New York

Calling All Hypebeasts, Sneakerheads, History Buffs: Sotheby's Is Auctioning Off 100 of the Rarest Sneakers in History

What to Know

  • Now until July 23, Sotheby's in collaboration with Stadium Goods, is auctioning off 100 of the rarest sneakers in history.
  • The collection includes legendary shoes from Nike, Air Jordan, Adidas, and Yeezy.
  • The standout piece is the 1972 Nike 'Moon Shoe', one of Nike's first sneakers, which has a sole molded from a waffle iron.

Sotheby’s in New York is hosting an auction of what it is calling the “Ultimate Sneaker Collection,” and some of the coveted shoes are already sold.  

From July 11 through July 23, the online-only auction, in collaboration with sneaker marketplace Stadium Goods, will offer up 100 of the rarest sneakers in history, with some of the kicks expected to sell for more than 6-figures.

Not planning to drop $100,000 on a pair? Sneakerheads are still able to drool over the historical pieces at the Sotheby’s New York gallery until the auction ends, and the sneakers are transported from their glass cases to their new owners.

The collection includes works by Nike, Air Jordan, Adidas, and Yeezy. Here are some standout pieces from the collection:

The 1972 Nike Waffle Racing Flat ‘Moon Shoe’

The most historically significant pair in the collection, The Nike ‘Moon Shoe,’ was created circa 1972 for runners in that year’s Olympic trials. They were designed by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman and were handmade by one of Nike’s first employees, Geoff Hollister.

Its careful construction gives these shoes some special handmade qualities, including shear markings from scissors near the soles and a hand-stitched ‘swoosh’, not to mention textured soles that were molded with a waffle iron. Only about 12 pairs were created, and Sotheby’s is showcasing the only pair known to exist in unworn condition. They are estimating the shoe to sell for $110,000 to $160,000 -- a sum big enough to buy a Maserati.

‘Back to the Future II’ Nike Mags

Any fans of ‘Back to the Future’ will recognize the Nike Mags. These are the sneakers Marty McFly donned in Back to the Future Part II -- you know, the ones that were able to lace themselves. While the 2011 release of the pair looks basically the same to the ones in the movie, including the high-cut and futuristic light up features, they were missing one key element – the auto lacing.

In 2015, the year McFly time travels to in Back to the Future Part II, Nike rereleased the sneaker, and this time, the shoes were able to tighten themselves. Sotheby’s is auctioning off both versions – the 2011 has a starting bid of $11,000 and the 2016 has one at $40,000

Air Jordan 11 Jeter

The Air Jordan 11 Jeters are dedicated to one of New York’s favorite Yankees. Only five pairs were made, and all of them were given out at a pop-up shop near Yankee Stadium the day of Derek Jeter’s retirement ceremony in 2017. Nike distributed the limited pairs by using a scratch-off lottery system. The Jeter is one of the rarest Air Jordan 11s ever produced, earning the blue suede sneakers a $30,000 starting bid.

Considering the lowest value lot is $1,800, will any buyer ever dare to take their sneakers out of a display case to wear? Noah Wunsch, the global head of e-commerce at Sotheby’s, believes they will.

“This is an amazing category and I think the utilitarian quality of it is actually why the value is increasing in the space too…So I think we are going to find some collectors who are bidding in this sale who do have the intent to wear them”.

So if you see anyone walking around in shoes that look like they are from the future, they probably copped them from Sotheby’s. And if you want to get a chance to wear a pair yourself, you better start bidding. Sotheby’s has already sold their group lot of Off White sneakers -- 10 of Abloh’s designs -- for $28,000. Or, you could save your money for that Maserati.

Contact Us