Kanye West's $1.8 Million Air Yeezys Are Now Worth Just $180,000
The Nike Air Yeezys worn by Kanye West at the 2008 Grammys—a pair that had fetched a staggering $1.8 million in a 2021 sale—recently resold for just $180,000.
The steep 90% drop in value mirrors Kanye West's controversial descent over the past year.
Facilitated by Sotheby’s, the 2021 sale saw the iconic sneakers purchased by Rares, a platform that allows users to invest in sneakers much like stock trading. At the height of their valuation, Rares even launched an IPO for the sneaker, offering investments at $15 a share. Today, that investment would have dwindled to a mere $1.50 a share, serving as a cautionary tale for the volatile nature of asset trading.
The recent auction hosted by Goldin received a lukewarm response, culminating in just 13 bids and a final sale price of $180,106. These same sneakers were initially slated for auction by Christie's last fall. However, the auction house pulled the plug following antisemitic remarks from West that led Adidas to sever its professional relationship with him.
Despite the sneakers' historical significance—they were a Nike prototype that marked their worldwide debut when West wore them during his Grammy performance—the resale value plummeted.
West severed his ties with Nike in 2013 due to a dispute over royalties, and would later establish his own billion-dollar Yeezy empire. However, that empire has seen its valuation dwindle after a string of antisemitic comments from West. Adidas has since been liquidating its remaining stock of Yeezy sneakers and announced plans to donate a portion of the proceeds to various organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League and the Philonise & Keeta Floyd Institute for Social Change.
This latest auction serves as a fascinating case study in the volatile market for collectible footwear and the impact of a celebrity's public standing on the value of associated memorabilia, and adds weight to the old adage, Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware)