The Kanye West sneakers that helped turn athletic shoes into coveted fashion items were acquired for a record-breaking $1.8 million by sneaker investing platform RARES, which marked the first pair of sneakers to top $1 million.
The sneakers were the prototypes for the Yeezy line developed by West and Mark Smith for Nike and revealed by the rapper during his performance at the 2008 Grammy Awards.
The private sale at Sotheby’s marked the highest publicly recorded price for a sneaker sale ever, nearly triple the current auction record for a sneaker set in 2020 at Christie’s for $615,000 by a pair of autographed Nike Air Jordan 1s worn by Michael Jordan in 1985.
Sneakers have become collectors items in recent years, joining more traditional assets like art, wine and jewelry at the world’s big auction houses.
The black leather, size 12 Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototypes have a Yeezy forefoot strap and the brand’s signature Y medallion lace locks in pink.
West wore them for his emotional performances of “Hey Mama” and “Stronger” at the 2008 Grammy Awards, setting off a social media frenzy among fashionistas.
(Production: Joyce Zhou)