Sotheby's is in the business of making history. The first Sotheby's auction took place in 1744 in London, making it the oldest fine-art auctioneer in the world. Since then, the company has become a global empire, bringing in sales that exceed $4 billion annually. But one treasure we haven't seen on Sotheby’s auction block is the sale of sneakers. That is, until now.
Sotheby’s has just announced that starting now, through July 23, that it will be auctioning 100 pairs of the rarest athletic shoes in history. Naturally, this is major news for the same auction house that has sold Shakespearian relics, Munch’s masterpiece The Scream, and Warhol's ode to Norma Jean with his Orange Marilyn, to name a few. Working in collaboration with Stadium Goods (a New York retail store showcasing rare and limited-edition sneakers), Sotheby’s will present famed footwear produced along the lines of Nike’s Air Jordan, Adidas’s Yeezy, and more. “From the Paris Nike SB Low Dunks featuring designs by Bernard Buffet to the Nike Moon Shoe originally handmade by Nike cofounder Bill Bowerman, the sale offers a range of rare, highly coveted collectible sneakers bringing together art, culture, and fashion," said Noah Wunsch, Sotheby’s global head of e-commerce, in a statement.
Iconic sneakers such as those worn by Marty McFly in Back to the Future Part II will be front and center at the auction. While the actual shoes Michael J. Fox wore won't be there, the 2011 and 2016 releases that Nike designed surely will be (the 2016 version had only 89 pairs produced and are estimated to sell for between $50,000 and $70,000). Furthermore, Nike's "Moon Shoe," arguably among the most significant apparel designed in the multibillion-dollar athletic brand's history, will be another sneaker to be auctioned. The pair to be sold is a handmade running shoe designed by Bowerman: Inspired by his wife’s waffle iron, he created the innovative waffle sole traction pattern that went on to help runners at the 1972 Olympic trials. Roughly 12 pairs of the Moon Shoes were created, with even fewer still remaining today, meaning the estimate for a pair will be between $110,000 and $160,000.
If the current auction at Sotheby's signals anything, it's the confirmation that sneakers are certainly at the forefront in the domain of luxury fashion. This sentiment is shared by Stadium Goods cofounder and co-CEO, who in a statement said that "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.”