Kanye West first wore his Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototypes during the Grammys in 2008. Now, the kicks, valued in excess of $1 million by Sotheby’s auction house, could become the world’s most expensive sneakers.
The worn Yeezys are described as “one of the most prized and sought after sneakers in existence” by Sotheby’s, which is organizing the private sale of the shoes. They will be on display at the Hong Kong Convention Exhibition Center starting Friday.
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West wore the shoes when he performed at the 50th annual Grammy Awards, where he played hits “Stronger” and “Hey Mama.” In addition, he also won in Grammys categories, including best rap album. Leading up to hyped reveal in 2008, rumors swirled for more than a year over West’s sneakers. After the performance, the sneaker world erupted in a frenzy to learn more about the shoes, which at the time, only had Nike’s recognizable Swoosh logo.
The shoes would go on to usher in a new era of signature sneakers. “The Air Yeezy was an entirely new silhouette – created for an artist rather than an athlete, and paved the way for many of the artist collaborations of today,” Sotheby’s said in a press release.
While West’s Yeezy brand has partnered with Adidas since 2013, the Nike Air Yeezy I and Air Yeezy II are considered to be “foundational” to the trajectory of the sneaker brand, according to Sotheby’s.
“This pair is critical to the development of the Yeezy franchise, which has become one of the most important sneaker and lifestyle brands in history,” Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s Head of Streetwear & Modern Collectables said in a statement.
The size 12 shoes, which were made in Nike’s Oregon headquarters in Oregon, are made of soft black leather. The design features the iconic Yeezy forefoot strap and signature “Y” medallion, as well as the Swoosh. The footwear was originally sold in a charity auction and now put up for sale by collector Ryan Chang.
If it fetches its estimated value, the sneakers are poised to become the most expensive sneakers ever sold. They would beat out the record set last year by NBA legend Michael Jordan’s game-worn sneakers. The shoes sold for $615,000 through auction house Christie’s.
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