Cracking Down on Bots in the Valley

Retail Sneaker Industry Threatened by Foul Play


Mekhai Whitaker

Manager Jarvis Bowles of Finish Line in Valley Mall ensures that he works on release days in order to identify suspicious activity with highly anticipated sneakers. The largest threat comes from robots, rather than individuals.

Mekhai Whitaker, Staff Writer

Harrisonburg, Va. –  Finish Line in Valley Mall is a local sneaker retail store that offers a wide selection of athletic sneakers and clothing — including a couple of the Retro Air Jordan releases. 

Exactly which releases come to the Finish Line at Valley Mall are determined by the District Manager. Nonetheless, most pairs still sell out, according to Finish Line Manager Jarvis Bowles. 

The sneaker resale market has been growing exponentially in recent years. Resellers are finding new ways to take advantage of the sneaker business — which allows for resellers to buy sneakers at retail or lower than retail price and resell them at a much higher price. 

Recently, the Vice President/General Manager at Nike had to step down due to her son owning a sneaker business. The controversy aired from an Input article on her son Justin Hubert. 

Hubert is said to have used bots as one way to score big on release days. Bots are used to purchase sneakers on release days, but instead, they automatically beat out most humans with “robotic speed.” Bots have been an increasing problem in the sneaker world. 

Most people feel that it is unfair for resellers to be able to buy bots and purchase multiple pairs of a limited pair of shoes. 

“We usually have management working release days because we know how to manage it, but sneaker bots have taken the joy out of the sneaker game,” said Bowles. 

In order to crack down on resellers using bots, releases are now done online and through raffles. However, individuals still use bots to win the raffles and checkout before the shoes sell out. 

This is where sneaker bots excel. They enter raffles at lightning speed multiple times with different variations of the same name. Now that  Finish Line is doing online releases and cracking down on resellers using bots, it is harder for resellers to take advantage. 

“We know how bot names look when they win a release. Usually there will be a funny spelling or a special character. This is why management works release days, because we are better equipped to deal with customers who may be upset about their sneakers,” said Bowles.

To combat this, Bowles explained that “when you come to pick up your shoes, your ID has to match the ticket exactly.”

Since the article on Herbert and his vast sneaker resell business thriving on the use of bots, sneaker retailers have been trying to crack down on resellers using bots to gain an advantage on release days. 

Visit Bowles at the Valley Finish line for more information and all your sneaker needs. Valley Mall is located at 1925 E Market Street in Harrisonburg, VA.