While it’s nothing new to splurge on footwear, the most expensive shoes in the world can cost millions.
Whether encrusted in precious stones or worn by an all-star athlete, these shoes go the extra mile when it comes to luxury footwear. In fact, some are even considered too valuable to be worn.
The most expensive shoes in the world are their own rightful category in the luxury market. Often sold off at auctions rather than at retailers, these shoes are much more than footwear. The most expensive shoes can be a slice of history or even require a safe to be stored in.
Below, we’ve rounded up the most expensive shoes in the world. Check out what decadent pairs make the cut on our list.
The Most Expensive Shoes Of All Time:
Michael Jordan’s Air Jordan 12s
A pair of Air Jordans that are valued for more than $104,000 top our list of Most Expensive Shoes at No. 16. The sneakers once belonged to former Chicago Bulls player Michael Jordan. The all-star basketball player wore the shoes during the famous “Flu Game,” where he played for the Chicago team while sick during the fifth game of the 1997 NBA Playoffs. Jordan scored 38 points throughout the game while feeling ill. The Bulls ultimately became champions that year, adding to their winning streak of six playoffs within the 1991-1998 seasons.
Jordan’s shoes were auctioned off in 2013 by former Utah Jazz ball boy Preston Truman. ESPN reported that the “Flu Game” Jordans set a new record for the highest-priced athletic shoe ever sold. The red and black sneaker also features an autograph by Jordan himself.
Steve Job’s Old Birkenstock
Years after his passing, some of the late co-founder of Apple belongings were unearthed and sold at an auction in New York on Nov. 13. One of the items included a very worn pair of brown “Arizona” Birkenstock sandals that were snagged by an undisclosed buyer for a whopping $218,750 — the highest price ever paid for a pair of casual sandals.
The timeless and well-loved footwear was claimed to have been worn by Jobs in the 1970s and 1980s, deemed as some of the most “pivotal moments in Apple’s history,” according to Julien’s Auctions. The shoes, and many more items like it, have been maintained in a collection by Job’s former Albany, Calif. estate manager Mark Sheff. Jobs was clearly a big fan of the footwear’s practicality and durability.
The Diamond Shoe by Kathryn Wilson
The next on our list of Most Expensive Shoes are a pair of heels made by New Zealand-based shoe designer Kathryn Wilson. Her customized pumps pack a lot of bling. The shoes have 21.8 carats worth of diamonds and were sold back in 2013 at an event the designer held for $418,450. Wilson collaborated with Sarah Hutchings of Orsini Fine Jewellery to make the out-of-this-world pumps. All the proceeds from the event were donated to the Ronald McDonald House charity.
Wilson tediously sketched in pencil the placements of the diamonds on the pump. She then positioned each stone by hand with a pair of tweezers and a special adhesive, tallying up over 50 hours of work on the shoes.
While hard at work, Wilson had a high-security team by her side. “I had two security guards in cars follow me at all times when I was transporting the diamonds and shoe,” she told The Daily Mail. “It was quite exciting, like being in a James Bond movie.” (Guess we won’t be seeing these shoes out and about anytime soon.)
Stuart Weitzman Diamond Dream Stiletto
Stuart Weitzman has designed quite a few shoes that make FN’s Most Expensive Shoes list. Like several of his tricked-out shoes, the American designer crafted these sandals with Hollywood glamour and red carpets in mind. The Diamond Dream Stiletto made its debut on the feet of “Dreamgirls” actress Anika Noni Rose at the 2007 Academy Awards. The shoe is studded with 1,420 diamonds and features two bands of diamond-encrusted circles on the upper. The simple silver band across the toe adds a delicate but sophisticated touch to these whopping $500,000 shoes.
Michael Jordan’s Signed Nike Air Jordan 1s
A pair of Nike Air Jordan 1s worn and signed by Michael Jordan were reported to be the most expensive sneakers to be sold at an auction, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The shoes were game-worn by Michael Jordan in 1985 after being made exclusively for him.
The No. 13 Most Expensive Shoe on FN’s list was expected to rake in $100,000 to $150,000 at the Sotheby’s auction held on May 2020. In the final twenty minutes of the sale, the bidding was increased by $300,000, in the end resulting to a record-breaking amount.
One interesting fact about this pair of most expensive shoes in that the sneakers are mismatched. The left is a size 13 and the right is a 13.5. This sizing is allegedly preferred by Michael Jordan when playing on the court.
The Original Ruby Red Slippers From ‘The Wizard of Oz’
A pair of ruby slippers might come to mind when thinking about the most expensive shoes in the world. Although there are several known pairs of the iconic slipper, this pair of ruby reds worn by actress Judy Garland in the 1939 film, “The Wizard of Oz,” were sold at an auction for $660,000 in 2000. The original owner won them at the mere age of 16 as a second-place prize for the National Four Star Club’s “Name the Ten Best Movies of 1939” contest. The size 6 shoe later sold to David Elkouby, a memorabilia collector based in Hollywood.
Some of the slippers are still circulating. Classic Hollywood actress Debbie Reynolds also once owned a pair of the simple sequin slippers. Another match is currently housed at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. There was even a pair of ruby red slippers that went missing. In 2005, the pair disappeared from the Judy Garland Museum in the actress’ hometown of Grand Rapids, Minn. The shoes have since found their way home.
Stuart Weitzman “Marilyn Monroe” Shoe
Stuart Weitzman heels have become a staple for red carpets in recent years and several rank in FN’s list of Most Expensive Shoes. The luxury designer brand has a few pairs valued at up to $1 million, including these Marilyn Monroe-inspired heels. But the elegant shoes weren’t actually worn by the actress herself. At each center of the shoe is a cluster of Swarovski crystals that were once earrings that belonged to Ms. Monroe.
Regina King rocked the champagne-colored shoe at the 2005 Oscars when she was nominated for her role in “Ray.” After the ceremony, Weitzman allegedly replaced the original crystals with replicas and gave the pair to the Celebrity Rags 4 Charity Riches auction. It was there that the shoes sold for $1 million, marking the pair as the 11th on FN’s list of Most Expensive Shoes.
Stuart Weitzman Retro Rose Pump
These vintage-inspired slippers pay homage to 1940s glamour complete with a classic T-strap (a signature style of shoe at the time). The 10th pair of Most Expensive Shoes feature roses worth 100 carats of 1,800 Kwiat diamonds. In addition, the pair has 400 more Kwiat diamonds that embellish the shoe throughout.
The shoes also pack some drama, quite literally. When Stuart Weitzman selected screenwriter Diablo Cody to wear the shoes back in 2008 for Oscar Awards, she refused to wear the million-dollar shoes. Cody, who was nominated and won Best Original Screenplay for her movie “Juno” told reporters on the red carpet that she thought “it was a cheesy publicity stunt.”
Stuart Weitzman Platinum Guild Stiletto
Yet another pair of Stuart Weitzman heels make our list of Most Expensive Shoes. The Platinum Guild Stiletto is adorned with 464 sparkling Kwiat diamonds. The stiletto was meant to shine on the red carpet and was worn by former Miss USA and actress Laura Harring at the 2002 Academy Awards. While valued at $1.09 million, these shoes might not be as impractical as you think. The straps actually come off the sandal and can double as a necklace.
Stuart Weitzman’s Ruby Slipper
There’s no guarantee that if you click your heels three times these shoes will take you home, but the pair sure does make a statement. Inspired by the film “The Wizard of Oz,” these stilettos feature 642 Burmese rubies on the elegant red satin straps. These cherry-red heels were displayed in a glass case at Harrods in London back in 2003. The shoes are currently valued at $1.6 million, making them FN’s No. 8 in our list of Most Expensive Shoes.
1984 Michael Jordan Nike Air Ships
Selling to “avid cards collector” Nick Fiorella in Oct 2021, the retro white high-tops with hits of red were worn during Jordan’s 5th NBA game in his rookie season in 1984, making them the earliest regular-season pair from his NBA career to be auctioned off. The 1984 “Air Ship” was designed by Bruce Kilgore and was the first basketball shoe worn by Michael Jordan in the NBA.
Kanye West Nike Air Yeezy 1
West’s Nike Air Yeezy 1 sneaker sold for $1.8 million via a private sale at Sotheby’s on April 26, 2021. The rapper turned designer performed at the 2008 Grammys wearing the Yeezy Nike prototype.
Stuart Weitzman Cinderella Slipper
Stuart Weitzman’s sparkling stiletto was worn by country singer Alison Krauss at the 2004 Oscars. One of the most expensive shoes in the world, the pair features Italian leather and 565 Kwiat diamonds. The right shoe also has a rare 5-carat amaretto diamond that by itself is valued for more than $1 million. The Stuart Weitzman shoe also has a clear 4-inch stiletto heel that is intentionally designed to make the structure of the $2 million shoes “disappear” — giving all the attention to the precious gems when in the spotlight. It’s a shoe truly fit for someone’s “Cinderella moment.”
Stuart Weitzman Tanzanite Heel
Yet another stunning pair of Stuart Weitzman shoes make our Most Expensive Shoes list. The Tanzanite Heel is valued at $2 million and was a collaboration with Eddie Le Vian of the prestigious Le Vian Jewelry. The silver shoes have straps that feature 185 carats of tanzanite along with 28 carats of diamonds. And don’t forget the back. The 4.5-inch heel is encrusted with 595 carats of Kwiat diamonds set in platinum.
Jason of Beverly Hills x Tom Ford Loafers
You may recognize the fifth Most Expensive Shoe on FN’s list. These diamond-covered loafers were worn by Nick Cannon on the 2014 season finale of “America’s Got Talent.” The smoking slippers were custom-made and commissioned for the TV host by Jason of Beverly Hills, an L.A.-based jeweler. With more than 14,000 full-cut round diamonds on the shoe, this pair has a total weight of 340 carats. The diamonds were also placed in white gold on a Tom Ford sole. The shoes were reported to have taken over 2,000 hours of labor to complete.
Cannon donated the $2 million shoes to charity later that year. The luxury loafers were under review by the Guinness Book of World Records for the title of Most Expensive Shoes in the World, but they only take fifth place on our list.
Stuart Weitzman Rita Hayworth Heel
Stuart Weitzman Rita Hayworth Heels worth an estimated $3 million pic.twitter.com/phb64ICNTz
— Wish I Had A (@WishYouHad) June 9, 2013
While the Stuart Weitzman has a number of ultra-luxe million-dollar shoes, the most expensive shoes from the American designer are the Rita Hayworth Heel coming in at $3 million. The shoe exudes Hollywood glamour as it’s adorned with earrings made of diamonds, rubies and sapphires worn by silver screen starlet Rita Hayworth. But these shoes aren’t for sale; the pair belongs to Hayworth’s daughter, Princess Yasmin Aga Khan.
Harry Winston Ruby Slippers
While the original pairs of ruby red shoes were covered in red sequins, this pair is far more opulent and expensive. In 1989, Harry Winston’s son Ronald Wilson wanted to pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of “The Wizard of Oz.” After two months of placing 4,600 rubies on the slippers, the House of Harry Winston debuted its own rendition of the iconic shoe. The pair features 1,350 carats of rubies and 50 carats of diamonds; it’s valued at $3.01 million, coming in at No. 3 in our Most Expensive Shoes list.
1998 NBA Finals Game 2 Air Jordan 13s
The historic sneakers are considered the most valuable sneakers to ever appear at an auction, being offered with an estimate of $2/4 million. The game-worn shoes are the only pair from the 1998 NBA Finals to have been authenticated by The MeiGray Group to appear at auction. The Jordan 13s are poised to eclipse the current auction record for a pair of sneakers, established at Sotheby’s in 2021 when Michael Jordan’s Regular Season Game Worn Nike Air Ships sold for $1.472 million.
Debbie Wingham Heels
British designer Debbie Wingham unveiled these ultra-luxe stilettos in 2017. The second pair of most expensive shoes were commissioned by an unnamed family in Dubai, U.A.E, for a birthday and is meant to resemble a cake. Her creation was a collaboration between herself and Chris Campbell, a contemporary artist based in Florida. The heels are loaded with precious gems including three-carat rare pink diamonds and one-carat blue diamonds, which alone cost over $128,000.
In addition, there are four three-carat diamonds and 1,000 pointer diamonds set in platinum framing. The pair also features gold soles and zippers, as well as 24 karat gold paint on the leather. The stitching was done with an 18 karat gold thread and features a gold thread inlay. The shoes were finished off with a rose gold accent and a leather Iranian jasmine flower at the center of the shoe.
These $15.1 million shoes were part of the designer’s “most expensive collection.” Wingham also has credit for crafting a $15.45 million diamond and ruby-encrusted dress. In addition, she owns a baking company, Couture to Cakes, which made a $64 million diamond-encrusted cake for a client.
The Most Expensive Shoes of All Time: Passion Diamond Shoe
This decadent heel ranks as the most expensive shoe in the world at $17 million. The Passion Diamond Shoe was created by the United Arab Emirates-based brand Jada Dubai in partnership with Passion Jewelers in 2018. These golden pumps are covered in hundreds of diamonds and made from real gold. The pair is equivalent to the value of 23,448 pairs of Christian Louboutin’s So Kate pumps.
The most expensive shoes have two 15-carat diamonds on the upper, and all of the diamonds on the shoes are incredibly rare D flawless diamonds. The stiletto was part of an extensive collection of bejeweled footwear, which also includes a pair of $25,000 shoes. The Passion Diamond Shoe was unveiled and displayed at the world’s only seven-star hotel, Burj Al Arab, in Dubai. The pair is a prototype of 36 EU standard-sized heels, but are made to order in the size requested by the lucky buyer.