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The world's most valuable sneakers originally retailed for $60—now they're selling for $90,000 online

CNBC logo CNBC 6/18/2022 Tom Huddleston Jr.
Nike's Air Jordan Bred sneakers are among the most coveted by sneakerheads. © Provided by CNBC Nike's Air Jordan Bred sneakers are among the most coveted by sneakerheads.

The most devoted "sneakerheads" will wait in long lines and shell out huge sums to land their most coveted footwear.

So it's no surprise that a ranking of the most valuable sneaker investments from discount code website DealA found some pairs of iconic Nike kicks on

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fetching as much as a nearly 150,000% premium over their original retail prices.

At the top of the list – organized by how much more expensive the shoes are now than their original retail price – is the Nike Dunk SB Low Paris, a limited-edition version of a Nike basketball sneaker first unveiled in 2003. Roughly 200 pairs were ever produced, and each pair features cutouts from art by late French expressionist painter Bernard Buffet.

No two pairs of the sneakers are the same, and they sold out immediately upon their release nearly two decades ago. Last year, a pair sold for more than $130,000 in the U.K., according to HypeBeast.

The sneakers originally retailed for $60. The lowest asking price DealA found offered by resellers on StockX was $89,691. That's a return on investment of 149,385%, for anyone lucky enough to snag one at retail price.

Here are the five sneakers with the highest return on investment on StockX, according to DealA:

  1. Nike Dunk SB Low Paris: 149,385% premium over original retail price
  2. 1985 Jordan 1 OG Bred: 145,554% premium
  3. Nike SB Dunk Low London: 41,400% premium
  4. Nike SB Dunk Low Tokyo: 38,925% premium
  5. 1985 Jordan 1 OG Chicago: 22,224% premium

Coming in second is the 1985 Jordan 1 OG Bred sneakers, which the website describes as "possibly the holy-grail to sneakerheads." The black-and-red shoes were part of the first product line from Michael Jordan's multi-decade partnership with Nike.

On StockX, DealA found that the lowest asking price for the classic sneakers – which originally retailed for $65 – was $94,675, representing a premium of 145,554% over the original price. Some pairs of the original Jordans are even more valuable: In 2020, a game-worn pair of the sneakers, autographed by Jordan himself, sold for $560,000 at auction.

The rankings are dominated by Nike sneakers, which reflects the Beaverton, Oregon-based company's close connection to basketball. Nike and its Air Jordan label helped fuel the rise of sneakerhead culture to such a degree that DealA's rankings don't feature another brand until the 34th spot on the list.

That spot belongs to the ASICS Gel-Lyte III Ronnie Fieg Salmon Toe sneakers. Launched in 2011, the ASICS sneakers were the first shoes released in partnership with popular streetwear brand KITH.

As with any highly coveted and appreciable asset, the trick is to get in on the ground floor. If you landed a pair of original Nike Jordans for $65 in 1985 and kept them in excellent condition for a few decades, you're in great shape today.

That takes a level of luck and foresight that not every devout collector can possess.

Certain pairs of particularly rare sneakers have also been known to fetch truly eye-popping amounts of money. For instance, in 2021, Sotheby's sold a pair of Nike Air Ships, the first pair of sneakers Michael Jordan wore in the NBA during his 1985 rookie season, for $1.47 million. That same year, Sotheby's sold a prototype pair of Nike Air Yeezys – worn by rapper Kanye West to the 2008 Grammy Awards – for $1.8 million.

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