Kanye West's Performance-Worn Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototype Sells for $1.8M USD

Earlier this month, it was announced that the historic auction house Sotheby’s would be selling the only pair of Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototype sneakers in existence. Today, it has been confirmed that the sneakers — worn by Kanye West during the legendary 50th Annual Grammy Awards performance — have sold, smashing the estimate of $1m USD after selling for a staggering $1.8m USD.

Purchased by the fractional ownership and sneaker investing marketplace RARES, the sale marks a new milestone for a publicly recorded sneaker sale. Previous records include the Nike “Moon Shoe” that sold for $437,500 USD, as well as the pair of game-worn Air Jordan 1s that fetched $560,000 USD in May 2020. Since then, we’ve seen pairs of AJ1s sell for almost a million dollars, but no shoe eclipses this latest Sotheby’s sale.

The pair carries a lot of weight on its heels, being the 2008 sample that appeared not just during ‘Ye’s Stronger and Hey Mama performance at the Grammys, but then going on to mark one of the most sought-after collaborations ever in the sneaker industry.

Gerome Sapp, CEO & Co-Founder of RARES, said, “We are thrilled to work with Sotheby’s on this acquisition. Our goal in purchasing such an iconic shoe — and a piece of history — is to increase accessibility and empower the communities that birthed sneaker culture with the tools to gain financial freedom through RARES. We look forward to working with Sotheby’s to continue to identify rare finds that will help elevate, preserve and uphold sneaker culture.”

The former owner of the shoes Ryan Chang, who is a cosigner, collector, and the curator of applied.arts.nyc, said, “I loved having this pair in my collection, and have always admired its significance as a cultural artifact. I’m so grateful that this iconic piece is going into good hands courtesy of Sotheby’s.”

In case you missed it, check out this week’s Sole Mates installment. This time around, HYPEBEAST speaks with Bodega’s Oliver Mak about the sneaker store’s Dr. Martens 1461 collaboration.
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