Sneakers Give Art a Run for its Money at First-of-a-kind Sotheby’s Auction

Sotheby’s in New York announced on Thursday its first-ever auction dedicated to sneakers, underlining their fast-growing status as collectibles able to command tens of thousands of dollars.

Sotheby’s is teaming up with streetwear marketplace Stadium Goods to auction 100 pairs of the rarest sneakers ever produced, including a sample of one of the first Nike Inc running shoes with a pre-sale high estimate of $160,000.

The Nike “Moon Shoe” is one of only 12 pairs created. It was designed by Nike co-founder and track coach Bill Bowerman for runners at the 1972 Olympics trials and the pair up for auction is handmade, Stadium Goods said.

Other sneakers include 2011 and 2016 versions of the “Back to the Future Part II” limited-edition shoes by Nike that were inspired by the 1989 film starring Michael J. Fox.

The 2016 version of the futuristic shoe, complete with self-lacing technology, is expected to sell for between $50,000 and $70,000.

“We’ve long talked about how sneakers are this generation’s luxury fashion, and being able to collaborate with a brand with the history and esteem of Sotheby’s is further proof of that,” John McPheters, co-founder of New York-based Stadium Goods, said in a statement.

Other shoes in the online sale, beginning on Thursday and ending on July 23, include sought-after and limited-edition sneakers produced by Adidas, Air Jordan and rapper Kanye West’s Yeezy collection.

Noah Wunsch, global head of eCommerce at Sotheby’s, said the sneaker sale was bringing together “art, culture and fashion” and marked another step in the auction house’s expansion of offerings of highly coveted luxury goods.

The shoes are on public exhibit at Sotheby’s in New York through July 23.

The highest price fetched at public auction for sneakers is thought to be $190,373 in 2017 for a pair of signed Converse shoes said to have been worn by Michael Jordan in the 1984 Olympic basketball final. The shoes were auctioned through California sports memorabilia company SCP.