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Sotheby’s Auction of Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton x Nike Sneakers Smashes Expectations

The sneakers posed on top of the orange case they come with.
The Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1 by Virgil Abloh. (Sotheby's)

The online sale of 200 pairs of sneakers brought in a total of $25.3 million, Sotheby’s said, with most pairs selling for more than $100,000. One pair in size five — the first lot for sale and among the few sizes where only a single pair was available — reached $352,800. The estimate Sotheby’s had listed for each pair in the auction was $5,000 to $15,000.

Abloh designed the shoes as part of his Spring/Summer 2022 collection for Louis Vuitton, which included numerous iterations of Nike’s classic Air Force 1s featuring Louis Vuitton detailing, such as its famed monogram and Damier patterns, as well as Abloh’s oft-used quotation marks. The auction featured one of those styles, sold directly by Louis Vuitton, and marked their first release. Each pair also comes with a bright orange Louis Vuitton pilot case that appeared in Abloh’s spring collection but is being sold exclusively in the auction, Sotheby’s said.

Abloh had been involved in organising the auction before his death of a rare form of cancer in November. Proceeds will benefit the Virgil Abloh™ “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund, which fosters Black talent in the fashion industry.

The sale adds to a hot market for luxury auctions. Houses such as Christie’s have seen their sales growing strongly as they open up to a younger, digitally savvy clientele.

Sotheby’s said its sale set a new record for sneaker auctions and the size five sale was a new record for any Nike Air Force 1.

Learn more:

What’s Driving the Luxury Auction Boom?

Hermès handbags and Patek Philippe watches are becoming a key category for auction houses like Christie’s despite rising competition from online resale start-ups.

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