Expensive Soles

Yesterday’s shoes are today’s status symbol


As Kim Kardashian struts down the red carpet in her eye-catching black outfit in the 2021 Met Gala, the paparazzi focuses intently on her faceless look and her recognizable silhouette. Yet, one aspect of her outfit that does not make the headlines are her nearly $6,000 Balenciaga shoes.

Though essential, footwear is often an afterthought when putting together an outfit. Most people lace up their comfortable sneakers and call it a day. However, if you look closely at someone’s shoe choice, you can find out a lot about the owner. 

Collecting sneakers first became a trend in New York in the 1980s, which consequently resulted in a popular “sneakerhead” hip-hop subculture. Name-brand shoes became increasingly popular. It was with this rise in popularity that the hunt for unique and exclusive footwear began.

When basketball star Michael Jordan announced his shoe collaboration with Nike, fans went crazy. While different AirJordan styles evolved to accommodate comfort and aesthetics, the public’s sneaker collection grew. Today, owning AirJordans is not only a luxury but also a major fashion statement. To own a limited-collection pair of AirJordans is an even greater privilege. The prices for one pair of AirJordans can range from $150 (used) to nearly $34,000 for a rare, exclusive pair.

In 2018, Business Insider reported that the average person spends more money on luxury shoes than they do on designer handbags. This statistic reflects the value for comfort and convenience that younger generations often share.

While the shoe collecting trend is not new, many people have been outraged by the extent of this hobby. One of the world’s largest shoe collectors is DJ Khaled, a DJ and record producer who has acquired over 10,000 pairs of shoes, valued at around $8,000,000. For DJ Khaled to wear all of his shoes, he would have to wear a different pair every day for 28 years. 

Such a large collection of shoes comes with a large following and an even larger paycheck. The ability to own expensive shoes does not equate to good taste but rather class and money. 

To be in possession of 10,000 shoes seems like an unattainable concept for many people, as the average person owns twelve to fifteen pairs of shoes, but only regularly wears five. Like DJ Khaled’s collection, many other A-list celebrities such as Justin Timberlake and Kylie Jenner have also built a stockpile of footwear. 

Celebrities, influencers, and other rich, upper-class people all have the wealth and status to afford thousands of pairs of shoes, which is an unnecessary and wasteful way to spend their money. 

Expensive shoes can be found in all sorts of places, whether it be a Silicon Valley tech firm or on a Paris Fashion Week runway. Regardless, the owners of these shoes have one thing in common: money.