Kanye West's Grammy-worn Nike Air Yeezy 1 prototypes from 2008 have been sold for a recording-breaking $1.8 million, making them the most valuable sneakers ever and the first recorded sneaker sale for more than $1 million, Sotheby's says.
The price sets a new milestone for a publicly recorded sneaker sale, shattering the previous auction record for sneakers by nearly three times. Sotheby's says the shoes were acquired by sneaker investing platform RARES via private sale.
RARES, a first-of-its-kind fractional ownership and sneaker investigating marketplace, allows users to invest in sneakers by buying and trading shares in them. Kanye wore the now record-breaking Yeezys during his performance of "Hey Mama" and "Stronger" at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards.
One of the most prized and sought-after sneakers in existence, the pair was on offer from Ryan Chang, renowned sneaker collector and curator of @applied.arts.nyc. They were created exclusively for West and redefined what a signature shoe could be, according to Sotheby's.
The Kanye West & Mark Smith designed samples were built in Nike’s lab – known as the ‘Innovation Kitchen’ – at the company’s headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon in 2007.
Previously, Sotheby's record auction price for sneakers was $560,000 for a pair of Nike Air Jordan 1s in May 2020. It also sold a pair of Nike Waffle Shoes in 2019 for $437,000, which was a record price at that time.