Kanye West’s first pair of own-brand trainers are to become the most expensive kicks ever sold.
The rapper’s prototype Yeezy size-12s are going under the hammer at London auction house Sotheby’s for more than $1million (£728,000).
It beats the world-record £408,000 paid last year for a pair of 1985 Air Jordan 1 sneakers designed for and worn by basketball icon Michael Jordan.
Kanye won’t directly profit from the sale of the Nike Air Yeezy 1 pair as they’re being flogged by trainer nut Ryan Chang.
But the sale will boost the value of his sneaker empire, already valued at £3.4billion.
Kanye – currently divorcing Kim Kardashian, 40 – was last month named the richest black man in US history, with an estimated net worth of almost £5billion.
He wore the sample of his Nike-made shoes in February 2008 during his performances of Hey Mama and Stronger at the 50th Grammy Awards.
It set trainer geeks on a mission to identify the shoes.
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But the upcoming Yeezy shoe line release was being kept so secret at the time Kanye had to return them to the Nike’s "Innovation Kitchen" lab in Oregon after the show.
The Nike Air Yeezy 1 started the multi-billion-dollar-valued Yeezy sneaker and clothing brand when they finally launched the following year.
Kanye split from Nike in 2013 in order to partner Yeezy with Adidas, with whom he’s still in business today.
Sotheby’s say “the Nike Air Yeezy I and Air Yeezy II are still some of the most coveted sneakers by collectors”.
Brahm Wachter, the auction house’s Head of Streetwear & Modern Collectables said: “Debuted on-stage at the Grammys in 2008, the sneakers set off waves in the sneaker community as people tried to identify the mysterious pair.
“Afterwards, we saw a series of collaborations between Kanye and Nike, and then later the birth of his line with adidas.”
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The sneakers are available to view at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from April 16 to April 21 and their buyer will be kept private unless they opt to reveal their identity.
They were originally sold as "Grammy Worn" in benefit of a charity Nike frequently supports, the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.
Sotheby’s used external consultants to photo-analyse them for authenticity by comparing them against the pair worn by Kanye.
They looked for matching signs including the shoe’s soft perforated black leather and the now-trademark Yeezy forefoot strap.
The Yeezy brand name is a shortening of the “Kanyeezy” nickname Jay-Z gave Kanye in the intro to his song Lucifer on 2003‘s The Black Album.
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