Kanye West’s Yeezy trainers break record, sells for $1.8m

A pair of shoes designed and worn by musician Kanye West has sold for $1.8m (£1.3m) at an auction. It is the highest amount ever paid for a pair of trainers.


The Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototypes beat the previous record, which was held by a pair of Nike Air Jordan 1s that sold for $615,000 last year.


“The sale also marks the first pair of sneakers to top $1m,” Sotheby’s auction house said on Monday.


West first wore the shoes while performing at the Grammys in 2008. They are a US size 12, or a UK 11.


The shoes were bought by RARES, an internet platform for investing in rare footwear. Its users can buy shares in a pair in a similar way to how investors buy stocks in a company, Yahoo news states.


They were sold by the shoe collector Ryan Chang in a private sale, which means neither the buyer nor the final sale price can be publicised unless the buyer themselves comes forward.


“The sale marks the highest publicly recorded price for a sneaker sale ever,” the auction house said in a statement.


The sale price exceeded Sotheby’s initial estimate of $1m.


Brahm Wachter, head of streetwear and collectibles at Sotheby’s, said the price “speaks volumes of Kanye’s legacy as one of the most influential clothing and sneaker designers of our time, and of the Yeezy franchise he has built which has become an industry titan”.


In recent years, trainers have gained the same collectable status as wine or jewellery. Sotheby’s held its first-ever sale dedicated entirely to trainers in 2019.


West wore the Prototypes during an emotional performance of Stronger and Hey Mama at the Grammy Awards in 2008, just a few months after the death of his mother.


The Air Yeezy 1 was subsequently launched in a limited series in 2009, followed by the Air Yeezy 2 in 2012.


But in 2013, West ended his partnership with Nike and said his share of the revenue from the shoes was insufficient. He began working with Adidas the following year.


Partnering with Adidas proved to be a lucrative decision. The collaboration generated almost $1.7bn in 2020, Forbes and Bloomberg report.

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