Research and Plan
Huge shoe releases are usually announced months in advance, so if you have your eyes on something big, check on sneaker sites such as Sole Collector or Sneaker News for release calendars on a regular basis. Keep in mind that release dates can change, so don't lock in a reminder on the phone until the week of the drop. Major companies will also ghost drop some cult classics without reminders, so it's a good look to get mobile alerts via your favorite companies' Twitter accounts for some added insurance.
The Countdown Begins
5 to 7 days before release date is where the real legwork begins. The average retail store has changed procedures for releases lately, as first come first serve is a thing of the past. After several customers got jacked for their sneaks soon as they hit the parking lot, the raffle system has been implemented by big box companies and mom and pops alike for safety reasons. Hit up as many stores in your area the week of the drop for raffle tickets. They'll ask for your name, number, and shoe size. The great part about this process is that you'll be notified the day before the shoe comes out, so you can skip out in getting up early if you're the lucky winner. For anyone looking to cop more than a few releases a year, it's usually a good idea to find a plug at a mom and pop/boutique shop. Just like good tailor and a rock solid barber, it pays to have a sneaker hook-up in your repertoire. Develop a good rapport by stopping by once in awhile just to shoot the shit, and drop off random goods if you're in the area. A case of beer or some coffees every now and again doesn’t hurt either. Don't burn your connect though, keep your hookups close to the chest and when it comes to super rare pairs, show your appreciation to them with a little extra cash on the side or a good bottle of liquor. Using proprietary apps like SNKRS and Confirmed can increase your chances of securing that elusive pair, too.
Work From Home
In the case the raffles and reservations don't work out, the technique at home has to be airtight. The night before the drop, disable any streaming services that could eat up bandwidth. Plug your laptop or computer into a wired connection; don't take any chances with potentially spotty Wi-Fi. Set two alarms 20 and 15 minutes before the scheduled release time before hitting the sack. Once you get up, don't kill time by watching TV. Keep the eyes glued to the screen and multiple tabs open for every site. Make sure you're logged in as well. Most cart systems will only hold your kicks for a few minutes before releasing them again. If this isn’t your first time trying to cop shoes, commit the location of the buy button to memory and leave the cursor hovering over where it should be once the countdown timer expires. Every millisecond counts. If you strike out initially, don't sweat it. Keep at it for up to 10 minutes afterwards, because there could be some ill prepared lames that'll lose the items in their carts due to credit cards being rejected. Their loss is your gain.
If you still manage to strike out, don't sweat it. The aforementioned Twitter alerts will hit you with random restocks of the good stuff, so not all is lost. Keep hope alive and stay persistent, brethren, there’s always new heat around the corner and what’s meant to be is meant to be.