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Virgil Abloh’s death and the sudden spike of Off-White sneaker prices – a Complex Report

The passing of designer and overall multi-hyphenate Virgil Abloh sent shockwaves across the sneaker and streetwear communities, Complex reports.

Though he’d been privately battling a rare form of cancer since 2019, the last two years leading up to Abloh’s death were some of the most ambitious of his career, with the designer serving as artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear line and releasing several new Off-White x Nike projects. Before his death, almost all of Abloh’s original “The 10” Off-White x Nike silhouettes sold for an average of over $1,000 on the secondary market. And most of the Off-White x Nike collaborations already carried a hefty price tag on sites like StockX and GOAT. 

While several resale platforms declined to speak for this story, StockX did issue a statement. “As is the case for any live marketplace, real-life events have ramifications on market performance,” the message reads. “Following the tragic news of Virgil Abloh’s passing, there was a surge in interest in products related to the icon.”

The numbers bear that out. One of his most popular Off-White Nikes, the Off-White Air Jordan 1 “Chicago,” sold for roughly $5,000 on StockX before Abloh’s death. Just hours after the news broke on Sunday afternoon, the sneaker’s aftermarket price doubled by 100 percent, from an average of $5,500 to $10,600 in some sizes. Similarly, the original Off-White x Nike Air Presto from “The Ten” saw a sudden uptick in units moved, with over 20 pairs sold on StockX on Nov. 28 alone for higher prices when, previously, barely two to three pairs were sold per day on the platform. 

Image via Getty/John Parra

While the sneakers from 2017’s “The Ten” collection of Off-White x Nikes are seeing a marked increase in resale value, so are some of Virgil’s most recent designs.

The Off-White x Air Jordan 2 that released on Nov. 12 was selling for roughly $700 to $800 for a size 11 on the secondary market last week. Today, the last size 11 was sold for $1,250 on StockX. As some on Twitter Spaces have pointed out, other pairs, like Lot 41 of Virgil’s wide collection of 50 Off-White Nike Dunks, are being sold for over $300 more than their previous resale prices after the designer passed away at the age of 41. It can be inferred that collectors are seeking that lot in particular now to pay homage to him.

Influential figures’ products skyrocketing on the secondary market is not exclusive to Off-White. Immediately following the death of Kobe Bryant in 2020, completely sold out of all of his merchandise, from apparel to sneakers, that had been previously sitting on shelves. The secondary market also saw a huge rise in resale price for some of Kobe’s Nike Basketball sneakers, so much so that some consignment shops decided to pull the late player’s shoes from their shelves and refused to buy or sell them out of respect for his legacy.

Image via WWD

Some are hoping that giant secondary market platforms like StockX and GOAT will pull Off-White sneakers in the wake of Abloh’s death, but there are no signs of that happening yet. After the news of his death, StockX tweeted a note paying tribute to the designer, followed by a message saying that it would be making an undisclosed charitable donation to Abloh’s scholarship fund. Many on social media criticized the site for not pausing the sale of Off-White products, accusing StockX of profiting off of his death. Other consignment shops are finding people pulling their Off-White shoes off their shelves in large quantities, since they’re now worth drastically more than their initial posted price.

Considering the sneakers’ steady rise in value, it’s unclear what consignment shops and secondary market sites like StockX and GOAT will do with Off-White sneakers. Several Off-White Nike silhouettes are seeing an increase in price, and there’s no word on whether upcoming silhouettes like the Off-White Air Force 1 Mid will still release. Regardless of the jump in price Off-White sneakers have seen (and the ethical ambiguity around selling them), it’s clear that the art Abloh left in the world has left a permanent impact.

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