E arlier today, a pair of 1972 Nike Waffle Racing Flat 'Moon Shoe' achieved an astounding $437,500, far surpassing the previous world auction record for a pair of sneakers. The shoes sold to collector Miles Nadal, following his purchase of the auction's other 99 lots last week in a private sale. An avid collector, Mr. Nadal plans to display the sneakers, alongside his collection of classic cars, at his private museum in Toronto, Canada; Mr. Nadal plans to open the museum to his friends, family, charitable organizations and others upon request. In bidding, Mr. Nadal far surpassed the 1972 Nike Waffle Racing Flat 'Moon Shoe' pre-sale high estimate of $160,000.
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.
Last week, Mr. Nadal offered to buy the entire collection of rare sneakers offered in the online auction, 100 lots in all; however, Sotheby's and Stadium Goods opted to keep the Nike racing flats available in public auction. As a result, the remaining lot was open for bidding until earlier today, 23 July, as originally scheduled. Mr. Nadal is glad to be the top bidder for this incredible online auction, as he expressed to Sotheby's:
“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. When I initially acquired the 99 other pairs in this auction last week, I just knew the Nike’s had to remain part of this remarkable collection, and I couldn’t be happier with the result. I think sneaker culture and collecting is on the verge of a breakout moment, and I hope Sotheby’s and Stadium Goods will continue to lead the way in this exciting new future.”
The previous world auction record for any pair of sneakers was $190,373, for a pair of Converse worn, and subsequently signed, by Michael Jordan in the 1984 Olympic basketball final; this pair sold in 2017.