Nike Air Mag
Despite the promises, the teasers, the shoe’s appearances on Jimmy Kimmel, Nike is yet to drop a retail version of Marty McFly’s self-lacing kicks. But while the masses wait, a handful of insiders can happily forget how to tie a bow.
In 2011, the Swoosh teamed up with the Michael J Fox Foundation, auctioning 1,510 pairs of the iconic sneakers to raise money for the actor’s Parkinson’s charity. The first buyer was Brit rapper Tinie Tempah, who scratched his nostalgia itch (and bolstered his already sizeable sneaker collection) to the tune of $37,500.
Despite promising to never wear them, he broke the sneaker freak’s first rule at a gig a couple months later. Gonna hurt your resale, fam.
OVO x Air Jordan X & XII
Cost: $20,000 & $100,000
When Kanye jumped ship to Adidas, the Jumpman brand tapped Drake to fill his Yeezys. He’s proved a less pushy collaborator, happy to restyle Nike’s existing silhouettes rather than try to make a pair of streetwear duck boots.
The first collaborative fruits were OVO (that’s Drizzy’s label, October’s Very Own)-branded spins on the Air Jordans 10 and 12. A year before dropping at an unannounced pop-up, Drake gave out a pair of each at a Toronto Raptors game themed in his honour.
Both recipients promptly fired up eBay, realising that the chance to stunt on the squad was less valuable than, well, a huge pile of cash.
Solid Gold OVO x Air Jordans
Those six-figure 12s aren’t even the most expensive Drake collabs, however. The rapper immortalised his Nike hook-up with a 24k gold pair earlier this year, created by American artist Matthew Senna.
They echo the original sneakers in every detail, apart from the fact that they cost as much as a mansion and each one weighs 50lbs. Which means Drake won’t be jumping over anyone.
Eminem x Carhartt Air Jordan 4
Marshall Mathers has a history with Air Jordan, producing a few extremely limited collaborations like the 2008 Air Jordan 2, which had Slim’s printed lyrics on the upper. But when the pair invited Carhartt in, to create a pair of Air Jordan 4s in the brand’s signature canvas, things got real.
Only 10 pairs were ever made and, instead of queues and raffles, were only available through eBay auction, with all proceeds going to Michigan State University’s music school (alma mater of Eminem’s daughter Hailie).
The collab netted over $227,000 in total, which proves that a sneaker obsession isn’t a good-for-nothing waste of your damn time. OK, mum?
UNDFTD x Air Jordan 4
Seems there’s something about the Air Jordan 4. In 2005, Nike handed the silhouette over to LA sneaker store Undefeated for a new paint job.
It designed a military-inspired olive green take, with a velcro Jumpman patch on the tongue that hides the words ‘Rare Jordan’. Collector catnip already, even before production being limited to just 72 pairs, handed out to friends and family.
Shoes that never ended up on sale tend to end up on resale for nosebleed prices. The Undefeated 4 is bloodier than most – a boxfresh pair went for $30k on eBay in 2015. Which will leave your bank balance very defeated indeed.
Diamond Encrusted Air Force 1
Some shoes are expensive because they’re rare. Others get a five-figure price tag because someone covered them in diamonds. Back in 2007, Outkast’s Big Boi took the non-queue option.
The Swoosh on his Air Force 1s was outlined with champagne diamonds by Ernel Dawkins, from Big Boi’s hometown sneaker mecca Laced Up Atlanta. Perhaps in recognition that ever stepping out in them would get him jumped, Big Boi auctioned his kicks off to raise money for his Big Kidz Foundation charity.
Nike Dunk High Wu Tang
Think Wu shoes and you picture a pair of ass-kicking Timberlands. But back in 1999, Nike gifted New York’s finest their own Dunk, embroidering the group’s logo on the heel. Legend has it only 36 pairs were ever made, a nod to the group’s era-defining debut, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).
Like much of the group’s history, what became of them is more myth than legend. Did a few pairs sell at New York store Training Camp? Did the FBI open a file on the Clan just to get their mitts on a pair? Wherever they went, they re-appear rarely – but if you’ve got tiny feet and $15k, then rare sneaker specialists Flight Club have got your back. Seems cash rules everything around me.
Worn Air Jordan 12 Flu Game
Of the many pairs of limited edition Jordans, these are perhaps the hardest to come by. In 1997, Michael turned up to Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz with what appeared to be flu. No matter – he struggled through for a game-winning 38 points, which set up his fifth championship with the Chicago Bulls.
After the game, he gave the shoes to a ballboy, Preston Truman, who’d kept Jumpman supplied with applesauce every time he played at the Jazz’s home court. Jordan signed the sneakers in the locker room and Truman kept them untouched for 16 years, eventually auctioning them off in 2013, with the legend’s game socks still inside. A gross bonus.
Nike Air Yeezy 1 Grammy (Prototype)
On 10 February 2008, Kanye stepped onto the Grammys stage with Daft Punk to perform his new single ‘Stronger’. But sneaker fans weren’t looking at the lights. They were drawn to the strange shapes on his feet. A never-before-seen, tongue-strapped Nike Air. It seemed the rumours were true.
The Air Yeezy that finally got released was markedly different from the Grammy original. Which means ‘Ye’s onstage shoes were one-of-a-kind kicks that, when they eventually leaked out, boasted a price tag the size of Kanye’s ego.