When it comes to collecting sneakers, finding the right fit is not enough.
Over 1,500 sneakerheads made their way to a church basement in lower Manhattan recently, hoping to either sell, trade or buy pricy collectible sneakers at Sneaker Con, a quarterly sneaker convention. You won’t find any old, battered tennis shoes here—the sneakers at this convention were some of the most desirable, hard to find models on the market, costing as high as $3,000. Most were made by just two brands—either Nike or Adidas.
So what makes a sneaker valuable? A rare pair released in a limited quantity boosts value. Size matters , too: those sized Men's 10 and up sell better, because they’ll fit more fans. Bright sneakers (especially red) rule with collectors. Also, sneakers attached to famous names (think Michael Jordan or Lebron James) are always in demand.
Most of the sneaker started out selling at a retail price of $100 to $200, and have increased in value since. Click ahead to check out some investment-worthy kicks.
By Joseph Pisani
Posted Nov. 8, 2010
Value: over $1,200
Gold prices are way up, but you’ll need to look down to see the pricy metal on these sneakers. The all-white shoe—made with real anaconda leather in some spots—has an 18-karat gold plate holding the shoelaces in place. Even more lavish: each end of the laces is also covered in gold.
Adidas sneakers designed by Jeremy Scott are highly sought after by shoe fans. The eccentric fashion designer, who has worked with the company since 2009, created this yellow and black pair that has three tongues over the laces. This design can run up to $450, says collector Carpice Morgan, but she was selling them for less because they were in a less desirable small Men’s size.
These tiny kicks bring a whole new meaning to looking fly. Designed by Jeremy Scott for Adidas, these infant-sized sneakers have gold lined wings on one side of each shoe. A similar winged sneaker is also available in adult sizes, said an employee from collectible sneaker store City Sole.
This high top is nicknamed “the Gucci” because its red, black and green coloring resembles that of the iconic luxury brand, said collector Ray Denson. The RESN was sold out immediately when it was first released last year at a $120 price point, Denson said.
From golf to baseball, Michael Jordan has had his hand in many sports. In 2004, the NBA legend added a motorcycle racing team to his empire. These sneakers were made for that team and are some of the hardest to find because of their extremely limited release. “They’re just one of 13,” said collector David Bermudez as he held them up.
Designed by rap star Kanye West for Nike, these all black sneakers with a neon pink interior usually run about $1,100 for a brand new pair, said collector Will Debord of Osneaker.com. Debord was offering them at a $450 discount since they had been worn.
LeBron James’ move from Cleveland became a nationwide guessing game, with everyone speculating on where he would go next. James ultimately decided on going to the Miami Heat, and these sneakers—which feature the Cleveland Cavaliers colors—were a casualty. Nike decided to only release them in limited amounts, said John Kim of sneakernews.com, making them an instant collectible.
The world’s most famous mouse was added to this Adidas high top sneaker by fashion designer Jeremy Scott. The red and yellow colors on the shoe are inspired by the Disney character’s clothing.
Modeled after the red and silver costumes worn by Robin Williams in the 1970s television show "Mork & Mindy," this sneaker is still a red-hot collectors item four years after its release. Sneaker collector Edwin Rodriguez said his pair is even more enviable because it’s in a size 10.5. "You can’t find that size anywhere," said Rodriguez.
These hard-to-miss turquoise LeBron James All-Star sneakers were released on a limited run, making them more in demand by fans, said sneaker collector and blogger Sherike Morris.
When asked why these sneakers were worth close to $600, collector Shu Cheng from image-ny.com gave two reasons: they're red and rare. “It’s over four years old,” said Cheng. And the red matches with most colors, making them more appealing to collectors. “Red brings that color out,” he added.
They won’t be officially released until December, but one vendor at Sneaker Con had a pair of these new Nike Air Jordans on hand. “People will go crazy for these when they come out,” said Sneaker Con co-founder Alan Vinogradov.