What are the Most Expensive Sneakers Ever Sold?

June 14, 2023

Photo: Mick Haupt

As the sneaker resale and collecting phenomenon converges with rapidly increasing interest in sports memorabilia, sales of rare sneakers have taken to stratospheric prices. We’re talking six and seven-figures near routinely. Over the last few years, the record books have been rewritten almost entirely. What do those most expensive sneaker record books look like today?

First, we’re counting down the ten most expensive sneakers of all-time, whether they’re sports memorabilia items or deadstock pairs. Spoiler: it concentrates more in the former, but stick around, because we’ll get to a non-memorabilia ranking afterwards. 

Alright, let’s lace up and start unboxing the most incredible sneaker grails in existence.

What are the most expensive sneakers of all-time?

10. Michael Jordan Rookie Season Game-Worn and Dual Signed Jordan 1s

Sale Price: $486,000 

Date Sold: 4/9/2022 (Goldin)

Photo: Goldin

What we’re about to say might shock you. Really, hold onto your hats, because your jaw is about to drop. Michael Jordan accounts for the vast, vast majority of this list. We know. Stunning. Here comes another shocker: a lot of them are Jordan 1s.

This particular pair hails from Jordan’s rookie season, as many of them do, with MEARS providing an LOA for game-use and an LOA from ex-Bulls trainer Mark Pfeil, who originally obtained the sneakers before auctioning them for charity previously. The dual signatures are verified by PSA/DNA. The labeling on the inside of the sneaker “850102-TYPS” suggests the sneakers were made in an early run of production in January or February of 1985 at the factory in Tong Yang. “PS” stands for player sample.

9.  1985 Michael Jordan Player Sample Game-Worn Jordan 1s

Sale Price: $560,000

Date Sold: 5/17/2020 (Sotheby’s)

Photo: Sotheby's

The Last Dance premiered on April 19th of 2020. About a month later, another pair of game-worn Jordan 1s came to Sotheby’s, selling for a then-record of $560,000. They were estimated to sell for just $100,000 -$150,000. The right shoe is signed by Jordan, with authentication from PSA/DNA. MEARS authenticated the game-use.

This pair was labeled “850204-TYPS”, meaning that it was manufactured between February and April, a bit after the previous pair in our countdown.

8. 1985 Michael Jordan Game-Worn and Dual Signed Jordan 1s

Sale Price: $615,000

Date Sold: 8/21/2021 (Heritage)

Can you believe it? Three straight Jordan 1s. Believe us, we’re just getting started. This pair has a particularly fun story, though.

Jordan originally signed and gifted this pair to teammate Gene Banks. Years later, Banks gifted them to San Antonio sportscaster Rick Lozano. Jordan’s original signature had begun to fade from the shoes, so when Lozano saw an opportunity, he took it. Before Game 5 of the 1991 NBA Finals at the Forum against the Lakers (a game that would see Jordan clinch his first title), Lozano interviewed Jordan on camera and asked for him to resign the sneakers. Jordan obliged, boldly signing each toebox and inscribing “1st pair” (a reference to the Jordan 1 being the first model, rather than it being the first specific pair of Jordans he ever wore).

That interaction is captured on video, and the sneakers feature LOA verification from MEARS, Beckett, and PSA/DNA. 

7. 1985 Michael Jordan Game-Worn and Signed “Shattered Backboard” Jordan 1s

Sale Price: $615,000

Date Sold: 8/13/2021 (Christie’s)

Photo: Christie's

The “Shattered Backboard” has become a popular colorway for newly-released Jordan product today, but few know where the orange, black, and white color scheme actually comes from. In August of 1985, Jordan played in an exhibition in Italy, wearing a uniform of that color scheme when he dunked in transition, shattering the backboard into shards of glass sent everywhere. The sneakers he wore in that game, evidenced through clear provenance and photos of Jordan handing them to the consignor, sold at Christie’s in the summer of 2021 for $615,000, which established a record at the time. The dual-signed sneakers even feature glass still embedded in the outsole. 

They were offered for fractional investment on Otis, which was later acquired by Public where they trade today.

6. 1986 Michael Jordan Game-Worn and Signed “Dunk Sole” Jordan 1s

Sale Price: $675,000

Date Sold: 2/26/2022 (Heritage)

Early on in his second season as a pro, Michael Jordan suffered a broken foot, sidelining him for about six months. When he returned, his signature Jordan 1s required modification to better accommodate the injury. One such modification was the use of the sole of a Nike Dunk, which was both softer and wider. 

A pair of those “Dunk Sole” Jordan 1s sold at Heritage in February of 2022, and it was actually photomatched by MeiGray to a specific game against the Milwaukee Bucks. It’s the first instance of a traditional photomatch from a reputable provider in our list. The sneakers bear “860304STPS” labeling on the inner collar, indicative of their later production. 

5. 1997 NBA Finals Game 5 "Flu Game" Jordan-Worn and Signed Jordan XIIs

Sale Price: $1,380,000

Date Sold: 6/14/2023 (Goldin)

Photo: Goldin

"The Flu Game" is an iconic moment of Jordan lore, the type that that reverberates in the memories of fans decades later. You hear "Flu Game", and you can instantly picture images of a doubled over Jordan or Jordan leaning on Scottie for support. Despite being horrifically ill, having spent most of the day vomiting, MJ went out and willed himself to 38 points (including 15 in the fourth quarter) and the Bulls to a victory. Jordan gifted his sneakers to a ball boy, as he often did, who held onto them for 15 years before selling for $104,765 in 2013. Not a bad outcome for whoever bought them back in 2013, though they may have been hoping for more - many expected these to sit atop our rankings when the bidding closed. The sneakers were photomatched to the occasion by MeiGray and Sports Investors Authentication.

4. Earliest Known Regular Season Jordan-Worn & Signed Nike Air Ship

Sale Price: $1,472,000

Date Sold: 10/24/2021 (Sotheby’s)

Photo: Sotheby's

As has been well-documented and discussed by the recent Air movie, Nike pitched Michael Jordan on having his very own signature shoe, which of course would be the Air Jordan. It takes quite some time to get a sneaker into production and to the athlete’s foot, though. In the meantime, Jordan wore the Nike Air Ship during his early days with the Bulls. 

This particular pair was gifted to a Denver Nuggets ball boy in just Jordan’s fifth regular season game ever, though there was also some reason to believe they could’ve been used in even earlier games as well. Many of Jordan’s Air Ships were printed with “Air Jordan” or “Nike Air” on the heel. This particular example is printed with just “Air”, an indication that they were among the very earliest. This sale absolutely shattered the record for the most expensive sneaker ever sold, and it maintained the auction record until the spring of 2023.

3. Kanye West Worn Nike Air Yeezy Prototype

Sale Price: $1.8 million

Private Sale (Sotheby’s)

Photo: Sotheby's

We’ll caveat this sale by noting that the transaction was a private sale facilitated by Sotheby’s, making it the only non-auction sale in our list. However, because it was widely publicly known, we opted to include it here.

Before things went even further south with Kanye West, his cultural impact, at the intersection of music and fashion, was undeniable. Yeezy sneakers became a phenomenon, first at Nike and then at Adidas, where they propelled the German sporting giant into a far stronger competitive position here in the United States. In the mid-to-late 2010s, they were the hyped sneakers of the moment. 

Before all of that, Kanye West took to the stage at the 2008 Grammys wearing the Nike Air Yeezy Prototype. The sneaker that preceded an unbelievable journey. That very pair sold for $1.8 million to fractional sneaker investing platform Rares. Rares was unable to fill the massive offering with sufficient investor demand and sought to sell the sneakers privately with Christie’s. However, that choice came just before Ye’s most controversial moments, and Christie’s declined to participate when things went from bad to worse. 

2. 1998 NBA Finals Game 2 Michael Jordan Worn and Signed Jordan XIIIs

Sale Price: $2,238,000

Date Sold: 4/11/2023 (Sotheby’s)

Photo: Sotheby's

Just months after Jordan’s jersey from Game 1 of The Last Dance Finals became the most expensive game-worn sports memorabilia ever sold at $10.1 million, his sneakers from Game 2 became the most expensive sneakers ever sold. Jordan dropped 37 points in a Bulls win before signing his Jordan XIIIs and giving them to a ball boy. The sneakers are photomatched to the occasion by MeiGray. They were estimated to sell for between $2,000,000 and $4,000,000, fetching just one bid to sell for $2,238,000 with fees. Sometimes, all it takes is one bid to execute a sale, and a sale is a sale is a sale. This just happened to be one of the most expensive ever.

1. The Dynasty Collection - One Sneaker from each of Michael Jordan's Six Championship-Clinching Games

Sale Price: $8,032,800

Date Sold: 2/2/2024 (Sotheby’s)

Photo: Sotheby's

With six individual sneakers rather than the two that traditionally come in a pair, it's not really a fair fight, is it? After each NBA Championship-clinching performance, it became tradition for Jordan to gift one of his sneakers to Bulls PR executive Tim Hallam. That tradition birthed one of the most significant collections of sneakers in existence. Despite concerns around decomposition in the midsoles of the Jordan VI and Jordan VIII, as well as the odd, single-shoe nature of the collection, it still managed to sell for over $8 million at Sotheby's. On average, that makes each individual shoe worth $1.3 million. A completed pair of any one of them would no doubt be the most expensive pair ever sold, but few would deny that this collection belongs atop the leaderboard of most expensive sneaker sales.


What are the most expensive deadstock sneakers of all-time?

Sneakerheads might look at the above list and conclude that those are basically all more memorabilia item than they are sneaker. Where are the deadstock grails? We’ve got you covered. 

In compiling the list below, we removed any sneakers from consideration if their value was based more on that specific pair’s association with an athlete or individual than on the sneaker itself. So, Jordan branded sneakers aren’t excluded, but they are if it’s a pair that was specifically worn by or made for MJ. 

Just as the above list was almost entirely Michael Jordan-centric, this list lacks variety as well. Let’s get into it, you’ll see what we mean.

10. Nike x Louis Vuitton Air Force 1 & Pilot Case

Sale Price: $189,000

Date Sold: 2/9/2022 (Sotheby’s)

Photo: Sotheby's

Back in February of 2022, Sotheby’s conducted a special event, auctioning 200 pairs of Nike x Louis Vuitton Air Force 1s, created by the late designer Virgil Abloh. Proceeds were directed to the Virgil Abloh “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund, an organization that aims to foster equity and inclusion within the fashion industry by providing scholarships to academically promising students of Black, African American, or African descent.

Before his passing in November of 2021, Abloh had designed the sneakers for the Louis Vuitton Spring-Summer 2022 collection. Abloh’s impact on sneakers and fashion was immense, from his Off-White brand and its highly-coveted collaborations with Nike to his time as artistic director at Louis Vuitton. When these special Air Force 1s, clad in the signature Louis Vuitton monogram print, came to auction at Sotheby’s, the reception was astounding. 

Each pair was estimated to sell for between $5,000 and $15,000. That turned out to be just a bit conservative.

All 200 pairs sold….at an average price of $126,662, generating over $25 million in total sales. When this auction took place, there were likely no more than 5-10 six-figure deadstock sneaker auction sales in history. This auction alone saw 162 pairs sell for six-figure sums. Again, it was a rarity for any sneaker to cross $100,000. On that day in February 2022, despite there being 200 identical pairs available, 162 still made it into six-figure territory. Usually, a sneaker would have to be a 1-of-1 or close to it to achieve those heights. Not the case here.

So, as we move down the list, understand that these are not typos or duplicates, but individual sales at these prices. We acknowledge that it makes for a somewhat boring ranking, but the reality is that the power of this sale is undeniable. These sneakers comprise every slot from #10 to #2, and you could argue #1 is a judgment call, but we’ll get there momentarily.

9. Nike x Louis Vuitton Air Force 1 & Pilot Case

Sale Price: $189,000

Date Sold: 2/9/2022 (Sotheby’s)

8. Nike x Louis Vuitton Air Force 1 & Pilot Case

Sale Price: $189,000

Date Sold: 2/9/2022 (Sotheby’s)

7. Nike x Louis Vuitton Air Force 1 & Pilot Case

Sale Price: $189,000

Date Sold: 2/9/2022 (Sotheby’s)

6. Nike x Louis Vuitton Air Force 1 & Pilot Case

Sale Price: $189,000

Date Sold: 2/9/2022 (Sotheby’s)

5. Nike x Louis Vuitton Air Force 1 & Pilot Case

Sale Price: $189,000

Date Sold: 2/9/2022 (Sotheby’s)

4. Nike x Louis Vuitton Air Force 1 & Pilot Case

Sale Price: $189,000

Date Sold: 2/9/2022 (Sotheby’s)

3. Nike x Louis Vuitton Air Force 1 & Pilot Case

Sale Price: $201,600

Date Sold: 2/9/2022 (Sotheby’s)

2. Nike x Louis Vuitton Air Force 1 & Pilot Case

Sale Price: $352,800

Date Sold: 2/9/2022 (Sotheby’s)

1. Nike Waffle Racing Flat

Sale Price: $437,500

Date Sold: 7/23/2019 (Sotheby’s)

Photo: Sotheby's

Look, you could certainly make the case that these are more memorabilia than they are sneaker, and we wouldn’t take you to task for it, but hear us out. This particular pair was in unworn, deadstock condition. While the model was made for athletes at the 1972 Olympic Trials, there is no association here to a specific athlete, and the value isn’t derived from such an association. Now, its value is derived from the fact that it’s a premier piece of early Nike history, but exclusion on those grounds is a slippery slope. It’s often the case that a sneaker model is valuable because it marked a specific cultural moment or innovation for a brand, most often Nike. You wouldn’t exclude original retail releases of the 1985 Jordan 1. Nor would you exclude player editions, friends & family editions, or samples. Should the early and highly limited nature of the Moon Shoes alone merit exclusion? Again, up for debate, but we say no. Isn’t it fitting that some of the earliest Nikes produced sit atop the leaderboard? 

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