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How to Beat the Bots and Cop Sneakers for Retail

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Forget everything you know about buying sneakers online. It’s 2022 and the landscape of buying shoes is completely different from even two years ago. We’re going to outline some of the basic ways you can beat the bots and give yourself the best chance to buy the sneakers you want for retail (or under!). Whether it’s the latest Air Jordan 1, Nike Dunk Low, Yeezy, New Balance, Collab, or general release, it’s time to kick-start your journey in copping sneakers manually. No need to rely on a resale marketplace or wait for Sneaker Twitter links. We here at SoleSavy have set you up with an intro guide to the sneaker game.

If this guide caught your interest and you want to learn more about how to get your shoes for retail prices without a bot, then a SoleSavy membership might just be exactly what you’re looking for. We’ll help you grow your sneaker collection, connect with other sneakerheads and keep up with all the latest news in sneakers today. 

Why Can’t I Cop?

In 2022, sneakers are not a niche anymore. For any given release, there are hundreds of thousands of sneakerheads around the world going for the same pairs of shoes. With the groundbreaking, award-winning adidas Yeezy partnership in 2015 followed by luxury fashion label Off-White’s THE TEN collection with Nike in 2017, exclusive sneakers have undoubtedly cemented themselves within the mainstream. Supply just does not match the demand for most releases in the multi-billion-dollar sneaker industry, and the number of eager sneakerheads keeps climbing. Add in the fact that EVERYONE knows about the hype sneaker dropping and how easy it is to submit a SNKRS entry, you’re facing an uphill battle.

Some sneakers are meant to be limited and drive up the hype machine. For example, take this year’s Jordan 1 Low x Travis Scott ‘Mocha’. Rumor has it that a 30-minute raffle had over 2 million entries. When you factor in the limited stock and bot entries, it leaves the average consumer with a very minimal chance of securing a pair. 

Bots Are the Problem

In addition to the long queues and countless manual users aimlessly refreshing and slowing down a site, there’s the issue of bots. Simply put, sneaker bots are sophisticated and expensive programs that can near-instantly buy products online without the need for human interaction. By the time you’ve clicked through a website’s menus, refreshed, struggled on a captcha and filled in all your billing and shipping info, a bot has already checked out with multiple pairs.

Don’t Focus On Foot Inc. sites or the Nike SNKRS App

With countless people and bots to compete with, you’d think your best bet would be big retailers like Foot Locker or even the Nike SNKRS app that boasts access to the latest launches, events, and exclusive sneaker releases. Nope. Popular destinations like these are plagued with issues that almost always will result in you taking an L.

Nike and Jordan Brand are the biggest sneaker brands in the market, with fiscal 2021 sales recorded at $44.5 billion. As a result, the SNKRS app is where all the hardcore and casual fans of sneakers and fashion naturally gravitate.

Foot Locker does not use the e-commerce company Shopify, opting instead for their proprietary eCommerce platform. It’s faulty. Botters have exploited all Foot Inc. sites (Foot Locker, Footaction, Eastbay, Champs) to the point where all a manual user can do is spam that “Add To Cart” button and hope for the best. This should be your last option.

You need to look elsewhere first. You need to focus your time and energy on stores with Shopify’s Bot Protection. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 20 stores with various levels of bot protection.

What is Bot Protection?

In 2022, many online stores will use Shopify. As a result, you – the average customer – are protected more often than not by something called Bot Protection. Bot Protection is a series of online security measures happening behind the scenes that prevent bot users from buying their product. They can have a positive impact on the manual user’s shopping experience and are a nightmare for botters. Shopify is a $1.58-billion company with its own division of talented programmers working tirelessly to ensure products get into the hands of consumers, not resellers.

Big releases this past year like the A Ma Maniere x Air Jordan 2, Union x Nike Dunk Low, and Patta x Air Max 1 have been a success due to them implementing a new type of bot protection, utilizing Shopify Plus. This usually involves setting up a decoy site and using H-Captcha to throw off the bots.  These are just some of the most recent releases in which hundreds of pairs of exclusive sneakers were copped by manual users while bots struggled. The development team at Shopify is always looking at how to better the user experience and disarm the botters. Anti-bot is your friend. So are monitors.

Monitors: Tactical Edge for Manual Shoppers

Sneaker monitors are a technology our team has created to surveil the sites of over 460 retailers worldwide. They’re looking for releases, stock levels, and restocks, as soon as they identify a new product (not just sneakers, apparel and collectibles too) on a site they’ll notify you and send you a direct link to purchase. Notifications can be received in one of two ways, via Slack, or via Drop Alerts on the DROPS by SoleSavy app. 

In Slack, the notifications will populate in the corresponding #monitor channel. Peep the example above. You’ll be able to see the name of the shoe, the retailer, a photo of the shoe, price, time of the release, sizes available, and be provided with a direct link to purchase. SoleSavy monitors are included with every member subscription to ensure that anyone who wants useful technology can have it. Premium members also access to a thriving community of real sneaker enthusiasts, weekly giveaways, and insider info, all for a portion of the price of even the most basic monthly monitor subscription.

Restocks with Drop Alerts 2.0

Nowadays, drops can last for days or even months.

With SoleSavy Drop Alerts 2.0, your personalized notifications will alert you to the sneakers you want, in your size, and your region the second they are available online.

Adding keywords for your favorite sneakers sends you directly to the pot of gold without all the rainbow chasing of other apps. Drop Alerts 2.0 is tailored to your exact liking and can be customized to find kicks for the whole family. 

With the use of keywords, you can stay on the search for the one that got away without the hassle of searching daily or paying aftermarket prices. Setting up and adjusting your keywords will keep you in the know during shock drops, restocks, and delayed releases. You can customize your keywords by choosing to receive alerts for every match, or narrowing it down to a size and region match, erasing the unnecessary notifications from other apps.

Download the DROPS by SoleSavy app on iOS to get started.

Release Guides

One of the biggest perks to a SoleSavy membership is access to our tools and information. As its name suggests, the release guide is your blueprint to a successful release. From the biggest sneaker releases to Kith & Supreme drops, we cover them all. Within each guide, we break down every bit of information you’ll need to increase your chance at copping.

Look for release guides the morning of the launch, they’ll be posted an hour or so before release in the Releases tab of the DROPS app, and in the #announcements-releases channel on Slack. Each guide breaks the release down into a few simple sections: Stock, Strategy, & Monitors. Every release guide will be a little different, as they cater to each release individually. But each will be full of the information you’ll need to make release day a stress-free experience.


Bots don’t have to win. Paying exorbitant retail prices shouldn’t be the norm. Sneaker culture is about great designs, storytelling and community, not about trying to make a quick buck. SoleSavy is all about embracing real sneaker culture. If any of the above piqued your interest or sounds too good to be true, we implore you to take a look at the benefits of a SoleSavy membership today. Learn more about which stores to shop at, how to cop the hottest new releases, and much more when you join our sneaker community.


Sole Savy is unreal! With a busy schedule it’s hard to keep up on shoes, and the group keeps me up to date on releases, tips on how to manually cop, and a marketplace with killer deals from fellow like minded collectors. It’s changed the sneaker game for me!

@SoleSavy is the truth. They've helped me cop kicks I never would've imagined getting at retail. Members always willing to assist on drops too. And most of all, a REAL community of REAL sneakerheads. These guys should be the gold standard for sneaker communities! #LifetimeMember

My membership paid for itself three fold by being solely responsible for my union 4’s, mesh sacai waffles, sacai blazers, court purple aj1s, glow in the dark yeezy 350s, travis scott lows (which I traded to get desert ore ow’s), air max 1 londons, bc3’s for way under retail etc.

Can't say enough about SS. The stellar help with copping shoes is a given but it's the community that makes it extra special. Hands down one of the best decisions I made as a wannabe sneakerhead.

The community of sneakerheads and resources available to help manually cop are great and really will help you get more Ws. The Zoom calls for hyped drops like Union Jordan 4 only adds to the camaraderie while providing real time instruction

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