Sotheby’s and stadium goods open auction for rare sneakers

by Stephen Garner

Sotheby’s will auction 100 of the rarest sneakers in history, in collaboration with sneaker and streetwear marketplace Stadium Goods this month.

The dedicated, online-only auction is open for bidding today through July 23. In addition to browsing the full offering on sothebys.com, there will be a public exhibition for sneakerheads and fans of rare collectibles, streetwear, and fashion to view the pieces in Sotheby’s New York galleries also through July 23.

Some of the rare sneakers include a 1972 handmade “Moon Shoe” from Nike. One of only a handful of pairs known to exist, the present pair is a handmade running shoe designed by Nike co-founder and legendary Oregon University track coach Bill Bowerman. As the famous story goes, Bowerman was first inspired to create the innovative waffle sole traction pattern found on the brand’s early running shoes by tinkering with his wife’s waffle iron and pouring rubber into the mold to create the first prototype of the sole. Made for runners at the 1972 Olympic Trials, only about 12 pairs of the Moon Shoes were created, with even fewer still remaining today. With an estimate of $110 to $160,000, the sneaker on offer is the only pair known to exist in unworn condition.

Also up for auction are the 2011 and 2016 Nike Mags. Worn by Marty McFly in Back to the Future Part II, the once-fictional sneaker was released by Nike in 2011, following petitions from fans to create the mythical design. With only 1,500 pairs made, the limited-edition shoe was one of the most significant sneaker releases in history. Exclusively offered at auction that year to benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, each pair of original Nike Mags fetched thousands of dollars. While the 2011 version did not include the self-lacing technology as seen in the movie, it included light-up features on the strap, heel, and midsole. The pair on offer in the present auction is estimated to sell for $13 to $18,000.

In 2016, Nike perfected real power lacing technology and released the Mag once again – also sold to benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. With only 89 pairs produced, the self-lacing version was much more limited than the 2011 release and even more special due to the power-lacing feature, and extreme rarity. The pair on offer in the present auction is estimated to sell for $50 to $70,000.

Further, the Travis Scott x Air Jordan 4 ‘Friends & Family’ Collection will also be up for auction. Designed by multi-platinum rapper Travis Scott, this collection features some of the most sought-after sneakers in recent years, including four unreleased ‘Friends and Family’ versions of Scott’s Air Jordan 4 “Cactus Jack” design. The group is comprised of the highly coveted purple suede edition, two versions of the “Mocha” colorway; and a preliminary version of the blue colorway without the speckled detailing on the plastic lacing and heal tabs of the version released at retail. The four pieces will be offered as one lot along with the original retail version, for a total of five highly sought-after items (estimate $45 to $60,000).

“We are thrilled to partner with Stadium Goods on this sale, who are equally dedicated to exceptionalism and authenticity in their field as we are at Sotheby’s,” said Noah Wunsch, Sotheby’s global head of e-commerce. “From the Paris Nike SB Low Dunks featuring designs by Bernard Buffet to the Nike Moon Shoe originally hand made by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman, the sale offers a range of rare, highly-coveted collectible sneakers bringing together art, culture, and fashion. This sale marks another step in the continued expansion of our online offerings of highly-coveted and exceptional luxury goods, in which we present the best examples across a myriad of categories to passionate collecting communities worldwide.”

“Partnering with Sotheby’s on this extraordinary, first-of-its-kind auction is truly special,” added John McPheters, Stadium Goods co-founder and co-CEO. “At Stadium Goods, we’ve long talked about how sneakers are this generation’s luxury fashion, and being able to collaborate with a brand with the history and esteem of Sotheby’s is further proof of that. We’re offering dozens of incredibly exceptional items in this sale, including many that are genuinely one of a kind. These items are true cultural artifacts, and it will be a thrill to see them in a public exhibition alongside the rest of Sotheby’s renowned offerings.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *