+44 (0)1428 653727 sales@johnnicholsons.com

What is the most expensive shoes you have ever comes across? A pair of Manolo Blahnik’s? Jimmy Choo’s? No longer, thanks to a pair of sneakers once worn by the rapper Kanye West, which have just sold for a cool $1 million at auction.

These were the first pair of Nike Air Yeezy 1’s ever worn by West and he slipped them on for the 2008 50th Annual Grammy Awards.

It’s hard to think of something manufactured as recently as 13 years ago as being of such value as a collectable, but it’s a lesson to us all that serious sums are not always associated with rarities from the distant past. In fact, a 2019 report by Cowen Equity Research classifying sneakers as an alternative asset class predicted that their resale market would be valued at around $30 billion by 2030. That’s the equivalent of over half the value of the entire global art market in absolute terms today.

Some auction houses already have departments dedicated to vintage fashion, but it looks as though others will soon have departments dedicated solely to sneakers.

It’s a far cry from the traditional furniture, jewellery, ceramics, glass, silver, books and fine art departments of the past, but times move on. Guessing what other alternative asset classes will emerge to change the profile of auction houses is an interesting game. What’s your prediction?