The most expensive sneakers ever sold at auction

Two of the most expensive pairs of sneakers ever auctioned belong to Michael Jordan. Alan Mothner/AP
  • Sneakerheads are known for their collections of rare (and often quite pricey) shoes.
  • Today, many collectors buy their shoes on the resale market, where prices can enter the five-digits.
  • On the auction block, shoes can go for even more.
  • Business Insider’ Shoshy Ciment recently reported that a pair of Michael Jordan’s game-worn shoes sold for over half a million dollars, breaking the existing record and becoming the most expensive sneakers ever sold at auction.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Sneakers can be extremely valuable, and no one knows that better than “sneakerheads.” The closets of some of the most prominent sneakerheads can be as mindbogglingly expensive as those of Birkin bag collectors.

Today, many collectors can find shoes on the resale market, which had an estimated worth of $US2 billion dollars in 2019, according to Business Insider’s Dennis Green. But at auction, individual pairs of sneakers can be even pricier.

The value of a given pair of sneakers is often tied to the history behind them. Shoes worn by Michael Jordan, for example, tell the story of his basketball career and serve as snapshots in time. Other shoes are valuable because of how rare they are; one example is the Nike Dunk SB Low Paris, which has fewer than 200 pairs in existence.

Recently, Business Insider’ Shoshy Ciment reported that a pair of Michael Jordan’s game-worn shoes sold for over a half a million dollars, making them the most expensive sneakers ever auctioned.

Business Insider teamed up with the Guinness Book of World Records to see what other sneakers broke auction records. Here they are, listed from least to most expensive.

2013: Nike Air Jordan 12 ($US104,765)


In December 2013, a pair of Michael Jordan’s Nike Air Jordan 12 basketball shoes were sold by a former ball boy, who was given the shoes by Jordan himself after his 1997 “flu game,” so called because Jordan was very sick while playing but still ended up scoring 38 points.

The shoes, a size 13, were worn and signed by Jordan, who was playing for the Chicago Bulls at the time. They sold for $US104,765 to an unidentified buyer.

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2016: Nike Mag self-lacing trainers ($US200,000)


In November 2016, the Michael J. Fox Foundation sold a pair of Nike Mag self-lacing trainers, which were inspired by the sneakers seen in the 1989 film “Back to the Future Part II.” The shoes sold for $US200,000.

Sole Collector

2019: Nike Waffle Racing Flat “Moon Shoe” ($US437,500)


In July 2019, Sotheby’s auctioned a pair of 1972 Nike Waffle Racing Flat “Moon Shoe” sneakers for $US437,5000. The shoes were unworn, and were handmade by Bill Bowerman, Nike’s cofounder.

The buyer was entrepreneur Miles Spencer Nadal, who said he plans to display the sneakers in his Dare to Dream Automobile Museum, located in Toronto, Canada.

Source:Sotheby’s, CNN

2020: Nike Air Jordan 1s ($US560,000)


In May, Sotheby’s auctioned a pair of Nike Air Jordan 1s, game-worn by Michael Jordan in 1985. The shoes were sold for $US560,000 via online auction. The right shoe has Jordan’s signature in permanent marker. They were expected to auction for between $US100,000 and $US150,000, but sold for nearly five times that, setting a new record for the most expensive sneakers ever sold at auction.

The shoes are also mismatched in size – the left is a size 13 and the right is a size 13.5. Jordan is said to have preferred this while playing.

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