This is an interesting change:
A selection of Lululemon Athletica Inc.’s coveted leggings is available at a big discount, but there is a catch. Someone has sweated in them.
Workout gear, swimsuits, bras and other items once taboo for the secondhand racks now are widely available, as shoppers get more comfortable with wearing what someone else once did.
Not everyone’s tolerance is the same. One person’s great find is another’s grossout.
“We call it the “ick factor,” as in how much “ick” does a particular item have?” said Sarah Davis, founder and president of Fashionphile LLC, a marketplace for previously owned luxury shoes, handbags, jewelry and accessories.
Shoes have a high ick factor, leading to elevated returns by buyers who initially thought they were OK with walking in someone else’s footwear, Ms. Davis said.
Fashionphile stopped offering used shoes for a while but has sidestepped the problem. It carries only the most gently worn ones—no toe marks or scuffs—and hand-cleans them with shampoo, baby wipes and antibacterial spray.
“We get rid of all the things that remind you the shoe was worn by someone else,” Ms. Davis said.
That isn’t enough to tempt Ryan Bullock. “Your feet sit inside them all day,” said the 26-year-old real-estate investor in Philadelphia.
Yet he has no issue with secondhand workout gear, a concept he got comfortable with in high school when he played football and donned the team’s repeatedly reused jerseys.
“Most of the clothes I buy for the gym are secondhand. I feel no reason to spend big bucks on clothes I will be sweating in,” Mr. Bullock said.
I don’t see the problem with any of this.