Kanye West’s First-Ever Yeezys Could Fetch More Than $1 Million

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Got a casual $1 million lying around? If so, now’s the time to score a piece of sneakerhead history. The first-ever Yeezy sneakers worn by Kanye West in public are going on sale for more than $1 million, reports CNN

Back in 2008, West stepped out at the Grammy Awards (he won four that year for Graduation) wearing his Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototypes, a black high-top style with thick straps designed by Mark Smith. While the rapper eventually went on to partner with Adidas for his Yeezy sneaker collabs, that very first prototype with Nike introduced West as a sneaker designer to the world. “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,” Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of streetwear and modern collectables, told CNN. 

Kanye West at the 2008 Grammys in his sneakersPhoto: Robyn Beck/Getty Images 

The sneakers—which are a size 12—were put on the market by sneaker collector Ryan Chang. They will be among the most expensive sneakers ever to appear on the market, though similar, mass-produced pairs sold for $215 each in 2009. In 2013, Yeezy transitioned its operations from Nike to Adidas, so this prototype is even rarer, considering it’s a now defunct collaboration. 

If you’re looking to get your hands on these ultrarare kicks, however, it may not be so easy: The sneakers will be displayed in Hong Kong later this month and then offered via private sale, meaning not just anyone can buy them. But whoever scores them is likely to break a record. To date, one of most expensive sneakers was sold at auction in May 2020, when an autographed pair of Nike Air Jordan 1s—signed by Michael Jordan himself in 1985—collected $615,000 at Christie’s. West’s Yeezys, however, are expected to go for substantially more than that. Suddenly, Christian Louboutin red bottoms seem affordable. 

Kanye West’s Nike Air Yeezy 1 Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby’s