Sneaker SZN: Virgil Abloh’s Nike & Louis Vuitton Collab Brings In $25 Million

CBx Vibe:Air Force Ones” Nelly

By Ariel Solomon

  • Sotheby’s Virgil Abloh designed sneaker auction rakes in a record-breaking $25M
  • The global sneaker market is expected to reach $120B by 2026

History was made on a number of fronts when the commemoration of Nike’s (NKE +4.85%) beloved Air Force 1 Sotheby’s 40th Anniversary auction took place. It featured 200 pairs of special edition Louis Vuitton (LVMUY +7.55%) and Nike Air Force 1 sneakers designed by the legendary Virgil Abloh, who was the European fashion house’s first Black menswear director. The sneaker collection sold for a record-breaking $25 Million, or an impressive $125,000 per pair on average, multiples more than initially expected.

Why This Matters: With global participation including bidders from over 50 countries, this Abloh inspired auction raked in the highest public total for sneakers and fashion in Sotheby’s history. The sheer value obtained for the sale of these iconic sneakers points to the increasing maturity and commodification of sneakers as an asset to be collected. They are also being glamorized at the level of your grandfather’s rare and classic watch, while reiterating Abloh’s undeniable impact on streetwear culture.

In 2020, Statista valued the global sneaker market at $79 billion and the analytics company expects it to reach $120 billion by 2026. This market is the perfect intersection of business and culture, as it blurs the lines between fashion, assets, and necessity. For most, shoes are worn out of necessity; for many, sneakers and streetwear have increased accessibility to high fashion, and traded as assets worldwide.

Situational Awareness: Atop the aforementioned critical records, this auction also represented Sotheby’s most valuable charity auctions. Proceeds will go to Abloh’s Post Modern scholarship fund. While bidding is closed for this auction, one can find many pairs back on the secondary sneaker market for sale, projected to be worth up to $30 Billion by 2030.

CBx Vibe:Air Force Ones” Nelly


Ariel Solomon

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