Kanye West’s $1m Yeezy shoes are ‘most valuable to go on auction’
A pair of shoes designed and worn by musician Kanye West that are going up for auction are the most valuable to appear on the market, the auction house selling them says.
The Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototypes have an estimate of $1 million (£726,000).
West first wore the shoes while performing at the Grammys in 2008.
They are now being sold by shoe collector Ryan Chang, through Sotheby’s auction house, and will be on display in Hong Kong from Friday.
In recent years, sneakers have gained the same collectable status as wine or jewellery.
Sotheby’s, a global auction house, held its first ever sale dedicated entirely to sneakers in 2019.
Brahm Wachter, head of streetwear and modern collectibles at Sotheby’s, said in a statement that the shoes were “critical to the development of the Yeezy franchise, which became one of the most important sneaker and lifestyle brands in history”.
The sneakers are a US size 12, or a UK 11 – West’s shoe size.
The seven-figure estimate for the Yeezys beats the previous record sale price for sneakers – a pair of 1985 Nike Air Jordan 1s, which were sold by Christie’s last year for $615,000 (£446,000).
However, there are no records for shoes that have been bought privately.
It is believed that the most expensive sneakers ever created were designed by Bicion and Mache Custom Kicks in 2016. The shoes, which are embellished with diamonds and sapphires, were estimated at $4 million.
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The Yeezys are being sold as part of a private sale, which means neither the buyer nor the final sale price will be publicised unless the buyer themselves comes forward.
The sneaker range was developed with Nike between 2007 and 2009. This was the first time Nike had collaborated with someone who wasn’t an athlete.
West wore the Prototypes during an emotional performance of Stronger and Hey Mama at the Grammys in 2008, just a few months after the death of his mother.
The Air Yeezy 1 was then launched in a limited series in 2009, followed by the Air Yeezy 2 in 2012.
But in 2013 West ended his partnership with Nike, saying that his share of the revenue from the shoes was insufficient. The following year, he began working with Adidas.
Partnering with Adidas proved to be a lucrative decision. The collaboration generated almost $1.7 billion in 2020, Forbes and Bloomberg report.