A pair of Nike running shoes from 1972 sold for $437,500 in an online-only sale at Sotheby’s on Wednesday, more than doubling its $160,000 pre-sale high estimate and setting a new auction record for a pair of sneakers. The buyer, Canadian entrepreneur and car collector Miles Nadal, had already bought the other 99 pairs of rare footwear being offered by Sotheby’s and Stadium Goods as part of their 100-pair “Ultimate Sneaker Collection” in a private sale for $850,000 last week. Nadal plans to display his newly acquired trove of special shoes at the Dare to Dream Automobile Museum, his private institution in Toronto.
The record-setting sneakers are a handmade pair of a model known as the “Moon Shoe” and were designed by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman. The pair is one of about 12 that were made for runners competing in the 1972 Olympic Trials. Their soles feature the company’s innovative high-traction rubber pattern that, per Nike lore, was inspired by Bowerman’s wife’s waffle iron.
Other shoes offered as part of Sotheby’s and Stadium Goods’ collection included rare and limited edition specimens like a pair designed by Pharrell Williams, in collaboration with Adidas and Chanel, that belonged to the late fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld. In a statement, Sotheby’s global head of e-commerce, Noah Wunsch, said the sneaker sale’s success was “a testament to the strength of this burgeoning collecting category.”