Even Sneakerheads Won’t Buy Lonzo Ball’s Too-Expensive Signature Shoe

Even the sneakerheads are out to get Lonzo Balls shoes. Fans and experts of high-priced basketball shoes were not kind when asked about the first signature shoe from Big Baller Brand.

The New York Times sent a reporter to Flight Club, a major New York City sneaker emporium near Union Square where sneakerheads gather to buy and sell shoes on consignment.

When it comes to the ZO2 Prime—made by Big Baller Brand independently of major shoe makers—the verdict in person was just as brutal as it was online.

“I wouldn’t buy those,” said T.Q. Jones, who wore Nike Prestos as he waited in the consignment line.

Haitham Khan — who was rocking a Comme des Garçons hoodie, a Supreme bag and blush-colored Common Projects sneakers — made a bold statement: “I can answer your question: No one’s going to buy them.”

One man made an excellent point about the price of these shoes, which starts at a whopping $495 because, according to LaVar Ball, “that’s what they’re worth.” Is the price that high because they have high-end technology to make them worth the cost or just because they’re a “premium” brand?

“I want to know how they perform,” said Karl Leung, who wore Adidas sneakers as he waited in the consignment line. Adidas is known for its Boost foam, he noted, while Nike has its Zoom cushioning.

“I’m wondering what’s in the shoe that makes it a basketball performance shoe,” Leung added.

Lonzo Ball designed the shoes himself and will undoubtedly wear them when he’s drafted and finally takes the court as a rookie, but will the Z02 Prime hold up to actual competition?

“It’s really hard to make a shoe,” said Powell, adding, “There’s a reason why you don’t see hundreds of new shoe companies.”

The expects agree that it won’t be easy to make Big Baller a big brand in the shoe game. If you’re here for schadenfreude, you’re really going to like the next pull quote.

Matt Powell, a sports industry analyst at NPD Group, estimated Big Baller Brand would sell 10,000 pairs, which he described as a “rounding error” given the 400 million pairs of shoes Nike made last year.

“If you did it in snakeskin and pixie dust, it might cost $500,” Powell added.

That’s good perspective given the Balls sold just 210 pairs in the shoe’s first 24 hours. And there’s little hope the shoe finds an audience among the many who have already dismissed it, unless it gains a cult following just because it’s such a disaster.

“This shoe,” Dorfman said, “may be bought by collectors just to say that they had it.”

Or not. The Flight Club consignors dismissed even a proposal to shell out for ZO2s now on the off chance that everyone will be wanting them in a decade or so.

“I’d rather buy lottery tickets,” Leung said.

Who knows how many are actually sold in the months leading up to their November 24 ship date, but right now it looks like the target market isn’t all that interested.

(Via The New York Times)