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Carlyle Group Hopes Filthy Footwear Could Fetch a Pretty Penny

Grunge is back, and it carries a hefty price tag.

Luxury brand Golden Goose, purveyor of the world’s most expensive dirty sneaker, is reportedly up for sale.

Washington, D.C.-based Carlyle Group LP, which owns Golden Goose, is considering selling the Italian company—and it may fetch more than $1.1 billion. Bloomberg reported last week that the private equity firm is in talks with Bank of America Corp. on a potential deal, according to sources close to the matter.

Golden Goose is known for its iconic leather cup-sole sneakers, which are emblazoned with the brand’s star logo. Crafted to look broken-in, the distressed sneakers are complete with scrapes and smudges. Some high- and low-top styles are encrusted in glitter and crystals—a stark juxtaposition against the shoes’ intentionally trashed leather uppers.

Despite their grimy appearance, Golden Goose’s line of faux-filthy sneakers range from $425-1,700. Celebrities like Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez have been snapped sporting the shoes on casual jaunts around New York City.

The brand’s unlikely rise coincides with the meteoric ascent of streetwear, which has dominated both runways and mass-market retail over recent seasons. Gen Z shoppers in particular have bolstered the trend, voting with their growing wallet share for products that are cool and comfortable—and maybe a little bit exclusive.

Hypebeast’s Streetwear Impact Report revealed that more than half of consumers gravitate to the trend for comfort and ease of wear, though others enjoy the recognition that comes with copping limited-edition pieces. Golden Goose’s instantly recognizable styles and near-prohibitive price points play into that appeal.

The brand, which was founded in 2000 by Venetian designers Francesca Rinaldo and Alessandro Gallo, generates pre-interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization earnings of $88 million, Bloomberg reported. Carlyle Group LP purchased the company in 2017 from Ergon Capital Partners SA for $440 million, sources told the publication at the time.