A pair of rare Nike 1972 Waffle Racing Flat ‘Moon Shoe’ sneakers broke a world record yesterday and sold for $437,500 at a Sotheby’s auction. The median HOME PRICE in the USA is $226,800 according to Zillow which means these sneakers cost nearly 2x the average price of a home in America. Let that sink in.
Without having any facts or figures in front of me, I’d wager that the vast majority of guys have never spent more than $200 on a pair of sneakers (I’d actually bet most haven’t spent more than $150). The prices of trendy sneakers and shoes rise every year but there’s still a ceiling of where most guys will stop spending.
That ceiling is several hundred THOUSAND dollars below where these rare Nikes sold for yesterday in the Sotheby’s ‘Stadium Goods: the Ultimate Sneaker Collection’ online auction.
What makes these particular shoes so valuable? Sotheby’s has a pretty good explanation on their press release page for the record-breaking item. This shoe and its iconic waffle design was the brainchild of Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman for the 1972 Olympic Trials:
The Nike “Moon Shoe” is one of the most significant artifacts in Nike’s long history. Nike co-founder and renowned Oregon University Track Coach Bill Bowerman designed the shoe for runners at the 1972 Olympic Trials; only about 12 were created, even fewer exist today – and the present lot is the only known pair to exist in unworn condition. 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. (via press release)
The rest is history. This shoe from Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman (then Oregon track coach) was a catalyst that led to the world of athletic and running shoes changing forever. This was the *only* unworn shoe which is pretty amazing when you think about it because that shoe looks like it was ridden hard and put away wet.
One of the things I find the most remarkable about this world record-breaking sneaker is how much it destroyed the previous record. The former world record for ‘most expensive sneaker sold at auction’ was held by a pair of Converse that were worn (and autographed) by Michael Jordan in the 1984 Olympic basketball finals. Those sold for $190,373 back in 2017.
I can kind of understand why someone would spend so much money on those shoes. They were the ones MJ wore when he won a gold medal. But $437,500 on a pair of obscure Nike shoes? What do you even do with those? Frame them in a glass box and put them in your office where nobody will ever have a clue what they are? Put them in a museum? I don’t get it.