Nike shoes

One of the first Nike shoes ever made sells for nearly half a million

1972 Nike “Moon Shoe”. Getty Images

According to Sotheby’s, the 1972 Nike “Moon Shoes”, one of the oldest and most iconic ever made by Nike, just sold for a record price of $437,500 at a recent Sotheby’s auction. The rare and highly sought after Waffle Racing Flats, or “Moon Shoes”, were one of the first Nike running shoes designed for the stars of the track at the 1972 Olympic Trials in Munich.

There are only 12 pairs of these handmade Nike “Waffle Moon” and the pair sold at auction is the only one known to be unworn and in perfect condition. The shoes are the brainchild of Nike co-founder and University of Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman, who in 1970-71 invented the first prototype by creatively using his wife’s Belgian waffle iron. and pouring rubber into the mold for the famous “waffle” appearance of the sole. His experiments aimed to produce a new sole for sports shoes that would have enough grip but, above all, that would be light.

Bowerman was obsessed with reducing the weight of his runners’ shoes. He thought his custom shoes would be lighter and cause fewer blisters for his athletes. He wanted to reduce the overall drag on their energy by shaving every ounce he could off the shoe. According to his calculations, removing one ounce (28 g) from a shoe, based on a six-foot stride for a runner, would reduce 55 pounds (25 kg) of lift over a one-mile span (1.6 kilometres).

In 1966, Bowerman’s early designs led to the creation of a running shoe that would become the “Nike Cortez” in 1968. The Cortez flew off the shelves and quickly became one of their shoe designs. best-selling and most recognizable. Bowerman has designed several other Nike shoes, but perhaps the most famous is the waffle design of the early 70s, which inspired the “Moon Shoe” of 1972. The nickname “Moon Shoe” was used because it was said that the waffle soles looked like the footprints left behind. by astronauts on the moon. It is this shoe, made for the 1972 US Olympic track and field team that has just been sold.

Statue of Bill Bowerman in Eugene, Oregon by sculptor Diane Lee Jackson

One of the unfortunate negative by-products of Bowerman’s unusual shoe design method was his health. He designed his shoes in a small, unventilated space, using glue and solvents with toxic components that resulted in severe nerve damage. This lower leg injury left him with significant mobility issues, so much so that, according to Kenny Moore in his book Bowerman and the Oregon Menthe famous trainer and shoe designer couldn’t run in the shoes he shared with the world.

The 1998 biopic Without limits detailed the infamous relationship between record-breaking distance runner Steve Prefontaine and his trainer Bowerman, played by Donald Sutherland. Additionally, Nike’s headquarters are located on Bowerman Drive as a tribute to the company’s co-founder.

Headquarters of Nike

Headquarters of Nike, Eugene, Oregon. Photo by Brandon Carson CC by 2.0

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Canadian investor and car collector Miles Nadal bought the pair of Moon Shoes for $437,500. According to Sotheby’s, he also bought 99 other rare shoes for a total of $850,000 spent at the auction. The auction house went on to say that prior to this huge sale, the highest price paid for shoes at a public auction was $190,373 in 2017 for a pair of signature Converse sneakers that reportedly worn by basketball legend Michael “Air” Jordan in 1984 in Los Angeles. Olympic Games.

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Nadal said the “Moon Shoe” is a “true historical artifact in sports history and pop culture.” He plans to display them, along with the other 99 rare shoes he purchased, at his Dare to Dream Automobile Museum in Toronto.

The original starting price for the Nike Moon shoes was $80,000. The massive final sale price shattered the pre-sale estimate of $160,000. The shoes were part of Sotheby’s ‘Stadium Goods: the Ultimate Sneaker Collection’ online auction.