The 10 Most Expensive Sneakers Ever Sold

A pair of Michael Jordan's sneakers sold for $1.47 million at auction last month,making them the most expensive game-worn footwear ever sold.

But the red and white Nike Air Ships worn during Chicago Bulls' 1984 season are not the most expensive trainers ever sold.

The rare sports shoes market is attracting the attention of collectors around the world and record prices have been paid for sneakers.

Sneakers have transcended sports and they are now luxury items in major fashion catwalks as well as coveted pieces in the art world. For example, Sotheby's, the auction house that regularly sells multimillion-dollar art masterpieces, held its first auction dedicated entirely to sneakers in 2019.

1. Kanye West's Nike Air Yeezy, ($ 1.8)

Kanye West ‘Grammy Worn’ Nike Air Yeezy
The most expensive trainers (sneakers) sold in a private sale are a pair of Nike Air Yeezy Sample shoes worn by Kanye West (USA) at the 2008 Grammy Awards, which sold for $1,800,000. Photo courtesy of Sotheby's/Sotheby's

Sotheby's record-breaking sale of the Kanye West Nike Air Yeezy Grammy Prototype from 2008, sold for $1.8 million via private sale on 26 April, 2021.

They are the most expensive sneakers ever sold in a private sale, according to Guinness World Records.

Kanye West wore the all-black pair of Nike Air Yeezy 1s during a performance at the 2008 Grammy Awards. The shoes were never released by Nike and they soon became one of the most desired sample sneakers amongst collectors and the public.

2. Michael Jordan's Nike Air Ships ($1.47)

Nike Air Ships
The most expensive sneakers sold at auction. A collector paid $1,472,000 for the Nike Air Ships, game-worn by Michael Jordan in 1984. Photo Courtesy of Sotheby's/Sotheby's

The Nike Airship game-worn by Michael Jordan in 1984, are the all-time most expensive worn sneakers sold at auction.

Collector Nick Fiorella paid $1,472,000 for them at Sotheby's Las Vegas on 24 October, 2021.

Brahm Wachter, head of Sotheby's Streetwear and Modern Collectables, said in a statement that the sale "confirm the position of Michael Jordan and the Air Jordan franchise at the top of the sneaker market."

In 1984, Nike gave Michael Jordan a signature line of shoes and clothes, which Sotheby's says was a crucial, unprecedented move to entice Jordan to sign with Nike. 'It paved the way for many of the player collaborations we now see', says Sotheby's.

Recent Netflix series The Last Dance has also renewed interest in the basketball legend.

3. Nike Air Jordan 1 High Sneakers ($615,000)

 the Air Jordan 1
Caitlin Donovan Christies head of Sales, Handbags, and Accessories holds the Air Jordan 1 High Shattered Backboard Origin Story, Game-Worn Signed Sneaker Nike, 1985 Size 13.5 High-Top on display during a press preview July 24, 2020 at Christie's New York. - Christies and Stadium Goods have partnered to offer a unique sneaker overview of Michael Jordans era-defining Chicago Bulls career. Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images/Getty Images

Another pair of Michael Jordan's old sneakers is at No.3.

The shoes, worn by the Chicago Bulls star in an exhibition game in 1985, were called the "rarest of the rare" when they sold for $615,000 in August 2020 at an online Christie's auction.

4. Nike Air Jordan 1, ($560,000)

 Nike Air Jordan 1s
Michael Jordan’s Game-Worn, Autographed Nike Air Jordan 1s, 1985 Photo Courtesy of Sotheby's/Sotheby's

Once again proving the design's historical value, these Nike Air Jordan 1s were sold by Sotheby's at auction in New York for over half a million dollars in 2020.

The 1985 game-worn sneakers, signed by Jordan, are in the Chicago Bulls' colors of red, white and black, and sold for more than three times their original estimate.

5. 1972 Nike Waffle Racing Flat "Moon Shoe" ($437,500)

The most expensive sneakers ever sold at auction, according to Guinness World Records.

On 23 July, 2019, the 12 original Nike Waffle Racing Flats, the "Moon Shoes" sold at Sotheby's New York for $437,500.

Buyer Miles Spencer Nadal said via statement, "I think sneaker culture and collecting is on the verge of a breakout moment."

The unworn shoes were handmade by Nike cofounder and Oregon University track coach Bill Bowerman, and only a handful of the original batch of 12 pairs remain in existence.

Guinness World Records says the owner plans on "displaying the sneakers – plus another 99 pairs acquired in the sale – at his Dare to Dream Automobile Museum in Toronto, Canada."

6. Michael Jordan Olympic Converses ($190,373)

A pair of game-used and autographed Michael Jordan Olympic Converses worn by the then-future NBA star during the 1984 Olympic basketball final against Spain at The Forum in Inglewood, Los Angeles, sold at auction for $190,373 in 2017.

They are said 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.

7. Air Jordan 11 'Space Jam' Sample ($176,400)

The Space Jam Jordans
Michael Jordan Signed ‘Player Sample’ Deadstock Air Jordan 11 ‘Space Jam Photo Courtesy of Sotheby's/Sotheby's

Michael Jordan's Air Jordan 11 "Space Jam" Sample were sold at auction by Sotheby's for $176,400 in July 2021.

The sneakers were made for Michael Jordan to wear in the 1996 Space Jam movie.

8. Air Jordan 12 Flu Game ($104,765)

The Air Jordan 12 "Flue Game" shoes that Michael Jordan wore in the iconic 1997 NBA Final, popularly known as "Flu Game," sold in 1993 for $104,765.

Basketball fans everywhere remember the historic game when Michael Jordan outshone his rivals despite reportedly having the flu.

It was later revealed in The Last Dance documentary series that Jordan did not have the flu but food poisoning. However, the several "Flu Game" theories will only increase the value of the Air Jordan 12 shoes.

9. Nike Air Force 1 "Entourage x Undefeated x Fukijama Gold" ($88,200)

"Entourage x Undefeated x Fukijama Gold"
Sotheby's auctioned a pair in March 2021 for $88,200. Photo Courtesy of Sotheby's/Sotheby's

The 'Fukijama Gold' featured on HBO's Entourage,'What About Bob?' in season three. Thanks to the popularity of the show, Nike created a real pair in 2009. A gold version of its popular Air Force 1 shoe.

In the 2006 episode,Vincent Chase's childhood friend,Turtle, can't get a pair of the covetable Air Force 1s created by an artist named Fukijama. Turtle decides to camp out at UNDEFEATED's Santa Monica location but sees DJ AM (RIP) secure the last pair of the shoes and leaves. Vincent surprises him by sending him to pick up a 1-of-1 pair from Fukijama himself. Sotheby's auctioned a pair in March 2021 for $88,200.

10. Nike Air Jordan IV Retro Eminem Encore ($56,700)

A 2017 model of the Nike Air Jordan IV Retro Eminem Encore sold for $56,700 at Sotheby's.

It was modelled on the 2005 blue, red and black sneakers version that Nike and rapper Eminem created to celebrate Eminem 2004 album Encore.

Due to the original release's popularity, retro pairs of Nike Air Jordan IV Eminem Encore were rereleased in 2017 to coincide with Eminem's Revival album.