- The first pair of Yeezys that Kanye West ever wore in public are expected to sell for over $1 million.
- West debuted his sneaker brand during his 2008 Grammy performance.
- Sotheby’s is selling the sneakers after an exhibition in Hong Kong wraps up.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The shoes that spawned Kanye West’s sneaker empire are going up for sale at the historic Sotheby’s auction house.
The Nike Air Yeezy 1 prototypes are expected to sell for over $1 million, according to Sotheby’s estimates, making them the most expensive sneakers to ever hit the market.
The shoes represent the first Yeezy sneakers ever worn in public by West when he debuted them at the Grammy Awards in 2008 during his performance of “Hey Mama” and “Stronger.” The shoes feature a faded Nike swoosh, alongside West’s signature Yeezy strap.
The sneakers will be sold in a custom wooden box that features a design from the shoe’s designer, Mark Smith.
The size-12 shoes will be on display at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center from April 16 through 21 and will be available for private sale through Sotheby’s site after the exhibition.
West’s 2008 Grammy moment created a buzz among sneakerheads and, ultimately, helped West achieve a billionaire status in 2020. Sneaker collector Ryan Cheng, who is listing the shoes for the private sale, said in a press release that the shoes encapsulate a cultural movement.
“There he was, Kanye West, on stage at the Grammys, winning 4 awards just that evening, and unveiling an incredibly important and iconic design in Nike’s storied history,” Cheng said.
The highest known sneaker sale to date was a pair of autographed Nike Air Jordan’s that were worn by Michael Jordan in 1985, according to CNN. The shoes sold for $615,000 in 2020 on Christie’s site.