Champs, Footaction & Footlocker have a unique reservation system for their most limited sneaker launches and to help you win more kicks we put together a step by step guide. In order to get started, you’ll need to download the apps, create an account, and make reservations via each app’s “Launch Locator” feature.

It sounds easy, but if you want any real shot of securing a pair of Retros or 350s, you’re going to have to earn points, or what Footlocker and co. refer to as “Head Starts.” 

What is a Head Start?

Contrary to its name, a Head Start is not a jump on everyone else to checkout a pair of sneakers ahead of time, but rather a unit that incrementally increases your chances of winning a raffle. To add to the confusion, the increments are called “minutes.” To put it simply, having extra minutes is just like having extra lottery tickets. More minutes does not always mean more W’s, but it does increase the probability of securing an in-store reservation. 

Keep in mind that the highest amount of Head Start minutes anyone can have at a time, per app, is 10.

Still confused? Thank the Footsites for their customer-friendly branding strategy 🙃 

How to earn Head Starts

There are a handful of different ways you can rack up Head Starts.  

 1. Join rewards programs

First of all, you get a 6 minute Head Start just for signing up for each app’s rewards program. Easy as that. Here are the links to sign up if you have not already done so: 

2. Buy things

But wait… there’s more. The second way you can earn Head Starts is by attaining a higher reward status. On Champs & Footlocker, this is called platinum VIP and on Footaction, it’s Gold Status (because why not). To earn such prestige, you’ll need to spend at least $300 over the course of a year on an individual app – this gets you an additional minute Head Start. 

Note that spending $600 in a given app will not earn you another minute. This is a one-time reward per account per year. So, to maximize your chances and make your money go further, we suggest signing up for multiple rewards accounts. Once you hit the $300 threshold, move on to the next account. The more platinum/gold accounts you have, the higher the likelihood that you will win. 

Screenshot of a Footlocker Platinum VIP who has spent $545 this year in order to win limited sneakers

3. Check-in at a store… or use this workaround

The last way to earn Head Starts is to check-in at the store, which will give you 3 minutes. There are a couple of ways to check-in at Footaction, Footlocker and Champs stores. You can turn bluetooth on and check-in through the app or you can ask a staff member for the code. 

We understand that you might not always be able to make it to a physical location while a raffle is open so we got you covered with check-in codes. Check out the step-by-step process below to use check-in codes for each store and be sure to turn post notifications on for the Sole Retriever Twitter account so you never miss one. 

How to Use Check In Codes:

Step 1: Download the Champs, Footaction, & Footlocker apps

Step 2: Open app(s) then navigate to the “More” tab and select “Launch Locator”

Step 3: Pick the sneaker release you want to enter

Step 4: Enter zip code tweeted from @soleretriever (turn on post notifications)

Step 5: Select your shoe size and submit

Step 6: Navigate to “My Countdowns”

Step 7: Select “Earn Head Starts” then choose “Check-In At Store”

Step 8: Click the “Tap here” button under “At store and can’t access Check-In?”

Step 9: Input the four-digit code tweeted

Step 10: Navigate back to the “My Countdowns” page, then select the “EDIT” option and click “SELECT STORES” to change zip back to your preferred pickup locations