On sale for over $1 million, the first-ever Yeezy sneakers worn in public by Kanye West made its rounds on social media.
The Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototypes, which first appeared at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards in 2008 worn by the American rapper, is considered to be one of the most expensive sneakers ever based on the Sotheby’s auction house.
The shoes will be released via private sale after its anticipated display in Hong Kong later this month. Termed as one of the most sought-after sneakers to date, the item is valued at over $1 million although Sotheby’s did not release the asking price.
The current record amounts to $615,000 by a pair of autographed Nike Air Jordan 1s in May 2020, worn by Michael Jordan in 1985. While there is no record of private sneaker sales, a price of seven figures far outweighs the current one.
The prototype was put on the market by Ryan Cheng, sneaker collector, which comes in size 12, West’s shoe size. Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of streetwear and modern collectibles, said that the shoe’s valuation comes from the cultural impact of the Yeezy brand.
Speculations of the forthcoming shoe line have already been circulating prior to West’s 2008 Grammy performance. Stepping on stage wearing the slick black leather high-tops, with the signature Nike swoosh logo and unique straps, West’s shoes became an instant trend among fans and sneaker enthusiasts.
West had just released “Graduation,” his third studio album at the time which sold almost 1 million copies worldwide. He performed an emotional piece “Hey Mama” during the Grammys, in honor of his late mother who died just three months prior.
The prototypes were made in 2007 at Nike’s “Innovation Kitchen” in Oregon, which were an older version of Nike Air Yeezy colorways that became available in 2009. The original retail price of each pair of colorways was $215, which went up to a staggering $8,000 on eBay resales as of the present.
The design worn by Kanye in his performance was never released in public. However, in 2017, a pair was sold on collectible sneaker retailer Flight Club for $100,000.
The prototype sneakers indicate a remnant of a partnership that no longer exists, with Yeezy shifting its operations from Nike to Adidas in 2013. The German shoes brand named it the most significant partnership they made with a non-athletic brand.