If you are someone who has been described as a “sneakerhead”, this is the perfect list for you. After all, no sneakerhead’s collection is complete without a fresh pair of Nikes (or three)! Once a mere pair of gym shoes, this brand has transformed into a pillar of the fashion industry, with all sorts of options that are sure to transcend cultural boundaries.
These are not your grandfather’s gym shoes. They are not made to run laps in, they are works of art. The most expensive Nike shoes are sure to draw the eye in ways that other brands simply cannot match. Ever since Michael Jordan came onto the scene back in the 1980s, Nike has used the enduring popularity of the Air Jordan as a springboard.
Now that these shoes have moved beyond the gym and become a treasured fashion accessory, they have become a prized possession for children and adults alike. Nike and Jordan have also become synonymous with celebrity collaborations. You haven’t truly made your bones as an A-list rapper until you have your own signature shoes, as this list indicates. Believe it or not, all of this began because of a woman who goes by Mrs. Bowerman. She and her waffle maker truly changed the world.
Before we get started, here’s a peek at the method behind our madness. For starters, GQ, CNBC and Art News are among the sources used. This list was not put together at random and a sizable amount of research went into it. Our commitment to sneaker-related excellence is based on the following criteria:
- Thorough Research
A list like this one cannot be compiled without the necessary research. We scoured every corner of the internet, in hopes of providing our readers with the most accurate listing possible.
- Attention To Detail
No list of this nature would be complete without taking the time to properly analyze all of the information that we come across. Our attention to detail is top-of-the-line and second to none.
- Consider The Source
Every source of information is not created equally. We bear that fact in mind when we are combing through various sources to provide you with the best and most up-to-date information.
- Double Checking
Once we have zeroed in on the right sources, we take the time to double-check every piece of information that is provided. The last thing that we want to do is jump the gun and make untimely assumptions.
Now, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at these shoes and how they have taken on an almost mythical status in Nike and Jordan lore!
20. 2009 Nike Dunk SB Low Yellow Lobster – $42,624
Only 34 pairs of these red, yellow, and black spotted low tops were ever made. Made for some select Nike employees, they were not for retail sale. It’s that rarity that makes them so expensive.
Also, Nike launched an ad campaign that got a lot of people excited about the shoe. So when they didn’t come through, collectors started scouring. Finally, a pair went up for auction and sold for $42,624.
19. 2007 Diamond Encrusted Air Force 1 – $50,000
Coming in at number 20 on our list, is the most expensive pair of Air Force 1’s ever made. The all-white sneaker is accented with a champagne diamond and gold-encrusted swoosh. Eleven carats of diamonds, to be exact.
The kicks were a gift to Atlanta rapper Big Boi, the other half of the legendary duo Outcast. After a few wears, he generously auctioned them off to raise money for his charity organization, the Big Kidz Foundation. The organization received $50,000 from the sneakers.
18. 2017 Nike Air Jordan IV Retro Eminem Encore – $56,700
In 2005, Eminem and Nike created a blue, red, and black version of the Air Jordan IVs in celebration of the release of his album Encore. In 2017, a one-of-a-kind model was made and sold at Sotheby’s for $56,700.
17. 1995 Air Jordan Silver Autographed Shoe – $60,000
Designed in collaboration with luxury fashion label Off White, they are adorned with gleaming Swarovski crystals and crafted from silver leather. Its worth is bolstered by the fact that it has been autographed by His Airness himself.
Since its release in 2017, the Air Jordan Silver autographed shoe has become an absolute must-have for sneaker collectors everywhere. The shoes were originally designed as a birthday gift to Jordan himself and the crystals were actually his wife’s idea, according to Godly Soles.
16. 2002 Nike Dunk SB Low Paris – $62,000
This shoe was limited to only 150 to 200 pairs. That alone makes them much sought after by sneakerheads, but there’s more to justify their lofty price tag. Each pair boasts different works from French painter Bernard Buffet. So, no two pairs are the same. When originally released in 2002, the shoe art sold for $1,000 a pair. The highest price at auction thus far is $62,000.
15. 2004 Nike Dunk High Pro SB FLOM – $63,000
FLOM stands for – For Love Or Money. These sneakers certainly say you must love sneakers and have money. They are one of the most elusive pairs of Nikes in the world. Released in 2004, only 24 pairs were released to the public.
The shoe displays different denominations of money in canvas, with brown leather trim and a white swoosh. With only a few pairs left in existence, it’s no wonder a serious collector would drop over 60 grand to own the Holy Grail of the sneaker world.
14. 2016 Nike MAG Back To The Future – $76,925
These very sought-after sneakers look like a cross between space shoes and hockey skates. Though not released in reality until 2016, they were first seen on the silver screen in Back To The Future 2. But at the time, it was only the special effects that made them magical.
When technology finally caught up with imagination, the sneakers became a reality. They automatically lace and light up. Popular with sneaker collectors, nostalgia buffs, and movie fanatics. The 76 thousand dollar price tag was a veritable bargain.
13. 2006 Nike Air Firce 1 Entourage x Fukiyama Gold – $88,200
Featured in season three of the HBO series Entourage, these sneakers are downright fascinating. A cross between designer jewelry and street art. A limited number were produced after the popularity of the episode. These turtles come in a wooden, laser-engraved box. A pair was bought at auction for $88,200.
12. 2016 Air Jordan 12 OVO Drake Edition – $100,000
These gold-accented, white leather kicks are so classy and sleek, they could be worn at formal functions. The rapper once again collabbed with Nike to make these allegedly extremely comfortable athletic shoes. The original price was $225 in 2016. But they were very limited and Drake himself wore them, so people wanted them. Recently, a pair went to auction for a cool $100,000.
11. 1997 Air Jordan 12 (Flu Game) – $104,765
First released to the public in 1997, for a mere $190, the latest in the Air Jordan line was nice but pretty common. What made this particular pair go for an astounding amount of dough?
The fact that Mike wore them during the 1997 NBA finals. What’s more, he played an outstanding game while battling a vicious stomach flu. People were dumbfounded that even the king could play through that type of misery. So he signed them and put them up for auction.
10. 1996 Nike Air Jordan 12 – $104,765
The exclusive design and high-quality materials make this one a treasured find for sneakerheads everywhere. Limited quantities are sold and manufactured, so if you can get your hands on a pair, you should be counting yourself lucky. They are a great way to signal your appreciation for fine craftsmanship while turning heads everywhere you go.
9. 1996 Air Jordan “Space Jam” Sample – $176,400
These one-of-a-kind sneakers were auctioned at Sotheby’s in July of 2021 for $176,400. Why were they so special? Because they were custom-made for you know who, and he wore them in the movie (Jordan, it was Jordan, again).
8. 2019 Jordan 1 Retro High Charlotte Hornets Foundation – $250,000
When Michael Jordan was seen wearing a pair of these white, black-trimmed sneaks at the NBA All-Star weekend in 2019, sneakerheads lost their minds. Collectors were clamoring. They’d never been seen anywhere before.
Where’d they come from? Well, there were 300 pairs made special for Mike’s 56th birthday. The sneakers sold for $88,071 in 2019. Last year a pair went at auction for a quarter of a million dollars. Happy birthday.
7. 1972 Nike Waffle “Moon” Shoe – $437,500
Remember the shoes Mr. Bowerman made in his wife’s waffle maker? Well, these are those
shoes. The actual, never-worn prototype was sold at Sotheby’s New York auction house in July of 2019. The buyer, Miles Spencer Nadal, planned to display the training shoes at his Dare To Dream Autimobile museum in Canada.
6. 1985 Nike Air Jordan 1s – $560,000
According to CNBC, a prototype of these shoes that has never been worn was auctioned off for $560,000 back in 2020, five times the expected asking price! These shoes hold a very special place in the hearts of Michael Jordan fans everywhere, as they were crafted to the exact specifications of the GOAT.
The left shoe is a 13, while the right is a 13.5. The combination of historical significance and specific customization is hard to resist, making them a popular choice for a plethora of worldwide sneaker collectors.
5. 2016 Air Jordan Retro “Kobe Pack” – $800,000
This truly beautiful shoe has a classic design with a white base color and just enough purple and yellow to satisfy any Lakers fan. The 3/4 Jordan’s were produced to celebrate Mamba’s 20 years in the game.
At the time, these Jordan 3 replicas were only given to friends and family of the iconic sports hero, and, of course, Kobe. Over the years, a few pairs have popped up at auctions, with the highest bidder paying a mind-boggling $800,000.
4. 1984 Michael Jordan (Game Worn) Nike Air Ship – $1.47 Million
It’s hard to fathom that one of the most expensive pairs of sneakers ever sold was worn out and scuffed up. Then again, it was Michael Jordan that wore them out, so there’s that. When they debuted to the public in 1984, the cost was a reasonable $65.
However, the pair Mike played in, for quite a few games, apparently, sold at a Sotheby’s auction in 2021, for $1.47 million. Collector Nick Fiorella was the lucky buyer.
3. 2008 Kanye West Nike Air Yeezy “Prototype” – $1.8 Million
The infamous rapper wore these sneakers at the 2008 Grammys while performing his hit, Stronger. He then went on to announce his Yeezy shoe project to the planet. The sneakers have changed hands a few times since Ye wore them on Grammy night.
They are presently in the hands of a sneaker investment firm called RARES. They bought the one-of-kind kicks for $1.8 million dollars.
2. 2016 Solid Gold OVO X Air Jordan – $2 Million
Today I present to you one of the rarest sneakers ever.— MetaNFT1989 (@Metanft1989) April 24, 2022
Solid Gold OVO x Air Jordans Current Value: $2 million
Sneaker Type: Air Jordan 10
Year of sale: 2016
Making this the most expensive sneakers in the world. #sneakerheadsoff #NFTCommunity pic.twitter.com/8yIdgA9qk1
These shoes were custom-made for Drake, as the Toronto superstar manages to notch two different entries on this illustrious list. According to GQ, they are valued at $2 million and have yet to be made available for public purchase. This only serves to make them even more desirable to the sneakerheads who are looking to round out their collections.
Matthew Senna is the artist who is responsible for designing them. While every pair of Nike sneakers serves as a work of art, the most expensive Nike shoes of all time are the pinnacle. They are not meant to be worn, of course. These one-of-a-kind sneakers are the ultimate status symbol, showcasing a taste for luxury that is unmatched.
1. 1998 NBA Finals Game 2 Air Jordan 13s – $2.2 million
The single lot of Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA finals game 2 Air Jordan 13s is expected to sell for between $2 million and $4 million, which would be the most ever for a pair of sneakers at auction pic.twitter.com/FQvxn6Jd9H— Reuters (@Reuters) April 6, 2023
The 1997-98 Chicago Bulls season has become the stuff of legend and these shoes occupy a very unique place in their story. These shoes, which were worn during Game 2 of the NBA Finals vs the Utah Jazz, guided MJ to a 37-point performance that placed his Bulls in firm control of the series. After the game was over, Jordan was kind enough to gift them to a Utah Jazz ball boy who was working hard to maintain the visitor’s locker room.
While $2.2 million may seem like a high asking price (according to Art News), they actually came in at the lower end of high-end auction house Sotheby’s projections. Initial projections had the shoes fetching a price tag closer to $4 million. At the moment, they remain the most expensive pair of sneakers ever sold.
How Did Mrs. Bowerman Start a Sneaker Empire?
The most expensive Nike shoes would have never been a thought in any of our minds without the efforts of the Bowerman family. It all started with Bill Bowerman, who coached track and field at the University of Oregon during the 1950s and 1960s. He was not the type to enjoy being called a coach, though. Instead, Bowerman viewed as a trainer of athletes.
He took a great deal of pride in his work and it showed. 31 Olympic athletes, 51 All-Americans, and 12 world record holders benefited from his hands-on training. Like any dedicated professional in the world of track and field, he was forever in search of ways to shave a few seconds off his athletes’ running time. From there, the genesis of Nike most expensive shoes took place.
The quality of the running shoes that were on the market at the time displeased Bowerman, forcing him to make the necessary changes himself. Guess who happened to be one of his athletes at the time? None other than Nike founder Phil Knight! The two men entered into a handshake deal, wherein Blue Ribbon Sports was formed. From there, Bowerman set about the task of improving the traction the shoes would get on grass and hard surfaces.
One day, Bowerman had an idea that led to him placing some rubber inside of his wife’s waffle maker. While the waffle maker was destroyed, history was made in the process. The rubber was replicated and attached to the fabric that the shoes would be made from. Originally referred to as a “moon shoe” because it resembled the footprints left on its surface, it became Nike’s first offering.
Thanks to this guide, sneakerheads are now able to learn more about the finest footwork that Nike has to offer. These are the most expensive shoes that Nike has ever sold.
At the moment, there are only four pairs that have crossed the $1 million price tag threshold: a game worn pair of Michael Jordan’s Nike Air Ships sold for $1.47 million, the 2008 Kanye West Nike Air Yeezy “Prototype” that were worn during a Kanye Grammy performance (sold for $1.8 million), the 2016 solid gold collaboration with OVO (which are valued at just over $2 million) and a pair of 1998 NBA Finals Game 2 Air Jordan 13s. The 13s set the all time record for most expensive pair of sneakers ever auctioned, fetching an asking price of $2.2 million.
No shoe has yet to reach this elusive price tag but the aforementioned game worn Air Jordan 13s came the closet, fetching $2.2 million after an initial projection of up to $4 million.
The answer here is an obvious one: the Air Force 1. 10 million pairs are sold per year to this day.
The Nike Blazer and Nike Dunk round out the top 3 list after the Air Force 1. The Blazer has become the primary choice of skateboarders everywhere, while the Nike Dunk is a staple in the street wear community.
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Written by Dana Hanson
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