UPDATE [27/04/21]: Kanye West’s Nike Air Yeezy 1 prototypes have auctioned for a staggering US$1.8 million (AU$2.3 million) to become the most expensive sneakers ever sold.
It’s hard to recall a time when Kanye West wasn’t involved with fashion given the current ubiquity of his $4.7 billion Yeezy empire, not to mention a certain billion-dollar deal the hip-hop icon has with Gap. But in the beginning, before the streetwear landscape was irrevocably changed, there was just Ye and a Nike Air Yeezy 1 prototype – the latter of which is on track to become the most expensive sneakers ever sold.
Having just resurfaced for a private sale hosted by Sotheby’s, the Nike Air Yeezy 1 prototypes made its debut on stage at the 2008 Grammys during West’s performance of ‘Hey Mama’ and ‘Stronger’. Fashion victory aside, West would later return to the stage and take four awards home: Best Rap Album (Graduation), Best Rap Performance – Solo (‘Stronger’), Best Rap Performance – Duo or Group (‘Southside’ w/ Common), and Best Rap Song (‘Good Life’ ft. T-Pain).
“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,” says Brahm Wachter, Head of Streetwear & Modern Collectibles at Sotheby’s.
“The sneakers set off waves in the sneaker community as people tried to identify the mysterious pair. Afterward, we saw a series of collaborations between Kanye and Nike, and then later the birth of his line with Adidas.”
Conceived in Nike’s “Innovation Kitchen”, the size 12 kicks feature a soft black leather upper with perforated detailing, Yeezy forefoot strap, signature Nike “Y” medallion lace locks, and of course, the iconic swoosh on the overlay. The sneakers will arrive at its new owner’s doorsteps housed in a custom wooden box.
Kanye West’s Nike Air Yeezy 1 prototypes – AKA the most expensive sneakers ever sold – is expected to auction sometime later this month for well over $1 million.