First known as Blue Ribbon Sports, the Nike company was founded in 1964 by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight. The official name change, in 1971, paid homage to the Greek goddess of victory. Nike's logo, the Swoosh, is the most recognizable logo in the world. It's “Just Do It” slogan can be seen on everything from billboards to T-shirts.
As one of the most popular sneaker brands around the globe, it's no surprise that celebrity endorsements and collaborations would be a part of the company’s success. What does come as a surprise is just how much value a celebrity association can bring. Here are some of the most expensive shoes ever made by Nike.
10 Macklemore x Air Jordan 6 ($25k)
Macklemore is a lyricist and rapper who decided to partner with Nike. It's funny that a man who penned lyrics that encouraged listeners to lead a less wasteful lifestyle would help design a pair of sneakers like these: They ended up with a price tag that could pay the mortgage on some houses for more than three years!
It turns out that the musician has a profound love for sneakers. The price tag may be because a limited number were created and intended for the singer's close circle. The subtly-crafted shoe was made available in two colors, a shade of green and salmon.
9 Eminem x Carhartt Air Jordan 4 ($30.1k)
In 2015, Eminem also collaborated with Nike to design an exclusive sneaker for his close relatives and best buddies. The company added 10 pairs to release on eBay. Straying from the classic Jordan design, this edition was drafted of black twill with lace tabs that shone brightly. The white and gray soles were the perfect contrast to the dark shoe.
What made this Jordan edition extra special was Eminem's inverted "E" stamp and the Jason mask on the sneaker's heel. The rarity of the "Black Chrome," along with the signature markings, make this pair of Jordans a must-have among true sneakerheads.
8 Air Jordan 2 OG ($31k)
Ironically, this wasn't one of the more popular editions of Nike's Jordan franchise. Neither fans or sneaker aficionados were impressed. Somehow, they managed to sell on eBay for a very shocking $31k.
The Air Jordan 2 OG edition was designed by Bruce Kilgore and initial production took place in Italy. They were only released in two color patterns. The red and white version of the shoe seems to be harder to lay hands on. Retros were unavailable for release until the early 2000s. This time around, the OGs were produced in a wider range of color schemes in hopes to gain more popularity in its second run.
7 Air Mag ($37.5k)
In 2016, Nike released a pair of sneakers that were inspired by the 80s movie Back to the Future II. Of course, the effect of the film character's shoes was all smoke and mirrors. Nike wanted the real thing for the gray and aqua colored sneakers they were creating. It took nearly three decades to achieve it.
With fewer than 100 pairs made, they were powered by batteries and motors too. At the time, the light-soled, self-lacing kicks were issued via raffle. The technology used and limited availability has made this Nike creation one of the most coveted pairs in the company's history.
6 Air Jordan 11 ‘Jeter’ ($40k)
One of the best to ever play for the New York Yankees, Derek Jeter got into the shoe game too! He helped create one of the rarest Nikes ever released. In commemoration of his retirement from baseball, only five pairs of the blue-hue, velvet-fabric sneakers were put out in a scratch-off style auction that "popped-up" near the team's home stadium.
Only two pairs are believed to have been sold. The other three are being kept in vaults for safekeeping.
5 Diamond-Encrusted Air Force 1 ($50k)
Many would wonder why a pair of Air Force 1s would be worth so much. Honestly, the shoe isn't a rarity. Anyone and everyone can purchase a pair, but not anyone and everyone can purchase this pair. The value of this particular pair of Nike's is steeped in the 11 carats of diamonds that detail the infamous Nike swoosh.
Atlanta rapper Big Boi enlisted the help of Ernel Dawkins, another Atlanta native and owner of a sneaker store. Dawkins made the swoosh shine bright with diamonds the color of champagne. Aware of the possible dangers of wearing the shoes in public, Big Boi sold them in an auction, with the $50k proceeds being used to fund his charity.
4 Air Jordan Silver (autographed- $60k)
Anything attached to Michael Jordan's name is bound to fetch a pretty penny. There are a lot of reasons this Air Jordan would be viewed as worth the price. First, Michael Jordan received them as a gift from his wife, Juanita Jordan, on his 32nd birthday.
Second, they are made of sterling silver and less than a dozen pairs were made available, the majority of which are in the hands of various Michael Jordan memorabilia or athletic shoe collectors. Finally, MJ's John Hancock is boldly visible on them. That last fact is the feature that boosted the shoe's value. They sold for $60k at auction.
3 Air Jordan XII OVO ($100k)
This simple yet classy take on the Air Jordan has a similar history to the ones before them, except they were made available to the public. It is simply a re-creation of the ones owned by Drake. The white leather sneaker has a subtle hint of gold-tone on the side and its two top eyelets.
The see-through sole allows the OVO logo to be visible. It's said that the pair that sold for $100k was gifted to a woman who instantly listed them for sale. Although they would look good with any outfit, the mere thought of a smudge on a $100k pair of shoes would terrify the average person!
2 Worn Air Jordan 12 "Flu Game" ($104k)
This pair of sneakers comes with a story. Jordan's team was playing the Utah Jazz in the 1997 finals. The Jazz had beaten the Bulls in the last two face-offs and tied the finals at two games each. Jordan was showing signs of the flu and was struggling through the games.
Somehow, he summoned up the strength to lead the team to win. The design is simply a re-creation of the original, except in black and red. This particular Jordan edition is considered royalty because it's had two retro releases. Still, $140k is a nice chunk of change for sneakers…or does the attached history make them worthy?
1 1972 Olympics Sneakers ($475k)
A Canadian businessman made history by purchasing a pair of Nikes from Sotheby's at auction. How? Miles Nadal made them the most expensive pair of kicks ever sold at auction when he handed over $475k.
Part of a collection of the rarest athletic shoes to ever be produced, the shoes are one of a dozen pairs that were produced for runners in the 1972 Olympic tryouts. The co-founder of Nike, Bill Bowerman, made the shoes using his spouse's waffle iron to create the pattern on the sole. Nadal now owns the only worn pair and intends to showcase them in his museum.