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15 Most Expensive Shoes in the World

Most Expensive Shoes in the World

Shoes are often seen as a practical item used to protect our feet. But for shoe collectors, affluent fashionistas, celebrities and athletes, expensive shoes are serious business. Some ultra-rare sneakers or custom high-fashion heels can fetch eye-watering prices at auctions or resell for astronomical amounts. But what are some of the most valuable shoes in the world?

From Michael Jordan’s game-worn sneakers to handmade luxury heels encrusted with diamonds, we count down 15 of the most expensive shoes ever sold. What makes this footwear so special to command such incredible price tags? Read on to find out.

Content Highlight

  • Iconic basketball sneakers like Michael Jordan’s “Nike Air Ships” hold the current record for the most expensive shoe sale at $1.47 million.
  • Vintage shoes with sports heritage intact, like Nike’s original ‘Moon Shoes’, trade for astronomical prices at auction.
  • Luxury brands use premium materials like diamonds or rare gemstones to craft shoes worth insane sums.
  • Anything celebrity-worn, like Marilyn Monroe’s custom heels, fetches sky-high resell values from devoted fans.
  • Scarcity and cultural importance also drive up prices, like for Judy Garland’s original Wizard of Oz ruby slippers.
  • Stuart Weitzman’s handcrafted heels for Old Hollywood stars often break $200k+ price records during auctions.

The Most Expensive Shoes in the World

Here is the list of the 15 most expensive shoes in the world as of 2023, ordered by their record sale prices:

Nike Air Jordan 1s “Nike Air Ships”: $1.47 million

In 2022, the basketball shoes worn by Michael Jordan during his early NBA career fetched an astronomical price at auction. The red and white Nike Air Ships that Jordan wore five times during his rookie 1984–1985 season sold for a record-breaking $1.47 million. Auction house Sotheby’s said it marks the highest price on record for a pair of sneakers.

So why did these Air Jordans break sales records? Not only were they match-worn by the legendary MJ himself, but they represent a pivotal transition point in Nike history. It was the first ever sneaker deal Nike signed with Jordan before his Air Jordan line launched. Only a handful of these “Nike Air Ships” were made as Nike-tested prototypes. Getting your hands on such an ultra-rare and significant sneaker is why collectors paid over a million dollars. In addition, you can also read an article on- What are Red Bottom Shoes? Everything You Need to Know about it

1963 Pair of Ruby Red Slippers, $660,000

Recognize these sparkling red heels? They are one of the few surviving pairs of original ruby slippers from the iconic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. At a 2018 auction, an anonymous buyer snapped them up for $660,000. Out of the multiple pairs made for Judy Garland to wear during filming, only a handful remain.

These 60-year-old movie memorabilia shoes appeal to both Hollywood collectors and Wizard of Oz superfans. The sequined design is instantly recognizable. And since the whereabouts of most original ruby slippers are unknown, coming across an authenticated pair is a rare chance that collectors are willing to shell out a lot of money for.

Stuart Weitzman Marilyn Monroe Shoes: $546,000

In 2016, auction house Julien’s sold a pair of strappy sandals once belonging to Marilyn Monroe for an astonishing $546,000. The glittering stilettos were custom-made for the Hollywood icon by luxury designer Stuart Weitzman in 1961. The sandals feature a rhinestone-encrusted ankle strap and vine motif on a leather insole. Monroe wore these heels to a Hollywood press event just months before her tragic death.

So for half a million dollars, the buyer essentially purchased them for Monroe memorabilia provenance. Anything connected to the legendary actress often resells for phenomenal prices. As Weitzman himself said, “It’s clearly representative of Marilyn Monroe and her fantastic charisma.” These ultra-glamorous heels are a symbol of her glitzy heyday.

Harry Winston Ruby Slippers, $500,000

Leave it to an iconic luxury jewelry brand like Harry Winston to create what’s dubbed the “most expensive shoes in the world.” To celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz in 1989, Harry Winston crafted a pair of size 5 ruby slippers encrusted with over 4,600 precious rubies and 50 carats of diamonds.

Valued at $3 million, they were temporarily displayed at fine jewelry stores before Arab sheik Joseph Allani of Kuwait bought them in 2000 for $2 million. When Allani fell behind on payments, Harry Winston repossessed the heels and put them up for auction in 2018. There, they sold for half a million dollars. Encrusted in glittering gems, these high-fashion ruby slippers are Cinderella’s dream. Additionally, you can also read about- Types of Snowshoes: How to Find the Right Size?

Moon Star Shoes, $431,000

Luxury designer Antonio Vietri has not one but two entries on this list of pricey shoes. His brand is renowned for astronomical prices, like his diamond stiletto Moon Boots, which set records at $3.1 million. Vietri’s 24-carat gold pumps embedded with diamonds and Mediterranean sea coral are artwork for the feet.

In 2017, he designed the equally opulent “Moon Star Shoes,” gold wedge heels encrusted with diamonds, blue sapphires, rubies and emeralds. At Dubai’s Level Shoes District, they were purchased in 2019 for $431,000 by an unnamed buyer. Vietri’s celestial-themed shoes sparkle like galactic gems.

Antonio Vietri’s Moon Boots, $391,000

Here are the diamond-encrusted moon boots that designer Antonio Vietri is best known for. His signature shoe, covered in 1,800 diamonds with heels containing Mediterranean coral, was first released in 2013 with an insane $19 million price tag. By 2015, the asking price had dropped to $3 million. They captured attention when they were purchased by Level Shoes Dubai in 2019 for “just” $391,000.

Building that much sparkle onto a wearable pair of high heels involves astronomical expense. From the diamond sourcing to the gold materials and craftsmanship required, they ultimately created what’s been called the world’s most expensive shoes. Even at a fraction of the original $19 million, the Moon Boots’ gleaming diamonds justify the sky-high sale.

Nike Air Force 1 Eminem Carhartt: $352,800

Here is one ultra-rare pair of sneakers that tie together pop culture icons: rap legend Eminem and popular streetwear brand Carhartt. This customized Air Force 1 was a gift from Eminem to celebrate Carhartt’s 100th anniversary in 2019. It sports the Carhartt logo, Em’s backward ‘E’ emblem, and lyrics from his song “Walk on Water” etched onto the heels.

At a 2022 auction, one serious collector added these one-of-a-kind sneakers to their stash for over $352,000. With endorsements from two highly popular brands beloved in streetwear and hip-hop culture, the lucky owner can now boast some precious pop memorabilia on their feet.

Original Nike Waffle Racing Flat “Moon Shoe”: $437,500

Nike’s original 1972 Waffle Racing Flat, named the “Moon Shoe,” retains immense value as the very first Nike sneakers ever made. This prototype pair was designed by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman to give runners better traction by pouring rubber into a waffle iron. Just 12 were handmade.

When some mint-condition 1972 Moon Shoes popped up at Sotheby’s 2019 collector’s auction, they fetched a giant $437,500. As the genesis point of Nike sneakers that led to a footwear revolution, owning these iconic Moon Shoes marks a historic piece of sports memorabilia. If you want you can also read- Why Are Safety Shoes Necessary in the Workplace?

Diesel x Renzo Rosso D-Flawless – $276,000

In 2022, Italian denim fashion brand Diesel made a splash by unveiling their made-to-order D-Flawless shoes. Encrusted in over 21,000 sustainably grown diamonds, only five pairs exist worldwide. One D-Flawless was purchased during Milan Fashion Week by Renzo Rosso, Diesel’s founder, for $276,000 as an art investment. With crystallized uppers forming a gradient “D” logo, Diesel intended the D-Flawless to blend streetwear and luxury. And at nearly $300,000, they gained attention as seriously expensive shoes.

Stuart Weitzman Rita Hayworth Heels, $250,000

Remember the Stuart Weitzman heels worn by Marilyn Monroe that sold for over half a million? Well, in 2010, a second pair of Weitzman’s equally dazzling stilettos were created to honor another Hollywood starlet, Rita Hayworth. Labeled the “Ultimate Cinderella Slippers,” only one pair was ever made.

The heels are modeled after Hayworth’s costumes in the 1968 film The Love Goddess. All handcrafted, the delicate satin shoes are encrusted in over 1,000 precious gems, including diamonds, rubies and sapphires. In 2010, months before his death, Weitzman auctioned off the heels himself for $250,000 in cash through Christies. These glittering pumps remain an iconic symbol of Hayworth’s glamorous legacy.

Debbie Wingham High Heels, $230,000

UK shoe designer Debbie Wingham has created multiple record-breaking heels. She uses premium materials most have never walked on, including leather from ancient mammoths frozen underground for thousands of years. Her most expensive pair, sold for $230,000 in 2018, uses gold fiber optics and computer hardware chips.

With 24-carat gold soles and diamond-encrusted keyboard motifs, the tech-inspired heels took over a decade of research and development before being sold to an unknown crypto investor. For that massive price tag, they obtained utterly unique high-fashion footwear, pushing design boundaries.

Stuart Weitzman Platinum Guild Stilettos, $221,000

It’s no surprise that Stuart Weitzman shoes command some of the highest resale prices around. His custom heels have graced celebrities on countless red carpets. In 2002, Weitzman created a pair of one-of-a-kind platinum stilettos encrusted in 464 diamonds. Labeled the “Marilyn Monroe shoe for the 21st century,” the rare design initially belonged to Rita Hayworth’s daughter, Princess Yasmin.

However, this exact pair later went up for auction at Christie’s in 2017, fetching $221,000. The towering heels with crisscrossing straps entirely covered in over 400 diamonds basically blind anyone in sight with pure platinum and crystal sparkle.

Original 1973 Nike Waffle Racing Flat “Moon Shoe”: $162,500

We’ve already covered the astronomical sale price of the very first 1972 Nike Waffle Racing Flat, nicknamed the “Moon Shoe” prototype. But it’s proof of how coveted Nike’s retro sneakers are that multiple versions have fetched insane auction prices. Take this near-mint pair of original 1973 Moon Shoes, designed again by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman.

Discovered in a former Nike employee’s possessions, Sotheby’s auctioned them off in 2019 for $162,500. As only 12 pairs existed from Blue Ribbon Sports before it became Nike, collectors crave these iconic sports artifacts, representing an origin story. The iconic waffle sole design makes the vintage Moon Shoes one of sneaker culture’s holy grails.

Stuart Weitzman Tanzanite Heels: $2 Million (Estimated)

In 2002, high fashion designer Stuart Weitzman created a gorgeous pair of tanzanite gem heels aptly named “The Tanzanite Heel.” Set in platinum, the rare shoes contain 185 carats of magnificent tanzanite gemstones accented with oval tanzanite pieces and neat rows of diamonds. They are valued at an estimated $2 million.

According to Smithsonian Mag, only two pairs exist—one owned by Weitzman himself as part of his shoe collection housed in a dedicated museum. Tanzanite itself is an extremely rare, vivid blue-violet gemstone said to be 1000 times rarer than diamond. So combining large, high-clarity Tanzanite gems into wearable heels makes them astronomically valuable.

Nike Air Jordan Silver Shoe, $100,000

Last on our list of expensive footwear is this customized Nike Air Jordan encrusted in silver. American artist Mschf got their hands on some ordinary Nike Air Jordan 1 High sneakers. They then gave it a mirrored chrome makeover using real sterling silver plating. Dubbed the ‘Silver Air Jordan’, only 10 pairs were made.

One pair was resold in 2021 through Sotheby’s for an impressive $100,000. The buyer was keen to snap up the creatively modified sneakers, both for sporting heritage and the contemporary art angle. While less rare than vintage Jordans actually game-worn by MJ himself, the dazzling silver design makes them much more unique. 

You May Find Interest: The Best Elevator Shoes for Men

Takeaway

From bedazzled high heels to iconic basketball sneakers, we’ve showcased some of the most valuable shoes ever sold. Ranging from historic sports memorabilia to contemporary artworks for the feet, certain shoes can fetch insane prices at auction.

Scarcity, celebrity connections, quality materials and cultural importance ultimately determine these shoes’ astronomical value. Vintage Nike sneakers with roots tied to sports legacy embody high desirability for collectors. Equally, luxury designers using extremely rare gems and precious metals create true fashion statements. And anything personally worn or customized relating to cultural icons like Michael Jordan, Marilyn Monroe or Hollywood films typically resells for sky-high prices among devoted fans.

Owning such coveted footwear represents prestige and historical significance to buyers. Despite often costing well into six figures or millions, these shoes deliver immense clout for collectors. Even wearing some, like the ruby slippers or moon shoes, proves an unforgettable privilege.

The 15 most expensive shoes in the world are far from everyday footwear. They give us intriguing insight into objects that carry enormous financial, cultural and historical weight.

Frequently Asked Questions About Expensive Shoes

Who bought the most expensive shoe ever?

A: Currently the most expensive shoe, based on confirmed sale price, are Michael Jordan’s autographed Nike Air Ships, purchased for $1.47 million in 2022. The ultra-rare sneakers Jordan wore during his early NBA career were sold at auction to an unnamed buyer.

Why are some shoes so expensive?

A: Expensive shoes’ high prices relate to scarcity, celebrity history, sports/culture memorabilia value, luxury materials or extraordinary craftsmanship. Some, like vintage Nike Moon Shoes, are expensive due to their extreme rarity. Others use precious gems and metals, driving up material costs. Celebrity shoes also trade for incredible prices among devoted collectors and fans.

Do people actually wear $100,000 shoes?

A: In most cases, $100,000+ shoes are treated as collectible investments or artwork instead of being worn. However, some owners may wear them briefly just for the epic flex! For shoes with extremely valuable sports history, like Michael Jordan’s sneakers, collectors keep them in pristine display condition. Everyday wear could severely damage something so iconic.

Where are the most expensive shoes kept?

As valuable showpieces, the most expensive shoes are safely stored in controlled environments by their wealthy owners, auction houses or brands like Nike and Adidas. Some iconic shoes remain on display at locations like Nike’s corporate headquarters or sports museums for public viewing. There are also dedicated shoe museums showcasing rare, expensive shoes as historical footwear artifacts.

Can you buy shares of expensive shoes?

A: Yes! Fractional share platforms like Rally Rd. and Otis let members invest in equity shares for high-value collectibles. So you can buy ownership stock in iconic shoes like Michael Jordan sneakers. It lets regular investors get exposure rather than ultra-high-net-worth individuals buying these shoes outright.


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