Adidas, Nike or Jordans - could collectable trainers make you rich?

The right pair of trainers can fetch six figures. Here's how you can start collecting vintage Adidas, Nike or Jordans now

Presidential Candidate And Former President Donald Trump Attends Sneaker Con To Launch His New Shoe Line
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Fans of Donald Trump couldn’t get enough of the former US president’s range of trainers (or “sneakers” as they call them across the pond) at Sneaker Con in February. Literally. The $399 Never Surrender High-Tops have sold out and they are now appearing on eBay for six figures, according to GQ magazine. One fan, a luxury watch dealer, paid $9,000 after Trump showed up at the event brandishing a pair of the gaudy gold trainers. Not everyone was impressed, as The New York Times noted. Derek Guy, who writes on men’s wear, wrote on social media: “Having a presidential candidate release a sneaker is so embarrassing. Imagine Emmanuel Macron doing a limited drop and Rishi Sunak holding pop-up events”. 

It turns out, we don’t have to. Our prime minister felt compelled to offer “a fulsome apology to the Samba community” on LBC Radio earlier this month. The maligned community in question are fans of a model of shoe – the Adidas Samba – among them celebrities Rihanna, Kate Moss and Kendall Jenner

“In my defence, I would say I have been wearing Adidas trainers and Sambas and others in fact for many, many years,” Sunak said. But the damage is done. It could ring “the death knell” of the Samba, Elizabeth Semmelhack, a “footwear historian”, told The Times. 

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE

Get 6 issues free

Sign up to Money Morning

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Sign up

Most desirable trainer brands

Fortunately for non-prime-ministerial collectors, all is not lost. Adidas only came in third in a list of the most desirable brands of last year, compiled by StockX, an online marketplace for trainers. Nike and Jordan (which is owned by Nike) came out ahead in terms of the number of trades. Asics, in particular, enjoyed “hockey-stick growth in 2023”, with sales on the platform growing 239% from a year earlier. The Japanese brand rose from tenth position to fifth. Oakley, a brand better associated with sunglasses, is also “having a sneaker moment”, according to StockX. Trades on its platform increased by 157% year on year. 

Sotheby’s has been selling trainers for sky-high prices since 2019, when a pair of vintage 1972 Nike “Moon Shoes” fetched a then-record $437,000, says Calum Marsh for GQ. Since then, prices have only risen. In February, Sotheby’s sold a set of six Air Jordans, worn by basketball star Michael Jordan in the 1990s, for $8m. But you don’t have to have the spending power of Jordan to start collecting. Sotheby’s is selling, as part of its “Buy Now” online offering, trainers ranging in price from £88 to a little over £150,000 for the Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1s – in case Sunak is interested.

This article was first published in MoneyWeek's magazine. Enjoy exclusive early access to news, opinion and analysis from our team of financial experts with a MoneyWeek subscription.

Chris Carter

Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.

Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.

You can follow Chris on Instagram.