8 Most Expensive Running Shoes in the World

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Humans started wearing shoes about 40,000 years ago. Some anthropologists say shoe-wearing actually changed the human body. According to one expert, “If you work out at the gym, not only will your muscles get bigger, your bones will become thicker.”

Based on that fact, scientists say bones changed as people started wearing shoes.

Erik Trinkaus, a scientist at Washington University in St. Louis, says the most notable change was toe size. Around 40,000 years ago, people’s toes got smaller while leg bones remained big and strong — maybe because shoes gave the toes extra support. Other experts aren’t so sure, but they agree that shoes likely popped up around that time.

Early shoe designs were very simple. In 2010, archaeologists found the oldest leather shoes on record. The pair is over 5,000 years old and was made from a single piece of cowhide with lacing to adjust the fit.

Today, designers make a bunch of shoes for certain activities — including running shoes. It’s a little difficult to define “running shoe,” but we’ll count any athletic-style sneakers that work for running. With that in mind, here’s our list of the most expensive running shoes in the world!

8. Balenciaga Men’s Track Sneakers

Shoe Value: $1,050
Maker or Brand: Balenciaga
Materials: Leather and polyurethane
Shoe Fact: These sneakers are made in China
Balenciaga Men’s Track Sneakers
photo source: balenciaga.com

Kicking off our list are Balenciaga’s men’s track sneakers. The design comes in three colors, and each variety is priced at just over $1,000. The luxury sneakers are made in China and mainly feature polyurethane, but there’s also leather, polyester, and nylon.

As track sneakers, these shoes have solid arch support and tight lacing for stability. Balenciaga added its logo and brand name across the design, including along the shoe’s tongue, on the toe, and along the front edge. Would you pay a thousand bucks for running shoes?

Did you know?

These shoes come with an extra pair of laces. Balenciaga ships them for free across the globe.

7. Defender Sneakers

Shoe Value: $1,150
Maker or Brand: Balenciaga
Materials: Synthetic
Shoe Fact: These shoes are leather-free
Defender Sneakers
photo source: balenciaga.com

Up next is another design by Balenciaga. The beefy style is leather-free and mainly features synthetic materials like polyurethane. Balenciaga says the design is made in China and features a “worn-out effect,” including stylized wear-and-tear along the exterior.

Like other Balenciaga running shoes, these kicks feature plenty of branding. The brand’s logo is found on the tongue, on the interior heel, on the exterior heel, on the toe… the list goes on.

Overall, these bulky shoes cost over $1,100. Would you wear them?

Did you know?

Balenciaga says the brand is “committed to the sustainable and ethical management of our operations…we work to continually reduce the environmental footprint of our products.”

6. Rhyton Glitter Gucci Sneakers

Shoe Value: $1,190
Maker or Brand: Gucci
Materials: White leather and glitter
Shoe Fact: These shoes are made in Italy
Rhyton Glitter Gucci Sneakers
photo source: gucci.com

Gucci is pretty much synonymous with expensive fashion. The brand sells stuff like a thousand-dollar wool vest and leather handbags for nearly 40 grand. Yeah, expensive.

With these Rhython Glitter Sneakers, Gucci brings pricey style to the running shoe market. The design sells for just shy of $1,200 and features white leather alongside shimmering Gucci branding. Gucci makes the ‘90s-inspired design in Italy and says the style is “Inspired by the tags decorating retro athletic uniforms.”

Did you know?

Gucci says these running shoes embody the retro aesthetics of the brand’s 2018 collection. “Designed with a thick sole and bulky construction, the leather sneaker is remindful of the old school hip-hop scene.”

5. X-Pander Sneakers

Shoe Value: $1,350
Maker or Brand: Balenciaga
Materials: Synthetic
Shoe Fact: These shoes have a 40mm arch
X-Pander Sneakers
photo source: mrporter.com

Balenciaga is at it again. X-Pander running shoes feature a unique arched “suspended” heel and a chunky design. Balenciaga says the shoe is made of synthetic materials, including nylon, polyurethane, and polyester.

Like other Balenciaga designs, these sneakers feature stylized wear-and-tear. The white version has slight yellowing along the outer shell while the black version features light chafing and scratch-like marks.

These aren’t the only “worn-out” shoes Balenciaga sells. In 2022, the brand debuted a pair of “destroyed” high-top sneakers priced at $1,850. The well-worn shoes are so beat-up you could barely wear them. Balenciaga calls them “extremely worn, marked up, and dirtied.”

Overall, the Balenciaga X-Pander running shoes cost a whopping $1,350. Would you buy them?

Did you know?

Reviewers seem to like these shoes. As one puts it, “Balenciaga’s ‘X-Pander’ sneaker is a weird, massive step into the future…[they’re essentially] Track sneaker[s] gone bionic, adding an absolutely massive suspended heel to the mesh and nylon shoe.”

4. Roger Federer’s Champion Sneakers

Shoe Value: About $6,000
Maker or Brand: Nike
Materials: Unreported
Shoe Fact: These shoes were signed by Federer
Roger Federer’s Champion Sneakers
photo source: onlineonly.christies.com

These shoes were owned by legendary tennis player Roger Federer — so maybe they’re technically tennis shoes… But hey, tennis involves a lot of running around the court, right?

Whatever you want to call them, these athletic sneakers are crazy expensive. The autographed pair was worn by Federer during a high-stakes match. In 2012, Christie’s auction house sold the one-of-a-kind shoes for a jaw-dropping GBP 5,250 (that’s about six grand in U.S. dollars).

Did you know?

Roger Federer is arguably one of the best tennis players ever. “[Federer] dominated the sport in the early 21st century with his exceptional all-around game,” says one report, “In 2003 Federer won his first Grand Slam tournament title, at Wimbledon. The following year he captured his first Australian Open and his first U.S. Open and defended his Wimbledon title.”

3. Odell Beckham Jr.’s Diamond Shoes

Shoe Value: $200,000
Maker or Brand: Dominic Ciambrone (The Shoe Surgeon)
Materials: Over 1,000 real diamonds
Shoe Fact: It took over 100 hours to make these shoes
Odell Beckham Jr.’s Diamond Shoes
photo source: cbssports.com

Up next is another pair that might be a little controversial to call “running shoes.” The cleats were made for Odell Beckham Jr., the Rams’ wide receiver. That position arguably involves quite a bit of running, so we’ll call ‘em running shoes.

So what do these shoes feature, and why are they so expensive? The design was made by Dominic Ciambrone, AKA The Shoe Surgeon. Dominic added over 1,000 real diamonds to the Nike cleats and priced them at a whopping $200,000. Odell Beckham Jr. wore the shoes before playing at Super Bowl LVI.

Did you know?

These shoes were custom-made and rushed so Odell could wear them in time for the big game.

2. 1954 Kangaroo Leather Running Shoes

Shoe Value: About $300,000
Maker or Brand: Charles Law
Materials: Kangaroo leather
Shoe Fact: Roger Bannister worse these running shoes
1954 Kangaroo Leather Running Shoes
photo source: christies.com

In the spring of 1954, record-setting athlete Roger Bannister wore these kangaroo leather running shoes as he became the first runner to complete a mile in less than four minutes. The historic feat made Bannister one of the most impactful athletes in history.

In 2015, Christie’s auction house sold the shoes Bannister wore during his sub-four-minute run. The auction ended on September 9 with a final sale price of GBP 266,500, AKA approximately $300,000.

Did you know?

In 1861, an Irishman named Heaviside ran a mile in four and a half minutes. Bannister blew that record out of the water when it clocked in at just three minutes and fifty-nine seconds.

1. Nike Moon Shoes

Shoe Value: $437,500
Maker or Brand: Nike
Materials: Nylon, suede, and rubber
Shoe Fact: This shoe was made by hand in 1972
Nike Moon Shoes
photo source: sothebys.com

Nike Moon Shoes are the most expensive running shoes in the world.

Nike is arguably the biggest name in athletic shoes. The brand was founded by Bill Bowerman, a field-and-track coach, and Phil Knight, Bowerman’s former student at the University of Oregon. It didn’t take long for the duo to find success.

In 1972, Nike made around 12 pairs of running shoes for competitors at the Olympic Trials. The style earned the unofficial name “Moon Shoe” because the grip pattern looks like the footprints left on the Moon by American astronauts.

In 2019, Sotheby’s sold one of the few remaining Moon Shoe sets. Several pairs are lost to time, so the set was extra-rare when bidding started. The size-12.5 shoes were expected to sell for $160,000 at most — but they ended up going for a whopping $437,500.

Sotheby’s called the sale “astounding,” saying the pair “sold to collector Miles Nadal…[who] plans to display the sneakers…at his private museum in Toronto, Canada.”

Did you know?

Bill Bowerman reportedly developed the Moon Shoes’ waffle-like grip pattern after examining his wife’s waffle maker. As the story goes, Bowerman actually used that waffle maker to mold rubber for the design’s first prototype.


Head of Content at Rarest.org


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