WORDS BY JOSEPH FURNESS
In 1750, Genevan philosopher, composer and writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau coined the idea that money can’t buy happiness. Needless to say, sneakers had yet to be invented.
Sneakers are a bona fide source of joy for many; they are essentially confidence, boxed.
And the buzz of collecting sought-after kicks (somehow) makes the hefty price tags of the resale market seem worth it. To that point, we wondered, what are the rarest sneakers in the world?
Naturally, we enlisted the help of our friends over at Stadium Goods to help answer this question. Here, the sneakerhead staff highlight the most coveted grails currently stocked by FARFETCH – from the Dior x Air Jordan 1 High ‘OG Grey’ to the Air Yeezy 2 ‘Red October’.
Stadium Goods’ Edit Of The Rarest Sneakers
Dior x Air Jordan 1 High ‘OG Grey’
'Easily one of the most epic sneaker collaborations of all time, the Dior x Air Jordan 1 is considered (by many) to be the ultimate grail of the 2020s. Everybody wants a pair, but very few have got one.' Zack Schlemmer, Content Manager at Stadium Goods
Menswear designer at Dior and all-round tastemaker, Kim Jones re-worked the classic Jordan 1 High silhouette with a touch of Parisian craftsmanship for the Dior pre-FW20 show. The kick, which combines white and pale grey premium leather with the brand’s iconic monogram, is the ultimate high fashion streetwear flex. It’s sure to top the rare sneakers list for years to come.
Union x Air Jordan 4 ‘Guava Ice’
'In 2020, Los Angeles-based boutique Union presented a bold remodel for the Jordan 4, excluding the signature tall tongue and mesh toe box. The gutsy redesign was controversial, but managed to win over most collectors.' Zack Schlemmer, Content Manager at Stadium Goods
After the success of their Jordan 1 collab, the Jordan brand and LA-based store Union reunited to release a four-pack collection of newfangled kicks that flipped the script on classic Air Jordan designs. The standout shoe from this collection was the Union x Air Jordan 4 ‘Guava Ice’: a distinctive blue, pink and yellow crep that features a folded tongue, buttery suede upper and translucent wings.
Mars Yard 2.0
'Nike partnered with artist Tom Sachs to release Mars Yard 2.0. An anti-consumerism quote is printed on the shoebox: ‘These shoes are only valid if worn, and worn to death by you. Posers need not apply.’ As you can tell, the artist is encouraging people to wear sneakers and leave marks.' Doris Liu, Senior E-commerce Manager at Stadium Goods
2017's Mars Yard 2.0 is the ‘if you know, you know’ sneaker of our time. Designed by contemporary artist Tom Sachs, the rare Nike sneaker takes inspiration from NASA, astronauts and rocket science – hence the name and high-performance aesthetic. How does it improve on the OG 2012 release? Well, the sole is designed to be more suitable for urban environments; the polyester warp-knit tricot mesh on the upper is more breathable than Vectran; plus, it comes with interchangeable mesh and cork insoles (the cork being preferable for the sockless sneaker wearers among us). So, to answer the question: it’s a whole new shoe.
Off-White x Nike Air Jordan 1 High Retro OG ‘Chicago’
'A deconstructed spin on a coveted classic silhouette, the Off-White x Nike Air Jordan 1 High took the silhouette back to the drawing board and left it there, creating a wearable blueprint.'Ashley LaLicata, Vice President of ERP & Logistics at Stadium Goods
The aforementioned Off-White x Nike Air Jordan High Retro OG ‘Chicago’ is considered an Air Jordan A-lister – a real rare Nike shoe. Designed by Virgil Abloh as part of his original ‘The Ten’ pack, the high-top kick helped launch the Off-White x Nike collaboration back in 2017 with its unmistakable deconstructed design. It’s an aesthetic designers are still attempting to emulate to this day.
Air Force 1 High Supreme ‘World Famous’
'Supreme and Nike have collaborated on several sneakers, but few have been better than the Air Force 1 High that dropped in 2014; they are a perfect blend of clean and bold style.' Zack Schlemmer, Content Manager at Stadium Goods
Supreme – the brand indivisible from hypebeast subculture – is, unsurprisingly, responsible for some of the most wanted kicks on the resale market. One of the rarest sneakers from the Nike x Supreme collection is the Air Force 1 High Supreme ‘World Famous’. Saturated in the skatewear brand’s signature red hue, the laced and strapped high top is considered a must-have by streetwear collectors, primarily because of the conspicuous Supreme branding at its heel.
Cactus Plant Flea Market x Nike Dunk Low ‘Pure Platinum’
'Cactus Plant Flea Market managed to outdo all other 2020 Nike collaborations by dropping a sparkling gem, dubbed the Nike Dunk Low ‘Pure Platinum’, completely covered with Swarovski crystals.' Zack Schlemmer, Content Manager at Stadium Goods
All Dunks are covetable right now, but the Swarovski crystal-covered ‘Pure Platinum’ Dunk is considered the ne plus ultra – and not just because it shines. The bejeweled kick is a collaborative effort between Nike and Cactus Plant Flea Market – the cult streetwear brand helmed by Pharrell’s former assistant, Cynthia Lu – and comes packaged in an exclusive iridescent dust bag and matching box.
Joe Freshgoods x New Balance 992 ‘No Emotions Are Emotions’
'The New Balance 992 became one of the most sought-after sneakers of 2020 thanks to Chicago’s Joe Freshgoods, who brought new life to the silhouette with his ‘No Emotions are Emotions’ refresh. As you might expect, the hype was huge; hence, very few pairs are left on the market today.' Zack Schlemmer, Content Manager at Stadium Goods
New Balance is back on everyone’s radar, and one of the most in-demand sneakers to boast the brand’s N logo is the Joe Freshgoods x New Balance 992 ‘No Emotions are Emotions’. Taking inspiration from the biological heart, the kick – designed by Chicago-based creative Joe ‘Freshgoods’ Robinson – combines red, pink and purple tones that completely refreshe the ‘00s silhouette.
Fragment Design x Air Jordan 1 High ‘Blue’
'What happens when you combine the classic Air Jordan 1 silhouette with Fragment Design? You get the holy grail of all grails.' Ashley Godoy, Lead Cashier at Stadium Goods SoHo
Amongst the Travis Scotts, the Unions and the Chicago Off-Whites in the elite-level tier of rare Jordans is the Fragment Design x Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG. The Hiroshi Fujiwara-designed kick comes in an eye-catching royal blue hue and is embossed with the brand’s bolt logo, subtly elevating the veteran silhouette.
Air Yeezy 2 ‘Red October’
'When it comes to shoes that are ‘too rare to wear’, the Air Yeezy 2 ‘Red October’ is the prime example. And ever since its release, the value of the shoes has continued to rocket. In short: it’s a sneakerhead’s dream.' Fresco Wilson, Editorial Producer at Stadium Goods
Before Ye signed his soul to the Three Stripes, the rapper-cum-designer was working with Nike on a line of ‘Air Yeezys’. And one of the most popular sneakers to come from this collaboration was the Air Yeezy 2 ‘Red October’. The all-red kick – released during the artist’s Yeezus epoch – contains all the trappings of an exclusive crep. In short: it’s loud, proud and makes a statement.