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Record-Shattering Nike Air Yeezy Sneaker Going Public in $1.8M IPO

The first four months of 2021 have brought a steady stream of IPOs. Luxury e-tailer Mytheresa.com went public in January, followed by boot icon Dr. Martens in February, resale platform ThredUp in March and self-driving truck startup TuSimple in April. Allbirds and On are said to be eyeing the market, too.

A pair of $1.8 million Nike Air Yeezys will join that list next month.

A startup headed by former NFL safety Gerome Sapp plans to begin selling shares in the historic prototype sneakers on June 16. Worn by Kanye West to the 50th Annual Grammy Awards in 2008, the pair represented the public’s first look at Nike’s top-secret collaboration with the then-rising rapper.

According an interview Sapp gave with Complex, those interested in buying a piece of the famous kicks will be able to do so by visiting the Rares website or app, where thousands of shares, priced “anywhere from $15 to $25,” will be available to purchase. Once all shares have been purchased, it will go into secondary trading, where anyone can buy or sell shares “just like any other traditional security,” Sapp said.

Rares had bought the shoes last month from Sotheby’s for $1.8 million, crushing the previous record for highest publicly recorded price for a pair of sneakers. When the luxury goods brokerage unveiled plans to sell the shoes, it had estimated their value at more than $1 million. Sapp told Complex that the IPO would match what Rares paid for the shoe, meaning secondary trading will only begin once $1.8 million in shares have been purchased.

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But, before any of that happens, Rares will test the sneaker investment waters with two pairs of Air Force 1s. Created for the first ever International Basketball Federation World Basketball Festival in 2010, the 2020 Air Force 1 HOV “All Black Everything” collection consisted of 10 shoes, two of each design for the five countries that took part in the event. Rares’ two pairs—one created for Brazil and the other for China—will go public on May 13.

Rares’ website also lists a “brand new, never worn” 1985 Air Jordan OG 1 in a black and red colorway—not to be confused with the signed 1985 Air Jordan 1 sneakers created for Michael Jordan himself that went for $560,000 last year—as “going public soon.” Another upcoming listing encompasses four pairs of shoes—two 1985 Air Jordan OG 1s and two 2004 Kobe Bryant Air Force 1s.

In an Instagram video discussing Rares and its purchase of the Yeezy prototype, Sapp, a self-professed sneakerhead, framed his company as a way of letting sneaker lovers “invest in the culture.”

“The Rares team and I are a bunch of big kids that grew up in the culture, shaped by the culture and now have the ability to creatively and innovatively allow millions of individuals the ability to now invest in the culture,” Sapp said. “By allowing individuals unprecedented access to these investment-grade sneakers through fractured ownership, Rares is providing the culture with a new type of access and opportunity.”

Speaking with The Shade Room, Sapp said Rares plans to eventually take the Yeezy prototype sneakers across the country and display them “so that the culture can see and loosely interact with this historic item and feel confident in knowing their collective influence.”

Rares said it has already fielded offers from parties interested in purchasing the pricey prototype. “So at a certain point, we will liquidate the asset and hopefully at that point, people will make more than what they bought into it,” Sapp said.