Sneakers, Sports Memorabilia & Modern Collectibles

fifty: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Nike

By Eric Libassi
The ultimate sneaker and streetwear auction representing Nike's most iconic designs and collaborations from the last 50 years. The fifty auction is open for bidding online 29 November - 13 December.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Nike, Sotheby’s presents fifty – a curated sneaker and streetwear auction comprising more than 100 examples of some of the iconic brand’s most hype collaborations, unreleased and rare sneaker samples, prototypes, and limited-edition accessories. The retrospective pays tribute to the legacy and evolution of the Nike, from its inception as a running company to its expansion as a multi-sport collective that has transcended into a consumer culture of its own identity.

Victor Cruz's Sneaker Picks

Sotheby’s is honored to collaborate with sneaker aficionado and NFL Super Bowl Champion, Victor Cruz, for the Nike anniversary auction. A past Nike collaborator (Air Trainer Cruz), the passionate sneaker collector – who himself boasts a sizable collection north of 300 pairs – has handpicked a personal edit of his favorite sneakers distinguished not only by their rarity, but the unique stories behind them.


Nike SB Dunk High ‘What the Doernbecher’ | Size 11

In 2007 Nike created the ‘What The Dunk’, by combining design elements from 31 separate Nike SB Dunks. The design goal was to create the “Dunk to end all Dunks.”

Adapting this concept, in 2015, Nike created the ‘What the Doernbecher’, which features design elements from thirteen different Doernbecher series designs.

Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro Fragment Friends and Family | Size 12

Founded in 2003, Fragment Design was created by multidisciplinary Japanese artist and the so-called “Godfather of Streetwear”, Hiroshi Fujiwara. Since its establishment, the brand has solidified itself as one of the premier brands within lifestyle, sneakers, and streetwear, collaborating with Bulgari, Nike, Louis Vuitton, and many more.

Having worked with Nike since the early 2000s, most notably on the HTM Line, Fujiwara introduced Japanese aesthetic and design principles to Nike with Mark Parker and Tinker Hatfield, ultimately creating some of the most premium Nike sneakers of the era. The Nike Air Jordan 1 High Fragment marks the first collaboration between Fragment Design and Jordan Brand.

Nike x Louis Vuitton "Air Force 1" & Pilot Case | Size 11

“The storyline of Virgil Abloh – a black man being a Creative Director for a brand like Louis Vuitton – is so special. Anytime I get a chance to celebrate that and put his achievement to the forefront, I’m going to do so.” - Victor Cruz

The Nike Air Force 1, celebrating its 40th year, was designed in 1982 and is one of the most successful and iconic shoes ever created. On the occasion of the Louis Vuitton Men’s Spring-Summer 2022 runway show, Virgil Abloh collaborated with Nike to design 47 pairs of bespoke Air Force 1s, fusing the trainer’s classic codes with the insignia and materials of Louis Vuitton in homage to the hip-hop culture that shaped him.

Nike Air Jordan 3 Retro Nipsey Hussle ‘Victory Lap’ | Size 12

“Nipsey had a huge influence on me, not just for his music, but for his ideas and the way he went about his life and what he represented. He was always trying to bring his community forward, so I wanted to pay tribute to him by having this shoe as part of the auction.” - Victor Cruz

The present lot is a rare promo sample of the Air Jordan 3 made in commemoration of ‘Victory Lap’, Nipsey Hussle’s first studio album released in 2018. Reminiscent of the Air Jordan 3 Black Cement, the pair features a predominantly black leather upper, the iconic Air Jordan 3 elephant print, and Nike Air branding on the heel.

Additional Sneaker Highlights

True to the genesis of Nike’s heritage, the sale spans key moments core to the brand, from an early pair of handmade racing shoes by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman, the sneakers that launched the brand to fame - the ultra-rare and iconic 1972 Nike Moon Shoes, to a pair of original 1985 ‘Player Sample’ Air Jordans cut to Michael Jordan’s specifications and intended for his use and more.

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