eBay kicked off Memorial Day weekend 2022 with its Wear ‘Em Out brick-and-mortar pop-up sneaker experience on Los Angeles’ Fairfax Avenue, which is known as a hub for streetwear, sneakerheads and emerging brands.
To inspire die-hard collectors — who often preserve (and never put on their feet) their most valuable sneakers — to live life in their beloved kicks, eBay created an environment that encouraged fans to try on these prized sneakers, test them out on terrain within the store and wear them out upon purchase. The testing terrain area featured faux grass turf that ran over design elements resembling small hills, a cinderblock path and gravel to simulate everyday outdoor conditions. Enhancing this area, eBay incorporated plants, flowers and fencing to relay the feeling of wearing the shoes while walking in a city or exploring suburban or park spaces.
At the entrance of the Wear ‘Em Out space, visitors encountered an installation with a deep-green artificial grass backdrop that displayed rows of identical stark white sneakers. At the front of the store, a sign encouraged visitors to “Lace ‘em up” and “Wear ‘em out.” A path made of light wood flooring led guests along a display showcasing eBay’s sneaker offerings, comprising only 100 pairs of 10 styles that changed each day during the pop-up experience.
The bright space featured colorful eBay branded signage on white walls while the ceiling’s exposed wood beams created a more natural feel. Guests tried on their sneakers while seated on benches in a gray hue that yielded a resemblance to an oversized (and more comfortable) cinderblock.
Each sample sneaker sat atop a gray pedestal under messaging that stated “Rock ‘em or stock ‘em? The choice is yours.” While visitors came to experience styles such as Jordan 1 Retro High OG Patent Bred or Yeezy Boost 700 Wave Runner, the shop’s testing terrain was central to the space, occupying approximately one-third of the sales floor area.
“We wanted to create something that felt special and appropriate for this community,” said Garry Thaniel, GM of Sneakers at eBay in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “It’s a really cool activation. But we also wanted to have something that really spoke to Wear ‘Em Out besides just putting them on in the store. That’s why you have the Wear ‘Em Out walk path.”
Despite an opening limited to May 27-29, 2022 in Los Angeles, fans of eBay’s sneaker marketplace are requesting the company take the pop-up experience on the road in other cities across the country.