A new world record for a pair of sneakers was set at auction on Tuesday when an avid collector splashed out $437,500 (about Ksh45.5 million) on Nike’s 1972 “Moon Shoe,” Sotheby’s said.
The sale smashed the previous record of $190,373 (about Ksh20 million) spent in 2017 on a pair of signed Converse worn by Michael Jordan in the 1984 Olympic basketball final, the New York-headquartered auction house said in a statement.
It was also well above the pre-sale estimate of $160,000, Sotheby’s added.
Canadian collector Miles Nadal was the successful bidder in the online action, adding to the 99 pairs of other hard-to-find shoes that he bought in a private sale last week.
“I am thrilled to acquire the iconic Nike ‘Moon Shoes,’ one of the rarest pairs of sneakers ever produced, and a true historical artifact in sports history and pop culture,” Nadal said.
“I think sneaker culture and collecting is on the verge of a breakout moment,” he added.
Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman designed the flat racing ‘Moon Shoe’ which was made for runners at the 1972 Olympic trials.
Sotheby’s said that just around 12 pairs were manufactured and that the set sold on Tuesday was “one of only a handful of pairs known to exist”.
“We are excited the iconic Nike Moon Shoe achieved more than double the previous world auction record for a sneaker today,” said Sotheby’s global e-commerce head Noah Wunsch.
He said the sneaker auction brought together art, culture and fashion. “We are eager to see where this sale takes us, not only in future sneaker offerings, but also in other new luxury lifestyle areas.”
The auction house joined up with street-wear marketplace Stadium Goods to sell 100 of the rarest sneakers ever made.
The 61-year-old Nadal spent $850,000 buying 99 of them privately on Wednesday with organizers holding back the ‘Moon Shoe’ for a public sale.
Nadal plans to display the footwear, which includes Nike sneakers based on those worn by Marty McFly in hit movie “Back to the Future II,” and limited-edition sneakers produced by Adidas, Air Jordan and rapper Kanye West’s Yeezy collection, at his private museum in Toronto.