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RARES App Acquires Grammy-worn Air Yeezy in Biggest Individual Sneaker Sale Ever

The fintech startup shelled out nearly $2 million for the famous Nike/Kanye West collab.

Marking a new record for the highest sale price ever in footwear, the RARES App has paid $1.8 million to procure the exact size 12 Air Yeezy sample made for Kanye West over a decade ago and famously worn at the 2008 Grammy Awards.

The app, a 100% Black-owned, first-of-its-kind fractional investment platform, is fully dedicated to rare, SEC-backed sneaker offerings. It plans to sell tradable shares of the seven-figure Air Yeezys in the coming weeks.

Purchased in a private sale from New York collector Ryan Chang through auction house Sotheby’s, the final price dwarfed the industry’s prior record, a $615,000 benchmark paid for the “Shattered Backboard” Air Jordan 1 pair MJ donned when he broke the glass with a massive dunk during a 1985 exhibition game in Italy. Another pair of original game-worn ’85 Jordan 1s previously fetched $560,000, and a rare, early-1970s “Moon Shoe” Nike prototype had sold for $437,500 in 2019.

The Air Yeezy samples beat all three of those sums combined, far surpassing an estimated selling price of $1 million.

“Our goal in purchasing such an iconic shoe — and a piece of history — is to increase accessibility and empower the communities that birthed sneaker culture with the tools to gain financial freedom through RARES,” said Gerome Sapp, the company’s co-founder and CEO.

The shoes, also featured on the Issue 29 cover of Sole Collector Magazine in 2009, have traded hands a couple of times over the last decade since West first wore them during his “Hey Mama” and “Stronger” performances at the ’08 Grammys.

The sale also marks a new chapter in the footwear industry, with collectibles continuing to fetch skyrocketing prices as buyers have shifted from individuals to larger, well-funded groups and emerging platforms like RARES.

Once West left Nike in 2013 for Adidas, the book was closed for good on his Air Yeezy franchise with the Swoosh. Three colors each of both the Air Yeezy 1 and Air Yeezy 2 were released in 2009, 2012, and 2014, bringing finality to the line.

Around a dozen sample colorways, most made in Kanye’s size 12, have only shot up in value even further in the years since.

“The sale speaks volumes of Kanye’s legacy as one of the most influential clothing and sneaker designers of our time,” said Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of streetwear and modern collectibles.

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Most Expensive Individual Sneaker Sales of All Time

As of 26 April 2021

1. $1.8 Million: “Grammy” Nike Air Yeezy sample
2. $615,000: “Shattered Backboard” Air Jordan 1
3. $560,000: Prototype game-worn Air Jordan 1
4. $437,500: “Moon Shoe” Nike prototype
5. $409,000: Roger Bannister four-minute mile shoes