Sneaker bots have unfortunately become unavoidable within the sneaker community. Whether you use them or compete against them, we've all had to deal with bots when it comes to copping high-heat releases. Whether you know it or not, whenever you're looking to get a new pair of sneakers on the Nike SNKRS app, adidas Confirmed, or pretty much any other platform, you'll likely be competing against a sneaker bot.
Automated bots have taken the industry by storm, specifically during the long lockdown period from 2020 to 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, as the closure of retail stores drove a massive uplift in online shopping sales. To resellers, this was the perfect opportunity to upscale their operation in the sneaker resale market, and bots that can checkout multiple pairs of sneakers at their retail price are the only thing that can meet such high requirements.
As the hype around streetwear staples like Supreme, Palace, and the latest Air Jordans and Nike sneakers continues to grow, buying things online has never been so difficult. Taking Ls on sneaker drops is never a good feeling, especially when you see a seller on Facebook buy and sell groups with high piles of the same colourway.
But what are sneaker bots? How do they work? How can you beat sneaker bots? We answer all these questions and more below!
What is a sneaker bot?
A sneaker bot is a computer programme designed to assist the user in securing products online, usually used for sneakers and clothing. The bot will carry out the checkout process and perform actionss users wouldn't be able to without specially designed software. limited-edition sneakers, such as Jordans, Off-White Nike Dunks, adidas Yeezy, and countless others. Once bot users have their products in hand, they are then resold in secondary markets like StockX at a much higher price for profit.
So if brands know that sneaker bots are buying up their product why don't they act on it? The issue is that sneaker bots are very hard to stop due to how they work and due to the fact they can be adjusted to bypass security measures put in place by brands.
How do sneaker bots work?
A common misconception about bots is that they're easy to operate with a simple start and stop button, but that's not quite how it works. Depending on the sneaker release, there are a variety of different bots which can bypass security measures such as captures. Because there are so many different types of bots which all operate differently, it can be hard for a brand to fight against them. All-in-one bots send requests to several sneaker sites and help with the checkout process, raffle bots allow unlimited entries on sneaker raffles, Supreme bots assist in checkout procedures on drop days, and many more.
Another issue with sneaker bots is that they're incredibly hard to trace. Sneaker bots make use of proxies which can hide their address and can be changed in an instant.
What is a sneaker proxy?
A proxy is a tool used by sneaker bots to access websites with a different IP address rather than a computer's. When using an automated shoe bot without a proxy, there is a high chance that the brand will be able to trace your home IP and block it. Unfortunately, it's never that easy to prevent people using sneaker bots, and people started using proxies to be able to get around this.
It's not very simple to get your hands on proxies, but it has become very common. There are two main types of proxies used: residential proxy and datacenter proxy.
Residential proxies hide the users home IP address and utilise another, acting as an IP mask.
Datacenter proxies connect the user to remote servers that are also being used by other users simultaneously.
How are sneaker bots damaging the industry?
As we mentioned, you've more than likely already had run ins with sneakers bots without realising. Sneaker bots have become incredibly common within the sneaker industry and unfortunately they make getting the latest shoes much harder. Because sneaker bots send through hundreds to even thousands of requests per release, it makes the likelihood of copping manually incredibly slim.
The use of sneaker bots makes it harder for sneakerheads and people who want to wear the sneakers to actually get their hands on them. Instead, they are forced to turn to a secondary market and usually have to pay a premium. This has forced many customers to become disheartened with the process and look elsewhere for their sneakers.
Bots can also be damaging to the brands themselves. They face losing their customers due to dissatisfaction and also face issues every release due to the high number of traffic sent to their sites by sneaker bots.
Although it might seem that bots are the only way to get your hands on the latest high-heat releases (aside from emptying your wallet on a reselling platform after every release), don't give up! Platforms such as Nike SNKRS and adidas CONFIRMED are always working to make their releases the most user friendly and give everybody a fair chance.
Sneaker bots may be very technologically advanced and hard to track, but they are not perfect. After every release there are more and more security measures put in place to stop bots from taking all the stock and to give actual customers a fighting chance.
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