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Nike Co-Founder Bill Bowerman 1960s Pre-Nike Handmade Black and Blue Track Spikes

Nike Co-Founder Bill Bowerman 1960s Pre-Nike Handmade Black and Blue Track Spikes

Nike Co-Founder Bill Bowerman 1960s Pre-Nike Handmade Black and Blue Track Spikes

Authenticity guarantee

What is guaranteed?

BILL BOWERMAN HANDMADE TRACK SPIKES

Leather, Glue, Metal

Circa Early 1960s

The track spikes are in fair condition, consistent with use and signs of aging. For a more detailed condition report, please email Brahm.Wachter@sothebys.com.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

Bill Bowerman represents the heart of Nike. One of Nike’s founders, Bowerman was one of the greatest innovators of his generation in regards to shoe ingenuity and design. Obsessed with weight and performance, Bowerman would build shoes for his University of Oregon runners from scratch, often using an assemblage of raw materials. This pair represents an important chapter in the origin of one of America’s greatest companies, Nike.


Handmade by Bowerman in the early 1960s, this black and blue mismatched pair features the original white laces along with four long metal spikes on each sole as they were designed for use on a cinder track. 


This particular pair was produced by Bowerman specifically for Clayton Steinke, who ran cross-country and track for the Oregon Ducks from 1960-64. Bowerman gave these spikes to Steinke in October 1960 during his freshman year at Oregon. At that time, Bowerman preferred to test his experimental handmade spikes on underclassmen.


In track, Steinke competed in mid-distance and steeplechase. In 1962, Steinke and the Oregon track team won the school’s first NCAA Track and Field Championship. Steinke garnered All-American honors in steeplechase. Later that year, Steinke traveled as an alternate for Oregon’s famed 4 x 1-mile relay team that competed in a meet against the New Zealand national team.


The uppers, bottoms, and spikes all show wear including fading color, dirt stains, and slight deterioration of the metal spikes. The original white laces have turned a light brownish color likely due to dirt and aging. Brown glue can be seen throughout the uppers, especially where layers of material are held together.


Bowerman was famously protective of his handmade spikes and kept most of them in his personal possession. As a result, very few pairs have surfaced publicly either for auction or any kind of public viewing.