When it comes to expensive kicks, there are a few names that stand out in the sneaker world. Balenciaga has been making headlines lately with their high-end, ugly-is-attractive styles, and while they may be among the most expensive sneakers you can buy out of the box right now, it shouldn't surprise you to find that Nikes are still the top dog overall. However, there are a few surprises in store. The most expensive sneakers ever sold are almost all used for one thing. For another, there are some non-Jordans that managed to sneak their way onto the list.
20. Nike Dunk High LE (WU-TANG) - $15,000
Bright, bold yellow Wu-Tang dunks are one of those unforgettable shoes. Often imitated but never truly duplicated, there were less than forty pair of the special edition Wu-Tang Dunks ever issued. Method Man tried unsuccessfully to get Nike to do a retro re-issue of the sneakers for the band's 25th anniversary. Sadly, you'll have to pay full price for the originals if you want this truly unique shoe. You can pick up a pair of the "Iowa" dunks without the Wu-Tang detail a lot cheaper, but it's just not the same.
19. Air Jordan X OVO - $20,000
Drake Night Jordans have become famous in the world of Basketball. Two pair of Drake's Jordans went to fans during a special event back in 2014. This white pair is less valuable of the two sets. At a substantial $20,000, that says something about the value of Drake's shoes. The other pair also made this list.
18. Jordan 4 Eminem x Carhartt - $21,327 to $26,000
For a long time, the Eminemx Carhartt was the highest selling Nike collaboration with a rapper. These black and white chromed out high tops with their unique details are certainly a nice looking shoe. You can pick up a pair on fightclub in a small handful of sizes. One particular pair in a different color story went for a higher price, so these sort-of made the list twice, but the black and chrome sell for $21,000- 26,000.
17. Air Jordan 1 (1985 ASG) - $21,780
The Air Jordan 1 ASG sneakers were worn during the All-Star Game by Michael Jordan himself. These black, white and red kicks helped bring Michael the fame that has carried him into the history books. Of course, his skill is even more responsible for the fame, but without the Nike sponsorship and the Gatorade "Be like Mike," campaigns he might not be the same household name despite all his wins.
16. Air Jordan VII "Kobe Bryant" PE - $25,000
These unusual and quite lovely black, gold and purple Air Jordan VII Kobe Bryant PEs were created as a part of a Nike campaign to woo the player over to their brand back in the first part of the 2000s. We love these shoes even if we can't find a pair in our size. Obviously, we aren't the only ones who felt that way about them since Kobe eventually signed with Nike for several years.
15. Autographed, Air Jordan 1, ORIGINAL - $25,000
Yes, the same pair of sneakers made the list twice. The autographed All-Star game Jordans are so famous they sold for two of the top prices in sneaker history. Of course, as the higher bid, this is the official top price commanded for the unique high tops, but we included both times they sold because it's unusual for any pair of shoes to be auctioned off twice. Unlike Ferraris for example, while the value does go up, collectors don't like to part with their famous sneaker memorabilia.
14. DJ Khaled x Air Jordan 3 'Grateful' - $25,000
Of all the Jordans on this list, we like these almost as much as those gold and purple Kobes. The unique black, red and grey colorways with the patterned insets make these shoes pop even among a plethora of red sneakers. Unfortunately, DJ Khaled looks anything but 'grateful' in some of his promotional pictures where he's too busy on his phone to look at the camera. We like the shot where he's listening to a shoe lie a shell at the ocean much better. You can catch these in a stunning blue or a less impressive white variation as well if you want a pair.
13. Macklemore Cactus Air Jordan 6 - $25,000
No one denies the hint of irony in these shoes. Perhaps that's part of the appeal. The rapper who is well known for a song (Thrift Shop) about having only $20 in his pocket and shopping second hand was once quite poor. In spite of this, he famously refused to sell out if it meant he couldn't bring his best friend along with him. We're going to go ahead and say this is less of a sellout and more like a benefit of success. If anyone deserves it, it's Macklemore.
12. Nike Mag 2016 (Auto-Lacing) - $26,000 (or More)
These shoes were famous before they existed. If you saw Back to the Future 2, then this is funny in more than one way. These self-lacing, glowing, futuristic shoes were worn by the character Marty McFly when he visited the future in the movie. For many years they were just a dream and a prototype from the film. Nike finally decided it was worth creating a very limited release of the shoes. The first pair went to Michael Fox, the original actor who played that character and has since developed Parkinson's disease, with palsy in his hands which makes tying shoes incredibly tricky. The remainder were sold at auction to help fund Michael Jordans Fox Foundation in support of developing a cure for Parkinson's.
11. Air Jordan 2 Original - $31,000
We aren't entirely sure why this pair sold for so much. The model was never all that popular. Clearly, the shoes were worn, and not nicely, but they aren't particularly connected to any famous person or event. It just goes to show how far a sneaker fan will go to get the shoes they really want. We dub these the "Mystery Pair" since it's a mystery to us how they commanded this price.
10. Air Jordan 4 Eminem - $37,500
While the (always popular) black color story version of these shoes goes for around $21,000- $26,000, they are the opposite of the Drake Night shoes. The color version, specifically the blue, managed to take home an exorbitant $37,000 fee for a single pair. Perhaps a fan was upset that other rappers were breaking his record with their sneakers. We're not sure, but this pair of blue shoes once again puts Eminem on top for kicks collaboration.
9. Air Jordan 11 ‘Jeter’ - $40,000
Blue suede shoes were bound to make the list. These Yankees-themed Air Jordan 11 Retros celebrate Derek Jeter's retirement. Getting a pair was almost impossible in the first place since only five were made. A nearby shop had a scratch-off lottery system for the shoes. Now you might catch them at the $40,000 or up price tag when they come up for resale, but even that is incredibly unlikely.
8. Nike Air Yeezy 1 (Grammy Prototype) - $50,000- $100,000
The Yeezy was something fans heard about for a while before it happened. The tease has made these shoes incredibly valuable, but none more so than the prototypes that never sold. Initially, $50,000, (unconfirmed) rumor has it that these glow-in-the-dark shoes that were never available to the public recently sold for double that value.
7. Mark Wahlberg's Air Jordan 5 Transformers - $52,000
These commemorative Jordans were in honor of the Transformers reboot movie. Mark Wahlberg's personal pair is the set commanding this price. That makes him the only non-athlete and non-musician on this list to make a pair of sneakers so famous they sell for five figures.
6. Air Jordan Silver Shoe (Autographed) - $60,000
Anniversaries are always special occasions. The 25th anniversary of the first pair of Air Jordans is no exception. The shoes Nike released for this event can sell for as low as $300, but a silver cast autographed pair took an astonishing $60,000 at an eBay auction.
5. Diamond Encrusted Reebok Question - $65,000
Reebok has been one of the contenders in the sneaker business for a long time, along with Adidas, Converse and a small handful of others. They produced this glimmering diamond encrusted shoe as a promotional item and to show they could play with the big dogs in the expensive sneaker market. It worked out well since a pair goes for $65,000, but sadly, these are the only Reeboks to make the top 20 list. Jordans dominate the high-end sneaker market with a single-minded drive to win and honor the goddess of victory whose name they sport. Well that, and incredibly low operating costs because of where they get their labor.
4. Air Jordan 12 OVO - $100,000
Remember that white pair of "Drake" Jordans that a lucky fan got at Drake Night? These are the other pair. A black set of kicks the singer threw to a swooning female fan during Drake’s Extravaganza Night with the Toronto Raptors. She obviously liked the value more than the singer since she immediately put these shoes up for auction.
3. Air Jordan 12 (Flu Game) - $104,000
These shoes are almost as famous as the game they played in. The year was 1997, the game was number 5 in the NBA Finals, and the score was tied 2 to 2. Jordan had the flu, and the Utah Jazz was looking for a chance to smash the Bulls and take the title. It looked like they were going to win too since they'd been up the entire game. In the final quarter, Jordan managed an epic rally that no one ever expected. He scored 15 points and single-handedly made the difference between defeat and success. Full disclosure, we watched that game when we were in high school. It was one of the best moments in sports history.
2. Buscemi 100 MM Diamond - $132,000
The biggest surprise on this list is the beautiful Buscemi 100 MM Diamonds. Not only are these shoes not used and worn by someone famous, but they're also not from Nike. You can get yours with their signature lock and 11.5 carats of diamond details set in 18k gold for a whopping $132,000. All of Buscemi's sneakers are elegant, made from the very finest materials. They don't skimp on the luxe details when it comes to these shoes.
1. Michael Jordan's Game Worn Converse Fastbreak - $190,373
By now you won't be surprised to discover that the most expensive shoes ever sold belonged to Michael Jordan. What may shock you is the fact that they were not Nikes. Way back in 1984, when Michael wasn't yet a household name. He was just a rookie everyone was starting to notice and was still wearing other shoes. His autographed rookie year Converse All-Stars from his time at the Olympics fetched the highest auction price and the highest overall price for a pair of sneakers.
Bonus: Kobe’s All Black Jordan PE 1-XXX - $204,100
These Jordans sold as a part of a fundraiser for the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation. Though the cost per pair only averages out around $8000, this s still a serious output to buy shoes, and it went to a great cause. When Kobe retired, he was gifted a full set of black and a complete set of white Jordan PE 1-XXXs. He kept the white set, presumably to wear. The other set sold at this auction.
When it comes to sports memorabilia, lots of people think of baseball cards. No one denies the value of a good baseball card, but a thin piece of cardboard isn't going to hold up the way a well-made pair of sneakers can. You can't wear a baseball card, and the weight of it in your hand is not the same as holding a pair of shoes that won a championship. We have to admit it; we want some of these shoes. The Macklemore Cactus are awesome, and we like those gold, black and purple Kobes too. Would you rather have a pair to display or one you'd wear? We can't decide, but these sneakers are all golden in our book.
* The Air Jordan 8 'Kentucky Madness and Air Jordan 14 'God's Plan' both go for around $25,000 as well, but we wanted to show a little more diversity on the list.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith