We're used to hearing about famous works of art and rare artifacts going for millions. But a pair of sneakers? Not so much. But that's what could happen as Kanye West's first Yeezy sneakers come up for auction at Sotheby’s with a valuation of more than $1 million.
What makes the shoes so unique is that they were the prototype for the first Yeezy line. The Nike Air Yeezy 1 prototypes were in 2008 created by Mark Smith and West, who debuted them at the 2008 Grammy Awards. West said he wore them in size 12 while performing "Hey Mama" and "Stronger" and won in four categories (including Best Rap Album). It was these sneakers that launched the Yeezy brand, ultimately turning him into a billionaire.
These sneakers were originally sold as part of a charity auction that supported the Doernbecher Children's Hospital. Ryan Chang is now the one selling them. Sotheby highlights this clear provenance and provides a photo analysis of the sneakers, comparing them to Kanye's Grammy performance.
"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 stated on their site. "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."
The sale is private, but the sneakers will be on display at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center from April 16 to April 21. If the pricey sneakers sell for their valuation, they will break the record for the most expensive sneakers ever sold. The sneakers that currently hold the record are a pair of Michael Jordan's Air Jordan 1s.Those sold in May 2020 for an incredible $560,000. This pair of Yeezy sneakers could go for double.