More recently, the prototype of the Nike Air Yeezy 1 trainers that West wore to the 2008 Grammys sold for a staggering $1.8 million, setting a new sneaker sale record.
The purchase, which was facilitated by high-end auction house Sotheby’s, was made by sneaker investing platform RARES, breaking the record for the most expensive public sale of a pair of sneakers by almost three times.
Previously, the record-holder was a pair of 1985 Air Jordan 1s, designed and worn by Michael Jordan, which sold in 2020 for $560,000
Perhaps one of the reasons for the sneaker carrying such intrigue — and a hefty price tag to boot — is that the prototype trainer represents West’s early ambitions to get into the fashion game, a feat he has since very successfully achieved. Case in point, earlier in 2021 Bloomberg estimated Yeezy is worth between $3.2 billion and $4.7 billion.
West officially launched his collaboration with Nike in 2009 before the deal went south (had to) prompting the rapper to go into business with Adidas in 2013.
Prior to West appearing at the 2008 music awards show wearing the prototype sneakers, there had been speculation that a collaboration with Nike was in the works for years. The Jesus Walks singer debuting the kicks at the Grammys was the first hint of evidence that the partnership was not just the stuff of urban legend.
According to the official RARES website, “The Air Yeezy I was dreamt up by Kanye and designers Mark Smith and Tiffany Beers in the Nike Innovation Kitchen during two years of intense effort.
“They combined design elements from several early Jordan shoes and added Kanye’s signature single strap for comfort. The shoe features a glow-in-the-dark outsole, a translucent red “Y” shaped lace lock, and soft plush leather material. This shoe’s design hammered home the idea that signature footwear should sit at the intersection of premium quality and iconic design.”
If you’re keen to get a piece of the Yeezy pie, you’re in luck as RARES are planning to offer people the chance to invest in the sneaker.
Per their website, “After touring museums around the world, the Air Yeezy 1 was obtained by Rares in a record-setting deal with Sotheby’s, and will be made available to the sneaker community, that made it so valuable to begin with; in the summer of 2021.”
In a release, the company offered insight into how this works explaining that they buy a sneaker, get interest in the sneaker qualified as tradable security through the Securities and Exchange Commission, and then divide ownership into fractional shares.
If you’d like to own a piece of music and fashion history by acquiring a share of the Air Yeezy 1 prototype, you can reserve your spot on the RARE website ahead of the sale being launched on June 16.