Ranking! What are 15 of the most expensive NBA shoes of all time?

Ranking! What are 15 of the most expensive NBA shoes of all time?

Lewis Injai
August 22, 2022 at 5:10 AM

Throughout the history of the NBA, shoes associated with star players have fetched ridiculous amounts of money when put on the market, but what is the most expensive basketball shoe in the world? This article ranks some we've come to see over time, so read along to find out which shoe is in the number one spot.

Most expensive NBA shoes of all time
Photo: canva.com (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Justification for the high prices the shoes fetch varies from buyers having a cult-like admiration for the endorsee to them simply viewing the shoes as pieces of history and art. In addition, the types of brands vary throughout the list, but as it will be quite evident, Nike's Air Jordan is the dominating brand and remains the most expensive NBA shoe brand.

Most expensive NBA shoes

We have compiled and ranked 15 of the most expensive NBA shoe based on credible online publications and Auction house records.

15. Air Jordan XIs "Bred"- $34,160

Most expensive NBA shoes of all time- Air Jordan XI
New releases of air Jordan XI are loved because of their durability. Photo: Thearon W. Henderson
Source: Getty Images

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Starting for us on the list is this pair of shoes that feature in the most expensive shoes worn in the NBA list. Their insanely high price tag is justified by the fact that Micheal Jordan himself wore them in the now-famous game three of the 1996 NBA finals against Seattle Supersonic. He scored 36 points in that game.

14. Air Jordan VI – $35,000

Jordan six are widely considered one of the greatest silhouettes. In addition, they are widely loved for their comfortability. They gained popularity in 1991, After Micheal Jordan, the player who helped design them in a partnership with Nike, won his first title.

Most expensive NBA shoes of all time-Jordan VI
Most people love Jordan VI for its comfortability. Photo: @nikeairjordanvi (modified by author)
Source: Instagram

They come in five colour combinations white/sport blue, off-white/ maroon, white/ carmine black, black infrared, and white infrared, and their price starts from $400. However, the ones that did fetch the $35,000 price tag were those Jordan himself wore in the 1991 Olympics.

13. Nike Hyperdunks - $37,740

most expensive NBA shoes of all time- Nike Hyperdunks
Nike Hyperdunks is one of Kobe Bryant's shoes. Photo: Harry Aaron
Source: Getty Images

Adding to our list of the most expensive shoes worn in the NBA are Nike Hyperdunks. When Nike wanted to revolutionise the basketball sneaker industry with their latest futuristic technology, they turned to the biggest name in basketball at the time, Kobe Bryant, to be the face of the brand. In 2008, he unveiled the shoes and wore a pair at the Olympics that year, making them one of the most sought-after shoes by fans. The pair he wore at the Olympics was auctioned in 2014 at $37,740.

12. Air Jordan 1s - $39,600

In the sneakers collection world, Jordan 1s are one of the most sought-after shoes. Over the years, there have been releases by the Jordan brand that pay homage to the original, but for absolute fans, nothing beats the one released almost 37 years ago, which justifies the amount they are willing to spend. In 2016, a pair Micheal had worn during his rookie year surfaced in the auction space and sold at $39,600.

11. Air Jordan III – $50,000

The Jordan III originally came out in 1988, and they were the first in the Air Jordan brand to be designed by the legendary designer Tinker Hatfield.

Most expensive NBA shoes of all time- Jordan III
Air Jordan III are a creation of the legendary designer Tinker Hatfield. Photo: Natalie Kolb
Source: Getty Images

They are beloved by many due to their sleek design and comfortability. However, original pairs worn by Micheal from 1988 have always come into auction spaces with price tags of $50,000 or more.

10. Nike Kobe 1 Protro UNDFTD - $50,000

Most expensive NBA shoes of all time- Nike Kobe 1 Protro UNDFTD
Nike Kobe 1 Protro UNDFTD worn by Marcus Morris of the Boston Celtics. Photo: Gregory Shamus
Source: Getty Images

Though Kobe released his first sneaker line through a partnership with Nike in 2005, the 2018 UNDFTD release paid homage to all other sneakers released before, which are considered one of the most beloved. However, due to their limited number of releases at the time, the originals from 2018 command high prices such as $50,000 in the resale market.

9. C's "Olympic" - $52,580

1992 was the first time the American Olympic team featured active NBA players. This came to be known as the famous Dream Team. The team went on to beat Croatia in the final to win the gold medal. In 2016, someone paid $52,580 for the shoes he wore during that period.

Most expensive NBA shoes of all time- C's Olympic
Micheal Jordan during the 1992 Olympic Final against Croatia. Photo: Chris Wilkins
Source: Getty Images

8. Diamond Reebok Question-$65,000

Developed in 1996 in collaboration with Allen Iverson, Reebok Question was a shoe brand synonymous with the 1990s, coinciding with Iverson's Popularity. However, in 2004, when sales started declining.

They introduced the now famous diamond shoe laces to renew public interest and ramp up sales, justifying the $65,000 price tag.

7. Nike Air Ships - $71,554

Nike airships were the pre-cursor to the Air Jordan. When Jordan officially signed with Nike in 1984, his first sneaker with the brand was the Air Ships. Unfortunately, when he debuted the shoes while wearing them at a pre-season game, he was cited and fined by the NBA for uniform infringement.

For these particular Airships with a price tag of $71,554, he gave them to a ball boy after a Lakers game, and the boy held on to the shoes for 30 years, and they were auctioned in 2015.

6. Air Jordan 12 Flu Game -$104,765

One moment has come to define the Air Jordan 12. During the 1997 play-offs between the Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz, Michael was visibly staggering, dehydrated and exhausted throughout the game. He even had to be carried out of the court by fellow teammate Scottie Pippen. The turnaround moment came for him in the last minute when he rallied, scoring a total of 38 points and overtaking Utah in the game's final half minute, despite his flu-like symptoms.

Most expensive NBA shoes of all time- Air Jordan 12 Flu game
Michael Jordan wore the Air Jordan Retro12 during the 1997 Play-offs against Utah Jazz. Photo: Jeff Haynes
Source: Getty Images

The black and red Air Jordan 12 he wore throughout the game will forever be known as the Flu game-12 and are treated as sports memorabilia. They were auctioned in 2013 at $104,765

5. Air Jordan 11 'Space Jam' Sample-$176,400

This particular Air Jordan 11 was custom-made as the only pair in the world for Micheal Jordan to wear while making the movie Space Jam. Last year, they were auctioned by the Auctioning firm Sotheby's at a closing bid of $176,400.

4. Michael Jordan Olympic Converses-$190,373

Before Micheal Jordan was known for his Air Jordan sneakers, during his college basketball days, he used to wear converse sneakers. The sneaker that fetched $190,373 at an auction was the one he wore during the team USA Olympic match against Spain in 1984, where he scored 20 points.

The game was played three weeks after he was drafted by the Chicago Bulls and was the last time Jordan ever wore a converse in a professional match.

3. Nike Air Jordan 1- $560,000

As pointed out earlier, Nike Air Jordan 1 from 1985 is one the most sought-after in the market. This makes them command high prices. One such pair that was game-worn and signed by Micheal Jordan surfaced in the auction market in 2020 and was sold for a record-breaking amount of $560,000, exceeding the auctioneer's estimate.

Most expensive NBA shoes of all time?
Michael Jordan's game-worn shoes on display at an auction by Christie's New York on 24 June 2020. Photo: Timothy A. Clary
Source: Getty Images

2. Nike Air Jordan 1 High Sneakers -$615,000

Described as the rarest of the rare, this pair came into the auction market in 2020 and sold for a record-shattering $615,000. Michael wore the shoes in 1985 during an exhibition match between USA and Italy. For over 35 years, the shoes had been under the custody of Gianni Bertolitti, the Italian basketball team captain, who had requested Michael for the shoes during the exhibition match.

1. Michael Jordan's Nike Air Ships -$1.47 million

Last November, the Auction firm Sotheby sold the first-ever known game-worn, autographed pair of Jordan's Nike from 1984 at a record price of $1.47 million. This became the most expensive basketball shoe auction and made the shoes the most expensive shoes worn in an NBA game. Michael wore and signed the shoes during his fifth game in his rookie season with the bulls.

Frequently asked questions

Below are some of the frequently most asked questions in relation to the most expensive NBA shoes

What are the NBA 2k22 most expensive shoes?

On 2K Games' video game 2K22, a pair of Kyrie 5 All-Star is the most expensive pair one can buy in-game.

What is Nike's most sold shoe?

Nike Airforce 1 low, which was released in 1982, is the brand's best-selling shoe.

Sports memorabilia is an industry worth billions of dollars and keeps growing. But, as the industry keeps growing, the most expensive NBA shoes will shockingly cost millions of dollars going forward.

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Unlike blocks, a steal is a turnover by the opposing team and almost always ends in your team-keeping possession. From former greats like Hakeem Olajuwon to contemporary luminaries like Chris Paul, the NBA has seen some superb defenders enter the court. But who has the best track record of all? Click on the link above to find out.

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Lewis Injai