On the sneaker reselling website Goat, one pair of shoes can go for as much as $60,000, according to CEO Eddy Lu.
"It's not just a sports thing, it's a lifestyle thing," Lu said in an interview with CNBC's Wilfred Frost.
Goat is the largest resale marketplace for sneakers, with over 35,000 unique styles available on its website and app. The company authenticates every pair of shoes it receives from sellers in order to prevent counterfeits.
The company recently announced a sponsorship deal with Los Angeles Lakers player Kyle Kuzma, who has previously been sponsored by Nike. The NBA loosened its dress code for the 2018-2019 season, allowing players to wear any color of sneakers for the first time in the league's history.
Lu acknowledged Kanye West as an "important figure" in elevating sneakers to the level of high fashion with his luxury Yeezy brand, developed in partnership with Adidas. But he reached even further back, pointing to Run-D.M.C.'s 1986 hit "My Adidas" as the birth of sneaker culture.
These days, even the most unlikely brands are entering the sneaker market. "We've even seen the luxury companies coming in, with Gucci and Balenciaga creating sneakers of their own," Lu said.
In February, Goat merged with Fight Club, a brick-and-mortar consignment shop with stores in Los Angeles and New York City. The merger allowed Goat to have a physical retail presence, which Lu said is valuable in the industry.
Customers "want to touch the shoes, try them on, see what they feel like and even smell" the sneakers, he said.
As part of the merger, Goat received a $60 million investment from Index Ventures that values the California-based company at $250 million.