Records were shattered when auction house Sotheby’s attracted a $1.8 million winning bid for Kanye West’s Nike Air Yeezy 1 ‘Prototype’. The enormous sum instantly made it the most expensive public sneaker sale of all time when the hammer fell in April 2021.
This pair of Nikes worn by Michael Jordan has broken the record for most expensive sneakers ever sold at auction, fetching $615,000. These Air Jordan 1’s were used by the basketball star during an exhibition game played in Trieste, Italy in the summer of 1985 in which Jordan literally shattered the backboard with one of his signature high-flying dunks. The left sole contains a shard of actual glass from the backboard.
These shoes, among the rarest Nikes on the planet and called the “Moon Shoe” because of the imprint left by their waffle tread, fetched $437,500 in an online auction by Sotheby’s. These shoes were purchased by Miles Spencer Nadal and were originally designed ahead of the 1972 Olympic Trials for participating runners.
The 1991 NBA Finals marked a momentous occasion where Michael Jordan “Grabbed the Torch” from Magic Johnson. Before the 1991 Finals, Michael Jordan was thought of as a scoring machine incapable of winning a championship without conforming to the team concept illustrated by the likes of Magic Johnson and the Showtime Lakers. After Game 1 of the Finals, it appeared this trend would continue. However, Michael Jordan had other plans. The Bulls went on to defeat the Lakers 4-1 ushering in the Bulls dynasty. Michael Jordan won his first NBA Championship and his first NBA Finals MVP. These shoes were right there on the court at the inception of the Bulls’ dynasty that produced two 3-Peats and six Finals’ MVP’s for Michael Jordan. These shoes sold at auction for $252,000.
In October of 2015, the world got its first look at Michael J. Fox modelling the self-lacing Nike MAGs from the forever feature classic Back to the Future. A year later, the highly sought-after silhouette became available for raffle for the Michael J. Fox Foundation in order to help find a cure for Parkinson’s. Since then, fans have cried over unboxing videos, as the shoes continued to auction for increasingly more, with the most recent bid coming in at a heavy $200,000. With a price tag like that, imagine what resell value is going to be.
In 1984, team USA won the Gold at the Olympics in Los Angeles. Michael Jordan’s shoes from the game, which were autographed and include his orthotic inserts, sold at auction in 2017 for $190,373. They are considered to be the last pair Jordan wore in a game as an amateur and also the last time he wore Converse in an official game, prior to the Air Jordan revolution.
On 22nd December 2020, Lionel Messi broke one of football’s greatest records, by scoring the most goals for a single club when he netted his 644th for FC Barcelona in their game against Real Valladolid. The previous holder of this long-standing record is arguably the game’s most celebrated player, Pelé. The famous Brazilian scored 643 goals in 665 competitive games for Santos, with Messi achieving his incredible feat in 749 appearances. These game-worn boots, used to score this famous goal, sold at auction for $171,724.
Bill Bowerman is the heart of Nike. Bowerman, one of Nike’s founders, was one of the greatest innovators of his generation in regards to shoe ingenuity and design. Obsessed with weight and performance, Bowerman would build shoes for his University of Oregon runners from scratch, often using an assemblage of raw materials. This pair, made by Nike’s co-founder exclusively for his runner John Mays, represents an important chapter in the origin of one of America’s greatest companies, Nike. The shoes themselves, produced in the early 1970s with its most recent modification in 1974 are glued together, as opposed to stitched. The brown glue can be seen throughout the uppers, especially where layers of material are held together. Unfortunately, as a result of this intensive and careful process – often undertaken in places without the proper ventilation – Bill would later suffer from nerve damage that would require him to walk with a cane. These shoes sold at auction for $162,500.
In September 2016, those who attended BUSCEMI‘s SoHo Flagship opening party in New York City were greeted with an exclusive look at the label’s luxurious new sneaker. Snagging the silhouette of the coveted 100mm, this model boasts approximately 11.50 carats worth of diamonds, from jeweler Shayan, as well as the signature 18k gold hardware. This incredibly expensive iteration, sold for $132,000.
The 1992 U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team is considered by many to be the greatest athletic squad ever assembled in any sport, and at the heart of the Dream Team was Michael Jordan. Jordan by that point was synonymous with the Nike brand, and a pair of Olympic Air Jordan 7’s he wore during the Dream Team’s global rampage fetched $112,500 at auction.
Flu-like symptoms struck down Michael Jordan during game 5 of the 1997 NBA finals, in what would eventually become known as “flu-game.” Whilst Jordan was visibly fatigued throughout, he went on to score 38 points and win the game for the Chicago Bulls. The pair of sneakers worn by Jordan during this epic sporting feat were sold by former ball boy Preston Truman via an online auction for $104,765 back in 2013, along with the accompanying game-worn socks. The black and red “Flu Game” colorway has also been treated to a number of retro releases of the Jordan 12, including in 2016, 2009 and 2003. Some Jordan fans prefer the version of the story where Jordan was not sick – instead, they believe he spent the previous night at a casino and was hungover the next day, though this remains just a rumor.
A lucky fan received a pair of Drake’s OVO x Air Jordan 10 sneakers back in Jan 2014 at the Toronto Raptors game and sold them on eBay for $100,000. The Raptors held “Drake Night” at the game. Drake introduced the Raptors lineup, performed at halftime, and gave out a couple of pairs of his special edition, OVO x Air Jordan 10 sneakers. One of the fans apparently was too small to actually wear the sneakers, according to Yahoo! Sports. The fan listed the sneakers on eBay at starting price of $300. In only four hours, the sneakers surpassed $2,000. By that Wednesday the shoes sky-rocketed to the price of $100,040 (with shipping) so she decided to close the deal.
The original 1989 Nike MAG from blockbuster hit and legendary film, Back to the Future II went up for sale in 2018. There are only a few shoes in sneaker lore that are as mythical as the Nike Mag from Back To The Future II. Shoezeum on eBay shocked the world by auctioning off one shoe of the original pair that were featured in the movie, which sold for $92,100.
This rare pair is a 2009 collaboration between Nike and Undefeated in commemoration of the hit HBO television show Entourage. The Gold Fukijama Air Force 1 Low was the second shoe Undefeated and Nike designed in honor of the show. It was made in addition to the university blue – and less rare – Fukijama Air Force 1 featured in the same episode. In the show, Salvator “Turtle” Asante spends an entire episode devoted to hunting down the Fukijama Air Force 1. Though Fukijama is a fictional artist, the sneakers pop culture history has led it to be a much sought after item for collectors. The striking Gold Fukijama Air Force 1 features a laser-etched design on metallic gold leather panels and black leather Nike Swooshes. The tongue and heel feature special UNDFTD graphics. When the hammer fell at auction house Sotheby’s, these sneakers which are considered to be one of Nike’s most important design works in the long history of the model sold for $82,000.
This style (Black and Red) was worn by Michael Jordan during the 1992-1993 NBA Playoffs and Finals. This season would prove to be epic for Michael, his last one before his first retirement from Basketball and entry into professional Baseball. MJ would lead the Chicago Bulls to their third straight championship title (the third team in NBA history to three-peat) and become the first player ever to capture Finals MVP honors in three consecutive seasons, after the Bulls defeated the Phoenix Suns in an exceptionally close victory of 99-98 in Game 6. Michael wore the Air Jordan VIII throughout the 1992-1993 NBA season and postseason, switching from White to ‘Playoff’ Black for the last games in the first era of his career. Tinker Hatfield designed the Air Jordan VIII, and it was released in 1993. It was the first Jordan design by Tinker to feature anti-inversion cross straps, inspired by the high wire acts of trapeze artists. These shoes sold at auction for $63,000.
Brooklyn local Leonard Hilton McGurr, known as Futura, is one of the founding fathers of the graffiti movement in New York. Futura started his career in the 1970s tagging subway walls as Futura 2000, a nod to his favorite movie 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick). Futura belongs to a notable group of artists that came out of New York City during this period, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Dondi White, all of whom exhibited at The Fun Gallery in the 80s. Futura is an admired illustrator, photographer, and fashion designer whose art touches many different spheres of public life. Perhaps Futura’s most important contribution to graffiti art was the way he abstracted it, often blending his work’s text and imagery. His influence was felt far outside street art, as Futura would go on to collaborate with punk band The Clash, creating live works during their concerts and also designing their album art. Futura’s work can be found in the collections of the Musée de Vire, the Museum of the City of New York, and the Museo de Arte Moderna di Bologna. This particular work, ‘FLOM,’ an acronym meaning ‘For Love or Money,’ encompasses a pattern that was created from different denominations of printed money. Only 24 of the works were made. Most were distributed to friends and family, making this lot incredibly difficult to find and among the most coveted examples desired by collectors worldwide. These shoes sold at auction for $63,000.
The Air Jordan 1 TYPS (Tong Yang Player Sample) PE is a Michael Jordan player exclusive (PE) that has been adjusted to his exact specifications. Differing from the retail version of the Air Jordan 1, Jordan’s PE included a lowered and adjusted collar and size US 13 left shoe and US 13.5 right shoe, modifications for his comfort. Designed by Peter Moore, the name “Air Jordan” was coined by Michael Jordan’s agent David Falk. At the time, Nike had just developed its new Air cushioning technology, and Michael Jordan plays basketball “in the air.” This shoe sold at auction in August 2020 for $62,500.
Air Jordan shoes have always been a hit among collectors. But perhaps one of the most underrated rare pair of Jordans is the Air Jordan Silver Shoes, which recently went for a whopping $60,000 during an auction on eBay. The most impressive thing about these shoes is that their price tag is due to their design and limited release and not to Jordan using them in a game. There are a few reasons that the Air Jordan Silver Shoes fetch so much money. The shoe was a sneaker made of solid silver which weighed about 10 pounds. It was an autographed shoe from Michael Jordan himself. It is a very limited edition which was exactly made for Michael Jordan by his wife on his 32nd birthday. She also commissioned a jeweler to silver mold the shoe.