The greatest thing to happen to the fashion industry since giant sunglasses has got to be the growing emergence of sneaker culture. Who can argue with the limitless variety of designs, the creative artistic discipline, and the supreme level of comfort associated with athletic sneakers? Even those who reject or don’t understand sneaker culture cannot ignore the fact that the athletic footwear market is worth over $17 billion and the second-hand market sees over $1 billion in annual transactions. Along with that, sneaker endorsements represent an integral piece of the financial foundation that supports the entire sports industry. So why are sneakers this cherished?
First, the evolution of the athletic sneaker offers such profound levels of artistic expression because the changes in style and design are transparently reflective of our culture. Today, it’s apparent that the sneakers worn by early hip-hop artists like Easy-E and superstar athletes like Michael Jordan have significantly influenced the fashion world. As a result, just like painters had to incorporate and understand classic painting styles of the greats who painted before them, sneaker designers must truly comprehend modern pop culture to create proper kicks. Subsequently, the high-end designers like Versace and Givenchy were able to score big in the sneaker community.
In addition to their creative potential, sneakers are radically collectible; limited releases, exclusive artist collaborations, and rare retro editions make up an ideal platform to fuel a thriving second-hand market. Growing demand for certain kicks readily drive prices into the tens of thousands, and these astronomical price tags are only possible if the sneakerheads who want them can also afford them. It’s a good thing that thousands of our most beloved celebrities are dedicated sneaker connoisseurs with unfathomable collections. For instance, New York Giants wide-receiver Victor Cruz needed a second closet for his Jordans alone. That said, let’s take a look at which sneakers these lucrative celebrity sneakerheads love.
20. DJ Khaled’s Closet Includes Ultra-Rare Air Jordan “Sager Vision” 1s
DJ Khaled is the music producer behind hit singles like “I’m The One” and “All I Do Is Win.” Khaled is known as much for his music as he is for his motivational attitude and infectious energy, but the Grammy-nominated recording artist is also notorious for his legendary sneaker collection. Khaled claims to own over 10,000 pairs of sneakers, which includes many rare kicks like the unreleased Jordan “Denim” 3s and Air Jordan “Motorsport” 5s (pair 1 of 23). DJ Khaled displays his massive collection in a lavish 360-degree closet with special custom wood that does his footwear justice by preserving their condition. As the DJ often says, “shoes are a great investment.”
One of the most distinguished pairs in Khaled’s collection is the Air Jordan “Sager Vision” 1s (1 of 2), a pair designed as a tribute to the late sports reporter, Craig Sager, a sports icon known for his abundantly patterned, colorful suits that he wore on the sidelines. The exclusive “Sager Visions” aren’t exceptional because they’re scarce; these Jordan 1s are a work of art. They truly embody Sager’s style and delicately honor his legacy.
19. Asahd Khaled Has Exclusive Baby Air Jordan “Grateful” 3s
One cannot address DJ Khaled’s stupendous sneaker collection without acknowledging his son, Asahd – his father says the entire shoe collection is for Asahd and the ambitious record producer’s goal is to accumulate the largest, most valuable sneaker collection in the world. Aside from a sneaker-trust-fund, being the son of an entertainment mogul has its perks: Asahd has almost two million Instagram followers, received a $100,000 Frank Muller watch for his first birthday a couple months ago, and recently unveiled his growing assemblage of Baby Jordans on Complex.
Asahd’s toddler kicks collection includes retro Air Jordan Blue Suede 5s and Gucci Canvas Low-Tops, but the most outstanding pair is his exclusive Air Jordan “Grateful” 3s. The “Grateful” 3s are a collaboration between Jordan and DJ Khaled in dedication to his We The Best Music Group record label, his album Grateful, and the birth of Asahd. This collab with Khaled is considered by many to be one of the best synergies due to a unique shade of reddish orange and subtle adornments that don’t allow the retro kicks to “play themselves.” Currently, a pair will set you back $23,000, so it’s safe to assume that Asahd’s 1 of 1 Baby Jordan pair is quite coveted.
18. Are The Adidas Hu Trail NMDs Pharrell’s Swan Song?
Pharrell Williams is one of the most creative and successful minds in music and the “Get Lucky” singer embraces a condition known as synesthesia, an ability to visually integrate sounds and color. In other words, Pharrell can see the sounds that he immaculately produces. Considering the artist’s focus on the visual aspect of sound, we are not surprised that Pharrell takes pride in his fashion sense. In fact, Pharrell is a hugely influential figure in fashion – people still talk about his Arby’s hat that he wore to the 2014 Grammys. Sadly, Pharrell didn’t drop anything comparable to his single “Happy,” but he did drop one of the most fly sneaker series ever in 2016.
Adidas already scored with the NMDs, so it was only a matter of time before a collaboration did justice to the established design. Well, who better to innovate the game-changing NMD than Pharrell? The resulting Pharrell X Adidas Human Race NMDs are a sneaker masterpiece – everything about the design of the shoe, including the vertical text written along the top toe vamp, offers ranging variations of color combinations that allow sneakerheads to individualize their pair. I know what you’re thinking: “If everyone else is already rocking the Pharrell NMDs, then what’s Pharrell wearing?” Pharrell was spotted in Shanghai last November wearing the new Hu Trail “Hiking” line of NMDs that will be released this March. So far, we know the series includes a few wild Tie-Dye options and a trendy Off-White.
17. 2 Chainz Lives Large In Versace “Chain Reaction” Bulkys
2 Chainz is one of today’s premier hip-hop artists and is possibly more memorable for his on-screen personality on GQ Magazine’s hit YouTube series. Chainz’s series about Earth’s fanciest stuff regularly earns three to four million views each episode. In all honesty, it’s so fun watching 2 Chainz test extravagant gadgets and eat very expensive food. The rap star is now happily familiar with nice things; nonetheless, his first sneaker collab, the 2 Chainz X Ewing 33 Hi kicks, are an acquired taste, to put it gently…
The 2 Chainz Ewings were clunky and loaded with unnecessary belts and buckles – he made a mistake releasing run-of-the-mill shoes while being the go-to guy for opinions on the most expensive, most over-the-top luxuries in the world (he recently spent over $60,000 on Sneaker Shopping). Wouldn’t it make more sense for the hip-hop artist to release a super-duper-fancy sneaker? Of course! And 2 Chainz learned from his past mistake because he’s currently collaborating with Versace on the “Chain Reaction.” The Versace X 2 Chainz collab is most comparable to a moon boot: they have what looks like a 2-3″ thick heel, are available in leopard print and space laser design, and they have an outspoken chain-link outer-sole. The super-bulky designer sneaks are set for limited release this March.
16. Wale Stunts In Christian Louboutin “Red Bottoms”
Grammy-nominated hip-hop artist Wale says he went straight to Fight Club (a high-end consignment sneaker shop in NYC) after signing his first record deal with Allido Records (Mark Ronson‘s label within Interscope Records). The “My Love” singer is known for an epic sneaker exhibit and, just like DJ Khaled, the D.C. rapper is openly grateful for his collection and he’s evidently passionate about sneakers. Aside from the kicks, Wale’s a fan of the WWE and continues to collaborate with the wrestling organization on Asics X Wale X Villa “Gel-Lyte” 3s. Wale’s Asics are gold with blue bottoms and blue tones throughout in dedication to the WWE Intercontinental Belt. Wale is featured in several fashion spreads, so, like many others, Wale is frequently seen in Christian Louboutin “Red Bottoms.” Wale’s latest album, Shine, was a slight disappointment (critically and sales-wise), so the rapper may want to cool it on the shoes until his next release because, at an average of $1,000 a pair, this designer stuff ain’t cheap.
15. Cardi B Is Here To Rock Reebok Classics
Cardi B had one of the best years ever in 2017: she became the first solo female hip-hop artist since Lauryn Hill‘s “Doo Wop (That Thing)” to claim a number 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 with B’s summer banger “Bodak Yellow,” she became engaged to Migos member Offset, and she earned two Grammy nominations. The Bronx rapper is eccentric yet down-to-Earth and her story is a true rags to riches tale – Cardi was a grocery store clerk turned dancer turned Instagram star turned VH1 reality TV star turned multi-platinum selling recording artist. Cardi’s is an incredible underdog story that resonates with people. We’ll also add fashion icon to Cardi’s deep roster of accomplishments, though not for her grandiose runway outfits, but rather for her savvy sneaker styles. One of Cardi’s best ensembles was in the new Bruno Mars track, “Fitness (Remix),” which properly pays homage to the ‘Fly Girls’ from In Living Color. Their video is a nostalgic throwback and the duo nails the part: Mars rocks retro Reebok “Pumps” and Cardi B rocks black-and-gold Reebok Classics.
14. Meek Mill Still Wears Sneakers With A Tuxedo
In 2017, Meek Mill was entangled in legal controversy – he was arrested and sentenced to a 2-4 year prison term for probation violation, resulting in public outrage and celebrity support from powerful entertainers like Jay-Z and Kevin Hart. Meek’s story is a high-profile example of a failure within America’s judicial system and representative of today’s widespread racial incarceration issues. Mill appealed several times and if he’s released it would be a considerable win for society. On a lighter note, before the rapper became a civil rights symbol, Meek was known for his passion for footwear. Meek delicately dropped $35,000 on Sneaker Shopping w/ Complex. On that note, one of Meek’s most impressive kicks are the yellow Balenciaga “Nubuck” Arenas he paired with his all-black tux to the Hip-Hop Inaugural Ball, where he received the Community Activist Award. Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to see more of Meek’s sneaker styles sooner rather than later. Until then, we’ll just admire the “Free Meek” Custom Vol. 1s that James Harden wears to support the hip-hop martyr.
13. Jason Sudeikis Is Borderline Obsessed With Air Jordans
Recognition in the sneaker world isn’t strictly reserved for athletes and recording artists because Jason Sudeikis also qualifies as one of the entertainment industry’s most elite sneakerheads. Since Sudeikis’ beginnings as an SNL cast member, the Downsizing actor always seemed like a cool, regular dude that would make a great dinner party guest. Whether Sudeikis is good company or not, it’s safe to assume he could hold a conversation about sneakers. According to his wife Olivia Wilde, the comedian owns more than 200 pairs of Jordans alone!
In addition to sneaks, Jason Sudeikis is a hardcore NBA fan – he’s often court side rocking Air Jordan “Fresh Prince” 5s, Air Jordan “Oregon Ducks” 5s, and Air Jordan “Space Jam” 11s (he also wore retro Air Jordan “Concord” 11s to the 2016 Grammys). Amidst the comic’s noteworthy footwear assemblage, the retro Air Jordan “White Cement” 3s that he wore on NYC streets are also great finds. These 3s were released over five years ago and their ahead-of-the-time design is ripe today.
12. Serena Williams Walked Down The Aisle In Nike Cortez Low-Tops
Serena Williams enjoyed 2017 as much as anybody: she married the co-founder of Reddit (Alexis Ohanian), gave birth to a baby girl (Alexis Olympia), and she was the only woman on Forbes’ 100 Highest-Paid Athletes list. Lest we forget, Serena won the 2017 Australian Open while she was eight weeks pregnant and would have likely played in this year’s tournament had she not suffered a pulmonary embolism that delayed her recovery and training. Serena’s hiatus let us reminisce about the star’s remarkable career and (maybe more importantly) remember the legendary sneakers Williams wore during each of her 23 Grand Slams. Personally, we’re a fan of the Nike Air Max “Mirabella” and the NikeCourt “Flares.” Nonetheless, the proof is in the pudding and Serena’s noteworthy shoe closet solidifies her as a diehard sneakerhead. That said, no display of love for sneakers was more celebrated than the custom Nike Cortez sneakers that Serena wore to her wedding. Along with her athletic accolades, Serena taught us to never underestimate the sneaker – her bridal kicks were bedazzled with silver and gold crystals. If for nothing else, you have to hand it to the phenom for combining glamour and comfort.
11. Kevin Hart Supports Designer Sneakers Like The Valentino Rockrunners
The list of the twenty-first century’s most famous, most electric celebs includes the Philly-bred entertainer, Kevin Hart. Hart is currently the highest-paid comedian and the global success of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. The $700 million it grossed, is further proof that big names earn their big paychecks. Not only is Hart a talented actor who strikes chords with a youthful demo, he’s also a respectable sneakerhead. To support that, Kevin Hart’s Nike collaboration, the Free Train Virtue “Hustle Harts,” is considered one of the better celebrity collabs. Coincidentally, Hart was a sneaker salesman before his breakthrough in entertainment and the Central Intelligence actor certainly acquired some tasteful knowledge during his sneaker-selling past, because Complex feature him on the list of best NBA courtside looks. Hart sees a lot of credit for keeping up with today’s trends and joining particular celebs like Usher by wearing Valentino Rockrunners. The clashing patterns on these designer kicks put them into that “so ugly that they’re pretty” category, like pugs and blob fish. Joking aside, these $700 sneakers illustrate the finest example of today’s bulky shoe trend that celebs consistently endorse.
10. Idris Elba Stands By The Lebron 15s
The English actor and DJ, Idris Elba, gained A-List status when his film career took off after landing roles in Blockbuster movies like Prometheus, The Jungle Book, and his recurring role in the Marvel franchise. Prior to the big screen, Elba’s reel included a successful television career with legitimate hits like The Wire and Luther. Even though Elba fumbled as the leading man in the Stephen King adaptation of The Dark Tower, the gentleman kept it classy with consistently stylish public appearances. Elba’s fashion sense earned him several spreads in popular magazines like GQ, People, and Esquire. Accordingly, the Marvel actor’s tremendous sneaker collection is substantially responsible for his fashion sense. Sure, Elba was spotted rocking today’s hits like the Adidas NMDs and Christian Louboutin “Nono” Flats, but Idris is also a strong supporter of the Lebron 15s and he even narrated Lebron James‘ newest sneaker promo commercial. Considering the previously unappealing designs of the Lebron line, the Lebron 15s are much better than anticipated, though they do look a bit like extra-chunky Nike Roshes.
9. Zendaya Knows Sneakers Are Life And Loves Givenchy
Pop culture is kind enough to reward each generation with their own crew of Disney stars. Disney’s child actor reign truly began with the Mickey Mouse Club members, e.g., Britney Spears, Ryan Gosling and Christina Aguilera. Disney proceeded into the early 2000s signing stars like Miley Cyrus, Shia LaBeouf, and Hilary Duff before introducing the world to the Jonas Brothers. Once again, Disney passed the torch to a fresh group of talent that includes Bella Thorne, Debby Ryan, and known sneakerhead, Zendaya. For those unaware, Zendaya is a profoundly capable entertainer. She’s an accomplished dancer, released a Billboard top 100 single (“Replay”), wrote a book, co-starred on Shake It Up, and began to develop her film career by landing roles in Spider-Man: Homecoming and The Greatest Showman.
Zendaya invokes the talented pop icons of the past and she also has an eye for fashion. She’s established her own clothing line, designed a shoe collection, and she’s a recurring guest judge on Project Runway. An integral part of Zendaya’s reportedly epic shoe closet is undoubtedly her sneaker collection. According to an interview in Twist Magazine, Zendaya is especially fond of black and white Givenchys for their versatility, since “you can dress them up and you can dress them down.”
8. Mark Wahlberg’s Air Jordan “Transformers” Are Among The Most Envied Kicks
Earning over $68 million, Mark Wahlberg was the highest-paid actor in 2017 (even more than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). In addition to making a lot of money, the Boogie Nights actor also donates a lot of money – he recently donated the 1.5 million dollar check he received for his All The Money In The World reshoots to the Time’s Up Movement upon learning that Michelle Williams (a 4-time time Oscar nominee) was only paid $1,000 for her reshoots. Among the things that Wahlberg does right are his sneaker picks. In fact, the Boston native accumulated one of the most grandiose sneaker collections in the world, recently appraised as worth more than $100,000 for his roughly 140 pairs. The rarest of his kicks include 1 of 10 Eminem X Carhartt X Air Jordan 5s worth over $22,000 and Air Jordan “Duckman” 14s which go for at least $5,000. But the rarest in Wahlberg’s collection could be his exclusive “Transformers” Air Jordan 4s and 5s. The 4s are golden-yellow with a copper heel and copper adornments. The 5s are jet black with a translucent, glow-in-the-dark outsole with the Transformers logo on the insole. To own either pair is a dream for all sneakerheads and Transformers fans, though it’s rumored that the only other person to own a pair of these exclusive kicks is DJ Khaled.
7. Drake Made His OVOs Into A Golden Trophy
Drake‘s musical accolades include 3 Grammys, four #1 ranked platinum-selling albums, and he’s been critically praised as one of the best rappers alive by reputable music magazines like Pitchfork and Complex. The Canadian superstar came a long way since his television role on Degrassi: The Next Generation. In the series, Drake played a disabled basketball prospect, and the role suited him well because he happens to be a diehard NBA fan. You’ll spot Drake sitting court side at most Toronto Raptors games because he’s literally their global ambassador and the team hosts an annual “Drake Night,” so it’s safe to assume he’s a fan. Fortunately for sneaker fans, Drake uses his court side cameos as an opportunity to show off his collection of footwear. Accordingly, Drake is well-respected in the sneaker community for his closet rarities like the Air Jordan “Mocha” 3s and the $8,000 Air Jordan “Oregon Ducks” 14s. At the same time, Drake delivered on his deal with Jordan on his OVO series, which deserves a lot of credit even though it has lately fallen flat. And we’re not the only ones who believe the kicks deserve a nod because artist Matthew Senna helped Drake produce a 24K Gold pair of the Air Jordan OVO 10s, which are said to weigh 100 lbs.
6. Eminem’s Collaboration W/ Jordan X Carhartt Became The Holy Grail Of Limited Releases
If Eminem were a less humble man, he’d have much to brag about: the Detroit native earned a whopping 15 Grammys, an Academy Award (he’s the first rapper to do so), and he’s on just about every major music publication’s “best-all-time” rapper list. Eminem’s also a successful businessman (a portion of his royalties are in the IPO, Royalty Flow), an effecting philanthropist who founded the Marshall Mathers Foundation for aiding disadvantaged youth in Detroit, and he’s also deeply passionate about sneakers.
Just like us, Eminem is a huge fan of the Adidas NMDs and acknowledged how comfortable they are during a recent appearance on Complex in which he made one of the more modest purchases on their Sneaker Shopping series. Ironically, Eminem’s frugal spending habits don’t support the purchase of his own Eminem X Carhartt X Jordan 4s, which were created for auction sale to raise money for the Michigan State University Literacy for Songwriting Program. There are only ten pairs in existence and they were sold for a combined sum of over $200,000; each pair sold between $18K and $30K.
5. The Members Of Migos Are No Strangers To The Yeezy Boost 350 V2s
Migos made a significant impression in hip-hop with their 2016 single “Bad and Boujee.” Along with their worldwide success, the recent attention garnered by the Atlanta-based trio is fruitful for the fashion scene as well. Each member of Migos (Offset, Quavo, and Takeoff) embraces bold looks with designer apparel and accessories from head to toe. Between the three of them, the jewelry they wear amidst their charismatic outfits is often worth over $100,000, so they obviously wouldn’t be caught dead rocking inadequate footwear. Before Migos were flossin’ designer swag, they were already sneaker fanatics. As Offset said in their recent appearance on Complex, “Ya gotta keep your feet clean.” In case you were curious, the rappers do share a lot of their wardrobe and seem to agree on fashion because they also share a lot of their favorite brands and designers. For instance, they’re all fans of Pharrell X Adidas “Human Race” NMDs, Gucci Aces, and retro Air Jordan 4s. On top of that, one of today’s most popular shoes among celebrities are also enjoyed by Migos. We’re talking about Kanye West‘s supremely innovative Yeezy Boost 350 V2s, which can cost over $1,000 for certain releases.
4. Neymar’s Golden Feet Are Stuntin’ In Gold “Supreme” Uptempos
By the end of 2017, just about everyone was familiar with the Brazilian soccer super-athlete, Neymar – this had a lot to do with the fact that he signed a record-breaking $270 million contract for his transfer to the PSG (Paris Saint-German) football club. So far, Neymar is successfully integrating with his new soccer team and the high-end fashion scene. He was recently hanging out with David Beckham while attending Paris Fashion Week. What further proves Neymar’s fashion sense is his extensive collection of sneakers: he’s frequently credited as one of today’s best-dressed celebs and arguably the world’s most stylish professional soccer player. Proof that Neymar knows his kicks includes his Air Max “Moon Landing” 90s, Nike X Acronym Air Force 1s, and his own well-received Neymar X Jordan 5 collaboration. Sneaker-wise, the superstar’s best accomplishment was to be the first to wear Nike Air More “Supreme” Uptempos, which became the most in-demand chunky designer sneakers. The bulky Uptempos were already gaining a lot of attention when we thought the black models would be released in black, but then Neymar dropped the gold model on us, which led the Air More Uptempos to become one of the most anticipated releases in all of sneaker history. They sell for a minimum of $500.
3. Saint Laurent Is Justin Bieber’s Go-To Shoe
Between Instagram and Twitter, Justin Bieber has almost 200 million followers! The music phenom is easily one of the most influential and recognized figures on the planet, so it’s a good thing he’s got a fashion sense that’s worthy of appreciation. Bieber’s style transformed over the years; but even at 13, the kid was rocking retro Jordan High-Tops. A recent favorite footwear for the pop star is the Vans Authentic Core Classics, a demur throwback pair for anyone; though he’s certainly still a fan of designer styles. For instance, Bieber was spotted in the hard-to-track-down Givenchy Tyson’s and red-carpet-capable Balmain Leopard Slip-Ons. If you’re familiar with Bieber’s outfits recently, then you know that he’s particularly fond of the designer Saint Laurent. The “Where Are U Now” singer rocks everything from the Saint Laurent Boots to the Off-White Low-Tops. Considering he’s among Forbes’ Top Ten Most Powerful celebrities, Bieber may be partly responsible for the recent popularity of the sneakers among the entertainment and fashion industries.
2. Dr. Dre Wears New Air Force 1s Every Day
Dr. Dre is one of the most successful figures in the history of hip-hop: the Compton native earned 6 Grammys, sold his Beats by Dre headphone brand to Apple for $3 billion, and he co-founded the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Art, Technology and the Business of Innovation. Dre’s also responsible for recruiting other hip-hop icons including Eminem and Snoop Dogg. Before Aftermath Entertainment, Dre was a member of the controversial nineties rap group, NWA. There’s a dense history to the West Coast recording artist, but the mogul has evidently always had a love for sneakers. In early photos of NWA, the group was always keeping their footwear fresh. Dre is seen rocking retro kicks like Nike Cortez sneakers, K-Swiss Gstaads, and Nike Delta Forces. To this day, the Doctor still opts for classic Nike Air Force 1s over the designer brands. However, this in no way suggests Dre is a frugal shopper. Rather, it’s been rumored that the record producer discards each pair of Air Forces after only wearing them once. What’s more boss? A few pairs of limited Jordans, or a fresh pair of white Nikes every single day?
1. Jeff Bezos Keeps It Classic With Converses
Silicon Valley is a multi-trillion-dollar technology battleground where social status is as adored as in Hollywood and the new billionaire players look a lot less like Hugh Hefner, and a lot more like Rick Moranis in Honey, I Shrunk The Kids. While the tech scene doesn’t feature fashion as much as entertainment industry participants, according to a widely popular report last year in Business Insider, there’s a huge sneaker scene among the techies in San Francisco. Silicon Valley is especially full of heavy-hitter sneakerheads: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Google CEO Sundar Pichai are both fans of Lanvin’s Low-Tops, Apple CEO Steve Cook rocks Nike Roshes, and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky enjoys Gucci Aces. Upon examination of public appearances and photos, the Lanvin’s sneaker line appears to be the tech capitol’s most popular high-status footwear. Subsequently, we have to give due credit to the all-time richest man and Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos. Instead of the fancy designer kicks worn by conglomerate big-heads, Bezos chooses to wear Converse “Jack Purcell” Classics. At $65 a pair, the Low-Tops are a modest pick for the modern marvel.
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