Kanye West’s first pair of Yeezy sneakers are expected to sell for over $1 million, making them the most expensive pair ever

Kanye West at 2008 Grammy awards
Kanye West at 2008 Grammy awards

  • 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.

Yeezy sneakers on sale at Sotheby's
Yeezy sneakers on sale at Sotheby’s

The sneakers will be sold in a custom wooden box that features a design from the shoe’s designer, Mark Smith.

Yeezy sneaker box

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.

Sotheby's Yeezy sale

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.

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Kanye West is now reportedly worth $6.6 billion thanks to his Yeezy brand’s apparel and footwear deals, making him the richest Black American in history

Kanye West
  • Kanye West is the wealthiest Black person in US history with a reported net worth of $6.6 billion.
  • USB values West’s Yeezy collaboration with Gap at $3.2 to $4.7 billion, according to Bloomberg.
  • That valuation brings the mogul’s net worth to a historic new high.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Kanye West just became the wealthiest Black person US history.

The multifaceted star’s new net worth tops out at $6.6 billion, thanks to a new valuation of West’s Yeezy collaborations with Gap and Adidas, according to a report from Bloomberg. The publication reviewed a document from UBS Group AG outlining economic predictions for the rapper-turned-fashion mogul.

The bank estimated the Yeezy shoe collaboration with Adidas and the upcoming Yeezy clothing collaboration with Gap Inc. are worth about $3.2 to $4.7 billion, according to the report. About $970 million of that is attributable to the Gap deal, Bloomberg reports. The collection for the retailer will feature men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing and is expected to drop sometime this summer.

West’s net worth is also boosted by $1.7 billion invested across a number of assets, including Kim Kardashian West’s Skims brand, according to Bloomberg, which viewed unaudited documents provided by West’s attorney. The rapper holds around $122 million in stocks and liquid assets, the report said, and his music catalog has reportedly been valued at more than $110 million.

Forbes claims West is likely “worth less than a third” of that $6.6 billion – $1.8 billion – calling the “sky-high estimate” only “the latest of West’s attempts to inflate his net worth.” The outlet said it would not speculate any value for the Gap collaboration “until the products start to sell.”

The Yeezy clothing partnership with Gap Inc. was announced in June of last year, sending the retailer’s stock soaring, but analysts at the time were skeptical.

“For the deal to truly change Gap’s outlook, it has to increase Gap’s relevance with consumers so the rest of its business stops shrinking,” UBS analyst Jay Sole wrote in a note sent to clients following the announcement. “We don’t think this will happen.”

In September of last year West appeared on an episode of Nick Cannon’s podcast “Cannons Class” and said that his net worth rose to $5 billion after announcing his partnership with Gap earlier that year.

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