The Most Expensive Sneakers Ever Sold at Auction

Michael Jordan

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Michael Jordan
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Big Shoes to Fill

In most cases, sneakers aren’t worth much after they’ve been worn. That all depends, of course, on who wore them and when. When bidders go to war for the most sought-after sneakers in the world, those sneakers tend to be used, particularly if the person doing the using happened to be Michael Jordan. Others can command 10-figure prices when they’re brand-spanking new — depending on the celebrity behind the branding. Here’s a look at the sneakers that broke records at auctions and became some of the most coveted collector’s items in the world.

Related: You Won't Believe How Much These Collectibles Fetched at Auction

Michael Jordan
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1984 Michael Jordan Game-Worn, Autographed Nike Air Ships

How Much: $1.47 million

While Air Jordans have fetched a pretty penny at auction, the shoes Michael Jordan wore before he collaborated with Nike are also extremely valuable. A pair of autographed Nike Air Ships that Jordan wore in 1984 during his first season playing for the Chicago Bulls, during just his fifth-ever NBA game, recently brought in almost $1.5 million at a Sotheby's auction in Las Vegas. The size 13 shoes were given by Jordan to a Denver Nuggets ball boy after the game. The sale shatters previous sneaker-auction records, also set by Jordan's shoes. 

Related: 23 Sports Collectibles That Scored Big at Auction

Air Jordan IV, (White Cement Colorway)
Air Jordan IV, (White Cement Colorway) by 2Pacalyp (CC BY-SA)

2015 Eminem x Carhartt x Air Jordan IV

How Much: $30,100
When the best-selling solo rapper of all time collaborated with the world’s bestselling sneaker brand, the result was the Eminem x Carhartt x Air Jordan IV. Only 10 pairs were ever made, and when they arrived in 2015, they were made available only through auctions on eBay. They fetched five figures each, with one pair going for more than $30,000 and several others not far behind.

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Stephen Curry
Ezra Shaw/Staff/Getty Images News/Getty Images North America

Stephen Curry Game-Worn Under Armour ‘Moon Landing’

How Much: $58,100
In 2019, STEM programs in San Francisco schools got a huge boost from a single pair of sneakers. Three-point magician Steph Curry partnered with Under Armour and eBay to auction off his NASA-inspired Curry 6 “Moon Landing” shoes. The proceeds — nearly $60,000 — went to the Stephen and Ayesha Curry Family Foundation to support Bay Area STEM education.

Air Jordan 1

1985 Autographed Air Jordan 1 TYPS Player Exclusives

How Much: $62,500
The first half of August was among the most glorious two weeks in the history of sneakers. It was then that Christie’s and Stadium Goods held the “Original Air” auction, which brought in nearly $1 million from just nine pairs of kicks — nine pairs of Air Jordans, that is, which were some of the most sought-after sneakers on Earth. Among them were a pair of 1985 Air Jordan 1 TYPS Player Exclusives in unworn condition and signed by No. 23 himself.

Related: 22 Collectibles You Probably Tossed That Are Now Worth a Fortune

1989 Nike Air Mags

1989 Nike Air Mags

How Much: $92,100
In 2018, a single sneaker in terrible condition sold at auction for more than $90,000 — but it was hardly just any sneaker. It was one of the original Nike Air Mags actually worn in “Back to the Future II.” The dilapidated sneaker attracted 220 bids on eBay and fetched just shy of six figures despite a crumbling heel, a cracked midsole, and a detached outsole.

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Air Jordan XII, (Playoffs Colorway)
Air Jordan XII, (Playoffs Colorway) by 2Pacalyp (CC BY-SA)

1997 ‘Flu Game’ Air Jordan 12s

How Much: $104,765
Michael Jordan’s legendary work ethic can be summed up by Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals, when Jordan dug superhumanly deep to put up 38 points despite being sick with the flu. A ballboy for the opposing Utah Jazz named Preston Truman got the shoes Jordan wore that night from Mike himself — Jordan even signed them. Sixteen years later, Truman hit paydirt when the famous “Flu Game” sneakers became the most expensive game-worn shoes ever sold at auction across all sports.

Air Jordan VII sneakers specially released for 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Air Jordan VII sneakers specially released for 1992 Barcelona Olympics. by Fotonovela (CC BY-SA)

1992 Game-Worn ‘Olympic’ Air Jordan 7

How Much: $112,500
The 1992 U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team is considered by many to be the greatest athletic squad ever assembled in any sport — and at the heart of the Dream Team was Michael Jordan. Jordan by that point was synonymous with the Nike brand, and a pair of Olympic Air Jordan 7s he wore during the Dream Team’s global rampage fetched six figures at the 2020 Original Air auction.

Related: 23 Sports Collectibles That Scored Big at Auction

Converse Fastbreak Mids

1984 Jordan-Worn Converse Fastbreak Mids

How Much: $190,373
1984 was a watershed year for sneakers. Behind the scenes, the nascent Air Jordan movement was on the cusp of revolutionizing athletic branding and merchandising — but Jordan himself was still dunking in some of the last pairs of Converse he would ever wear. Among them were the Fastbreak Mids that he donned in the ’84 Olympics when he introduced himself to the world on a global stage; he autographed the kicks for posterity. In 2017, a collector spent nearly $200,000 to claim the rights to them at an SCP auction.

Nike Mag at the Flight Club Miami Design
Nike Mag at the Flight Club Miami Design by Phillip Pessar (CC BY)

2016 Nike Mags

How Much: $200,000
In 2016, one of the last remaining pairs of self-lacing Nike Mags sold for $200,000 at a charity auction. It was part of a nearly $7 million haul brought in by Nike and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research. Fox’s character Marty McFly wore the shoes in “Back to the Future II,” and the 2016 edition was a special-edition reboot.

Waffle Iron

1972 Nike ‘Moon Shoe’

How Much: $437,500
The “Moon Shoe” is one of the most important pieces of Nike history, and its genesis is the stuff of Nike legend. Oregon University track-and-field coaching icon Bill Bowerman co-founded Nike and experimented with the now-famous running shoe’s sole traction by pouring rubber into his wife’s waffle iron. Called the Moon Shoe because its print resembled those left by the Apollo 11 astronauts on the moon, the originals were hand-cobbled by Geoff Hollister, an original Nike employee. Only about a dozen were ever made, about half of which are still around today. The pair that broke the auction record is the only unworn pair on Earth.

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Air Jordans 1s

1985 Autographed Game-Worn Air Jordans 1s

How Much: $560,000
If the Moon Shoe has any real competition for the title of Nike’s most important artifact, it would have to be a pair of early Air Jordans. When those Jordans were worn in a game and signed by the actual Michael Jordan, even the old waffle iron running shoe prototype can’t compete. In May of 2020, all previous sneaker sale records were broken when a very special pair of ’85 Air Jordan 1s fetched more than half a million dollars at auction.

Shattered Backboard’ Air Jordan 1s

1985 ‘Shattered Backboard’ Air Jordan 1s

How Much: $615,000
Thanks to the ESPN documentary “The Last Dance,” 2020 saw a huge revival in Jordan fever and an equally high demand for the choicest Jordan memorabilia. In August, just a few dreary months after the first pair of game-worn 1s broke all previous records in May, a different pair snagged the trophy. In this case, it was a pair of ’85 Jordan 1s that No. 23 wore when he famously shattered the backboard during a pre-season game in Italy. The pair was the crown jewel in the 2020 Original Air auction.

OVO Air Jordan 10s

2016 Solid Gold Drake OVO Air Jordan 10s

How Much: $2 million
Although they’re not wearable and they weren’t technically sold at an auction, it’s worth mentioning that Drake immortalized his own relationship with the Nike and Jordan brands in gold — literally. In 2016, the Toronto-born rapper paid a reported $2 million for a rendering of his own OVO Air Jordan 10s made from 100 pounds of solid gold. The work was done by multidisciplinary artist to the stars Matthew Senna.

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