Kanye West's Nike Yeezys sell for a record-breaking $1.8 million at Sotheby's

The black high tops first worn by the rapper at a concert, were acquired by Rares, a shoe investment marketplace

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A pair of Nike Air Yeezy 1s worn by rapper Kanye West sold for $1.8 million, triple the previous record for sneakers, Sotheby's said Monday.

The shoes beat the record held by a pair of Nike Air Jordan 1s which sold for $615,000 in August 2020 at a Christie's auction.

"The sale marks the highest publicly recorded price for a sneaker sale ever," Sotheby's said.

"The sale also marks the first pair of sneakers to top $1 million," it said.

(FILES) In this file photo musician Kanye West performs onstage during the 50th annual Grammy awards held at the Staples Center on February 10, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.   A pair of Kanye West's first Nike Yeezy sneakers, which he debuted on stage at the Grammys, are to be sold, with Sotheby's predicting the shoes could fetch in excess of $1 million. The Nike Air Yeezy 1 sneakers are part of a private sale -- which means neither the final price nor the buyer will be released unless the individual comes forward.The sneaker range were the first to be launched by West's Yeezy brand, and caused a fashion furore when he wore them during a 2008 Grammys performance. The sneakers, which are being sold by shoe collector Ryan Chang, will be on display in Hong Kong from April 16, 2021.

The black high top Yeezys were worn by West during the 2008 Grammy Awards as he performed Hey Mama and Stronger.

The trainers, which were part of a collaboration between Nike and West, were prototypes, with the resulting model not going on sale until April 2009.

The shoes were acquired by Rares, an investment marketplace that allows users to invest in rare pairs of athletic footwear. Individuals can buy shares in a pair, just as investors buy stock in a company.

Rares bought the Air Yeezy 1s through a private sale from collector Ryan Chang.

Brahm Wachter, head of streetwear and new collectibles at Sotheby's, said the price "speaks volumes of Kanye's legacy as one of the most influential clothing and sneaker designers of our time, and of the Yeezy franchise he has built which has become an industry titan."

Before collaborating with West, Nike had named shoes only in honour of famous athletes.

The Air Yeezy 1 was released in limited edition in 2009, followed by the Air Yeezy 2 in 2012.

Most Air Yeezy 1s sell for between $2,000 and $4,000, depending on the model.

West initially teamed up with Nike before switching to Adidas to create his own line.

Yeezys generated nearly $1.7 billion in revenue in 2020, according to an internal note from UBS, reported by Bloomberg.