7 Most Expensive Basketball Shoes
Basketball shoes or “sneakers” as most would refer to it have evolved over the years. More advanced technology has been integrated into sneakers which aims to not just improve an athlete’s performance but also prevent them from suffering long-term injuries. Aside from the newest tech, sneakers today are also more visually stunning which is a result of multiple materials being attached to the shoe. All of these factors result in more expensive sneakers, with some even costing thousands of dollars once they reach the resale market. So, here are the seven most expensive basketball sneakers ever released:
1. Adidas The Kobe - $3,100
Before Kobe Bryant’s successful partnership with Nike, he initially signed with Adidas during the first six years of his NBA career. And the shoe that defined his stay at the Three Stripes was “The Kobe” released in 1999. Although the design was mostly inspired by the Audi TT Roadster, the shoe became widely known as the “space boots” due to its bulky exterior and futuristic aesthetic.
Adidas re-released the shoe in 2006 and rebranded it as the “Crazy 1”, proving the shoe was still very popular with fans even with Bryant already departing for Nike a few years prior. For collectors looking to purchase the original shoe with Kobe Bryant branding, they will have to settle in online resale markets where the shoe is selling at around $3,100.
2. Nike LeBron 9 “Watch the Throne” - $9,000
Sneaker collaborations are common these days but collaborations with celebrities seem to generate more buzz. One of the earlier collabs that gained massive popularity was the Nike LeBron 9 “Watch the Throne”. The shoe features gold accents and floral laces which is inspired by the “Watch the Throne” album released by Jay-Z and Kanye West in 2011 also featuring gold floral aesthetics for the album art. Unlike the Nike Lebron 9 general release, this shoe never went into retail and was only worn by celebrities including James, Jay-Z, and Kanye.
3. Nike Air Jordan 4 Retro Eminem Encore - $18,000
Initially released via auction with funds going to the Marshall Mathers Foundation, the Nike Air Jordan 4 Retro Eminem Encore is another collaboration with Eminem with the Jordan Brand. Much like the Air Jordan 4 Eminem Carharrt which was released in 2015, the Air Jordan 4 Eminem Encore is a product of Eminem’s ongoing partnership with Nike and the Jordan Brand. These Nike shoes feature a navy blue colorway and Slim Shady branding. Collectors are expected to spend no less than $18,000 in resale markets as only 23 pairs were released through auction.
4. Nike Air Jordan 1 High Shinedown Attention Attention PE - $31,500
The Jordan Brand collaborated with popular American rock band Shinedown by releasing an Air Jordan 1 PE to commemorate the band’s newest album “Attention Attention." Considered as one of the most expensive Jordans, this shoe features a yellow and black colorway and features the album’s artwork in the midsole. Unfortunately, the shoe was only a "friends and family" exclusive and was never released in sneaker stores. Collectors can still grab them though at resale markets but obviously have to pay more than extra: $31,500.
5. Nike Kobe 1 Protro Undefeated - $50,000
Although the Kobe Protro’s are re-releases of previous Nike Kobe Bryant sneakers, they have always been one of Nike’s most expensive sneakers. The shoes are developed in collaboration with Los Angeles-based sneaker and apparel brand Undefeated which mostly takes charge in the design and marketing of the shoe. The Nike Kobe 1 which was released in 2003 became the first Kobe sneaker to be given the “protro” (professional retro) treatment which initially came in two colorways: Laker yellow and camouflage. Much like the other Kobe Protro’s that followed, the Kobe 1 Protro Undefeated was only sold in limited pairs resulting in the resale value that soared to more than $50,000.
6. Diamond Reebok Question - $65,000
Although the Reebok Question is widely available in retail stores at around $140, one iteration of the shoe went into retail in 2004 and sold for $65,000. The huge price tag is mostly due to the shoe’s diamond-studded laces which are designed by popular jeweler Eastbay. A total of 246 diamonds are encrusted in the shoelaces bearing a full carat weight of 25.50. The Question is the official shoe of NBA legend Allen Iverson who rose to fame as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers between 1996 and 2006, and later in 2009. Although more than a hundred colorways of Question have been released since 1996, none is more valuable than the 2004 diamond-studded sneaker.
7. Nike Air Jordan 12 (Flu Game) - $104,000
The Nike Air Jordan 12 worn by Jordan himself during Game 5 of the 1998 NBA Finals is not just the most expensive Jordan shoes but the most expensive sneakers today. Although the Air Jordan 12 was initially released to the public in the ’90s, Nike has opted to make the shoe a limited release these days causing the shoe’s value to skyrocket in the resale and auction market. One Air Jordan 12 that has surpassed every other sneaker in terms of value and cost is the “Flu Game” Air Jordan 12 which one buyer managed to secure in an online auction for a massive $104,000.
The 12th iteration of the Air Jordan is the last shoe worn by Jordan as a Bulls player and features premium leather with Chicago red and black colorway. The shoe, which Jordan wore during the entire 1997-98 season, will also be remembered as the one he wore during the “Flu Game” wherein he scored 38 points despite suffering the flu. He also wore the same shoe in the next game, the game where he made the game-winning jumper to lead the Chicago Bulls to its 6th championship in eight years.
The seven shoes listed above may be very costly for most people but there are still collectors willing to spend thousands of dollars just to add certain shoes to their collection.