The first Yeezy
sneakers ever worn in public by Kanye West are going on sale for over $1 million. The Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototypes, which the American rapper debuted at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards in 2008, will be among the most expensive sneakers ever to appear on the market, according to Sotheby's auction house, which is organizing the sale.
Kanye West scooped four Grammys on the night, including Best Rap Album. The design created in 2007 at Nike's "Innovation Kitchen'' in Oregon, the prototypes were an early version of the Nike Air Yeezy colorways, which would go on sale in 2009. The colorways originally retailed at $215 a pair, although eBay resales the design debuted by Kanye at the Grammys was never released on the market. But in 2017, a pair did appear for sale on collectible sneaker retailer Flight Club, where they sold for $100,000.
Described in a press release as "one of the most prized and sought-after sneakers in existence," the shoes will be offered via private sale after going on display in Hong Kong later this month. Sotheby's did not reveal an exact asking price, though it said it has valued the item "in excess of $1 million." While there is no known record for private sneaker sales, a seven-figure price tag would far exceed the current auction record of $615,000
, set at Christie's in May 2020 by a pair of autographed Nike Air Jordan 1s worn by Michael Jordan in 1985.
The prototype sneakers are a relic of a creative partnership that no longer exists, with Yeezy transferring its operational empire from Nike to Adidas in 2013. When the latter extended its partnership with Yeezy in 2013, the German sportswear brand called it"the most significant partnership ever created between an athletic brand and a non-athlete."
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The shoes come in a custom wooden box featuring a lazered design and etching by Mark Smith, who designed the sneakers.Credit: Sotheby's put on the market by sneaker collector Ryan Cheng, the prototype Yeezys come in a size 12, West's shoe size.
According to Brahm Wachter, Sotheby's head of streetwear and modern collectables, the valuation derives from the brand's cultural impact.