Outside of music, Kanye West has made an equally impactful name for himself in the streetwear world. Before joining forces with Adidas to create the highly successful Yeezy line, Ye had been teaming up with Nike and in the late 00s debuted the Nike Air Yeezy 1. Since then, numerous pairs of the samples of prototypes of the sneaker have hit the auction block, but none have been as coveted as the Nike Air Yeezy 1 sample worn and designed by Kanye specifically for the Grammys. 

The rap mogul made sneaker history on Monday (April 26) when the one-of-a-kind sneaker was sold for a record-breaking $1.8 million. Executed by the Elite New York auction company, the purchase was made by Gerome Sapp, the head of RARES, a sneaker investment app that allows community members to list, buy and sell sneakers. The former NFL quarterback explained to The Shade Room that his reason for purchasing the kicks lied in his status as a life-long sneakerhead. 

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“The Nike Air Yeezy 1 prototype not only means a lot to the sneaker culture, but it meant a lot to me personally,” Sapp explained to The Shade Room. “I retired from the NFL in 2008 and was wondering what was next with my life. When I saw Kanye and Nike unveil these sneakers at the 2008 Grammys, aside from being dope, they represented a new age of independence, a beginning of something bigger to come."

He continued, "That is exactly what RARES represents to my team and I now. So when the opportunity was presented to acquire this all-time favorite grail, I hopped on it. I felt that this 1 of 1 grail didn’t belong in a museum or a museum environment, it needed to be securitized and split into affordable shares so that anyone who loved these sneakers and the culture around what made these sneakers hot, could invest in them. One equity share at a time.”


West debuted the kicks at the 2008 Grammy awards ceremony shortly after his beloved mother, Donda West, passed away. He performed a rendition of "Stronger" as well as "Hey Mama" in dedication to his late mother. 

The final sale of the Yeezy sneakers nearly doubled the opening bid of $1 million. Ye beats out the previous record for most-expensive sneaker sold at auction: a pair of Air Jordan 1s that were signed by Michael Jordan himself that sold for $560,000. 

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Congrats to Kanye West on making history!