Written by Leah Dolan, NCS

The first Yeezy sneakers ever worn in public by Kanye West are happening sale for over $1 million.

The Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototypes, which the American rapper debuted at the fiftieth Annual Grammy Awards in 2008, will be amongst the most expensive sneakers ever to look on the market, in keeping with Sotheby’s public sale home, which is organizing the sale.

Described in a press launch as “one of the most prized and sought-after sneakers in existence,” the footwear will be supplied through personal sale after happening show in Hong Kong later this month. Sotheby’s didn’t reveal an actual asking value, although it stated it has valued the merchandise “in excess of $1 million.”

While there isn’t a identified document for personal sneaker gross sales, a seven-figure price ticket would far exceed the present public sale document of $615,000, set at Christie’s in May 2020 by a pair of autographed Nike Air Jordan 1s worn by Michael Jordan in 1985.
The shoes come in a custom wooden box featuring a lazered design and etching by Mark Smith, who designed the sneakers.

The footwear are available in a customized wood field that includes a lazered design and etching by Mark Smith, who designed the sneakers. Credit: Sotheby’s

Put on the market by sneaker collector Ryan Cheng, the prototype Yeezys are available in a measurement 12, West’s shoe measurement. According to Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of streetwear and trendy collectables, the valuation derives from the model’s cultural impression.

“This pair is critical to the development of the Yeezy franchise, which has become one of the most important sneaker and lifestyle brands in history,” he stated over electronic mail.

Birth of a sneaker icon

Rumors of West’s potential shoe line had been circulating for nearly a yr previous to his 2008 Grammy efficiency. When the rapper stepped on stage sporting the comfortable black leather-based high-tops, their muted Nike swoosh logos and distinctive straps — which might turn into a signature Yeezy flourish — generated vital buzz amongst followers and sneaker aficionados.

At the time, West had simply launched his third studio album, “Graduation,” which offered nearly 1 million copies. During an emotional Grammys efficiency, he sang “Hey Mama” to honor his mom, Donda West, who had died simply three months prior.

Kanye West scooped four Grammys on the night, including Best Rap Album.

Kanye West scooped 4 Grammys on the evening, together with Best Rap Album. Credit: Robyn Beck/AFP/AFP through Getty Images

Created in 2007 at Nike’s “Innovation Kitchen” in Oregon, the prototypes were an early version of the Nike Air Yeezy colorways, which would go on sale in 2009. The colorways originally retailed at $215 a pair, although eBay resales can today reach $8,000.

The design debuted by Kanye at the Grammys was never released on the market. But in 2017, a pair did appear for sale on collectible sneaker retailer Flight Club, where they sold for $100,000.

The prototype sneakers are a relic of a creative partnership that no longer exists, with Yeezy transferring its operational empire from Nike to Adidas in 2013. When the latter extended its partnership with Yeezy in 2013, the German sportswear brand called it “the most vital partnership ever created between an athletic model and a non-athlete.”