Why do limited-edition sneakers come with such a high price tag? When buying sneakers, there are countless brands and styles to choose from. The cost of sneakers will also vary greatly depending on various factors.
Collectors and sneakerheads have long understood the value of certain sneakers. A good understanding of the market can ensure investments are lucrative.
Securing limited releases has become much more difficult in recent years. This is because more people understand the value.
Bots typically dominate limited online sales, allowing resellers to secure large quantities of products.
The value of sneakers correlates to the rarity and condition of the sneaker. Older, unworn sneakers can reach high prices. Newer sneakers that are highly sought after and produced in low numbers can significantly increase in value. Many (or most) expensive sneakers can almost be considered collectors' items.
Read on to explore the most expensive sneakers sold over the years and give yourself a better idea of what a high-quality sneaker collection can be worth.
The Most Expensive Sneakers Ever Sold
A good understanding of the market could help you land sneakers at a low price before their value rises.
Taking the time to check for new releases and secure them is a good investment. The following sneakers are an example of how valuable the market is at present.
Gold OVO Nike Air Jordan
Price - $2 million (USD)
We decided to start at the top, and you won't find a more expensive pair of sneakers than these.
With a weight of 50 lb per shoe, the designers didn’t have the court in mind when creating these.
The Gold OVO Air Jordans is a collaborative piece with one of the world's biggest recording artists. One of the world's most famous sneaker brands and multi-media artists is also involved.
OVO (October's Very Own) is Drake's clothing and sneaker brand. As one of the most recognizable musicians in the world, Drake launched his clothing line in 2011.
The streetwear label teamed up with Air Jordan and multi-media artist Matthew Senna. The launch of the solid gold sneakers caught everyone's attention.
While these sneakers are regarded more as art than wearable fashion, they would be the centrepiece of any collection.
Buscemi 100 MM Diamond
Price - $132,000 (USD)
Jon Buscemi has an impressive CV. The Italian-American designer is known for working with the DC Shoe Co., Lotto and Oliver Peoples. He went on to create the Gourmet, Greats Brand, and Buscemi brands.
His roots as a sneaker collector helped him move from a Wall Street career to fashion.
The Buscemi 100 MM Diamond sneakers make it onto our list because of the 18-karat gold set diamonds adorning each shoe.
While diamond-encrusted sneakers aren't for everyone, the price tag ensures a unique look.
It is also worth noting that the famous name on these sneakers links to a famous Hollywood actor - Steve and Jon Buscemi are cousins.
Michael Jordan's Flu Game Shoes
Price - $104,000
You can pay considerably less for a pair of black and varsity red Air Jordan 12 (XII), but one pair stands out from the rest.
The trainers worn by Michael Jordan on June 11th, 1997, have gone down in history. This was game five of the '97 finals against Utah Jazz when Jordan played with the flu. He scored 38 points, solidifying his reputation as one of the greatest sportspeople in history.
But what happened to the sneakers? Former ballboy Preston Truman had the foresight to ask Michael Jordan for the sneakers before the game. Truman went on to sell the infamous "Flu Game" sneakers for over $104,000 (USD), making them some of the most expensive sneakers in history.
Diamond Encrusted Air Force 1
Price - $50,000 (USD)
One of the most popular Nike ranges, Nike Air Force One, was launched in the early '80s. They have gone on to become popular in street fashion and as a basketball trainer.
Air Force sneakers were designed by Bruce Kilgore and were the first performance shoe that used Nike Air technology.
The sneakers are available in low, mid, and high-top editions, and this versatility added to the sneaker's popularity.
Nike Air Force 1's aren't typically rare or expensive, but there are expectations. One of these is the diamond-encrusted Air Force 1 sneakers owned by the rapper Big Boi.
The special edition "So Cal" sneakers were created by Ernel Dawkins and a local jeweller.
Customizing your own sneakers is possible, but not many can afford the eye-watering price tag.
Nike Air Mag Back to the Future
Price - $19,999.99
The premise of the Back to the Future films sees Marty McFly travel back and forward through time. Many sneakerheads wish they could do this to secure mint OG sneakers that are now worth a fortune.
The designers created the Nike Air Mag Back to the Future sneakers with the sneakers worn in the franchise's second film in mind.
Any kid who grew up in the 80s wanted a hoverboard, but these sneakers would have come a close second.
The reproductions were originally released in 2011 when 1510 pairs were issued. Nike released a further 89 pairs in 2016.
The sneakers feature glowing LED panels with inbuilt batteries. They come in a box that pays tribute to the nuclear energy used in the film to power the Delorean.
Prices vary greatly depending on size and condition, with some sellers looking for over $200,000.
Nike SB Dunk Low Pigeon
Price - $50,000+ (USD)
When searching for the most expensive sneakers on the market, they don't all have to be solid gold or diamond encrusted. Sometimes, it is worth looking at the original price and considering the return on investment on limited edition sneakers.
Nike SB Dunk Low Pigeon might look relatively normal, but they caused a big stir on their release in 2005.
They were part of the White Dunk Exhibition and were only available in one New York store. Signed by Jeff Staple, the designer, and with only 150 pairs made, many people wanted to get their hands on the Nike SB Dunk footwear.
After police calmed the crowds, those lucky enough to pay the original $165 (USD) would soon see the Nike SB Dunk Low Pigeon prices skyrocket.
Air Jordan 12 (Drake Edition) OVO
Price $100,000 (USD)
While most Air Jordan 12's (outwith match worn options) are relatively low-priced, there are always exceptions.
The Drake Edition Air Jordan 12 OVO is a mystery to sneaker collectors. The reason? They are readily available for just $225.
Many believe that the pair that sold for $100,000 must be signed by Drake - or something along those lines.
The good thing for sneaker collectors is that they can typically afford this range of Air Jordan. Still, this shoe is one of the most expensive sneakers ever sold.
Air Jordan 11 Jeter Edition
Price $40,000 (USD)
Yes, another pair of Air Jordans is on the list. This is because Air Jordan sneakers have been highly successful since the '80s. They continue to produce innovative and limited edition ranges.
The Air Jordan 11 Jetter edition is extremely limited - one reason they are so coveted.
Jeter enjoyed a 20-year career in baseball with the New York Yankees. His career was honoured by this extremely limited release with the Air Jordan brand.
Only five Air Jordan 11 Jeter pairs were released, making these extremely rare sneakers. Three pairs are secured in US consignment stores. The remaining two pairs would receive an astronomical fee should they go up for sale.
The sneakers have Derek Jeter branding on the insoles, tongue, and heel. They are navy blue suede with a white sole and the number "2" on their heel.
Eminem Carhartt Air Jordan 4
Price - $15,000 - $30,000 (USD)
Everyone loves collaboration. As Air Jordan has shown with their partnership with Drake, musical collaborations can be beneficial.
Carhartt is traditionally a workwear brand. However, it broke into pop culture thanks to rappers and skateboarders in the early 90s.
The limited release of ten pairs of Eminem Carhartt Air Jordan 4 Sneakers was originally sold directly on eBay. The money raised benefited the music school of Michigan State University.
The Air Jordan 4 design consists of a black twill upper, white midsole, and silver tabs for the laces.
The Air Jordan sneakers also feature Eminem's logo and an image of Friday the 13th's Jason Vorhees on the rear.
Are all Nike Air Jordan sneakers expensive?
Originals and rare editions will always be expensive. However, it is possible to buy rereleases for relatively affordable prices. On average, you can pay around $150 for a pair of Nike Air Jordan sneakers.
Air Jordans have always been popular among sneakerheads and fashionistas. Since their first release in 1984, they bore the name of Michael Jordan.
What is the best way to buy limited-edition sneakers?
You don't always have to pay exorbitant prices for limited-edition sneakers. Attempting to secure a pair on release could save you thousands of dollars.
Many online retailers work on a system that allows customers to enter a raffle by signing up. The winners are then charged the pre-agreed amount. This is one way online retailers are trying to stop resellers from using bots.
How do I ensure my sneakers hold their value?
Keeping your sneakers in the best condition is essential. Like driving a brand-new car off the lot, wearing your sneakers can significantly affect the value.
Even trying them at home can make your sneakers drop in value. You should also ensure the box they are kept in is not damaged.
Storing sneakers and boxes away from sunlight and extreme temperatures will help. You could also invest in specially designed crates or display cases.
Where is it best to buy expensive sneakers?
If you are trying to source the most expensive sneakers, buying from a trusted source is important. Many auction sites, including eBay, or authentication services can reassure you when purchasing.
StockX is widely regarded as one of the best sneaker resellers. You will also find world-famous auction houses, including Sotheby's, occasionally have excellent options.
How can I check the legitimacy of limited-edition expensive sneakers?
You should only buy the most expensive sneakers from reputable sources. Many online selling platforms have a verification process that ensures sneakers are legitimate.
There is also an excellent range of online services for you to check.
CheckCheck, Legit Check App By Ch, and Legitmark all offer great services.
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