Kanye West's Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototype Just Became the Most Expensive Sneakers Sold at Auction

The $1.8 million winning bid is a world record.

When news broke that Kanye West's Nike Air Yeezy 1 prototype was going up on sale, there were whispers that the kicks could become the most expensive sneakers ever sold at auction. Today, the hunch was confirmed as the pair broke auction records after a $1.8 million sale.

Sotheby's privately held the sale for the "prototype that introduced the Nike Yeezy brand to the world." RARES, a sneaker investing marketplace, was identified as the buyer. The sale marks the first documented sneaker sale surpassing $1 million.

"These are the sneakers Kanye West wore the night the Yeezy was introduced to the world and redefined what a signature shoe could be," Sotheby's said in a statement. "It was an entirely new silhouette, created for an artist rather than an athlete. Though Kanye West has partnered with adidas since 2013, the Nike Air Yeezy I and Air Yeezy II are still some of the most coveted sneakers by collectors, and are foundational to the trajectory of the Yeezy brand as we know it today."


Kanye West debuted the Air Yeezy 1 during a Grammy's performance where he sang "Hey Mama" and "Stronger" in 2008.

"We are thrilled with the result, which has nearly tripled the highest price on record," said Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of streetwear and modern collectables. "The sale speaks volumes of Kanye’s legacy as one of the most influential clothing and sneaker designers of our time, and of the Yeezy franchise he has built which has become an industry titan. Furthermore, it builds on the recent growth in Sotheby’s sneakers, which is now offered across our Buy-Now marketplace, auction, and private sales."

Before being put on sale, the sneakers were on view at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from April 16 to April 21. 

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Paolo Chua
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor of Esquire Philippines.
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