reseller. Typically a reseller is going to have the real deal, but there’s always a chance you’re buying something inauthentic—and then what, you have to contact eBay? What a headache. The analog version, which is still practiced, it is camping out in front of your favorite boutique and maybe get what you need. The only risk is either not what you wanted getting after calling off work for 2 days; or worse, say you're waiting for that rare Supreme x Nike/Vans/Clarks whatever drop and this dude comes up on you:
(Source: Dinner Land)
But the last few years, there’s a new way to give yourself a headache over the newest pair of Yeezy Boosts or Jumpman’s that’s surprisingly old school. The rise of sneaker claw machines taps into the heart of all the 80’s kids who used to hang out in arcades, and for the Tumblr generation, claw machines are a novelty.
For the over 27 crowd, claw machines were part of the fabric of American society. Every mall had an arcade spot, every movie theatre (even the bad ones) had the classics—a couple fighting games, a shooting game, a racing game, and a merchandiser game. And before you’re like, “what’s a merchandiser?” a merchandiser is the umbrella term for what a claw machine falls under.
Merchandisers are basically an arcade device that combines a game of skill with a game of (very, very slim) chance; and when you win, you walk away with a physical prize. Caw machines are nothing new, and while sneakers are a pretty whacky prize, Japan’s had some pretty crazy claw machine prizes for years now.
But the idea that you can (and this is pretty unlikely) win a pair of rare sneakers in the U.S. is a relatively new thing. One of the first sneaker claw machines out was spotted in Las Vegas. What better way to bet against the odds than in Sin City? It’s way funner than waiting in a line, and about as reckless as trying to buy with a bot.
As mentioned, the first documented sneaker claw machine was Las Vegas’ Urban Necessities boutique, which became a destination because for sneakerheads trying to catch a pair of mythical vending machine Yeezy’s. The idea has caught on, and other sneaker boutiques and consignment stores across the country are letting sneakerheads test fate.
Merchandisers are known for being notoriously hard, not quite “rigged” per say, but let’s just say the odds are not in your favor. Even so, people are flocking to these machines. The question is, what’s the limit, do you spend the amount of the sneakers original cost?