Monday, November 21, 2022

New sneaker auctions at Sotheby's

Over the past few years the prestigious auction house Sotheby's has been selling more and 
more sneakers. Some very random stuff, but also some beautiful gems like the following 

the hand-cobbled 1972 Nike Moon Shoe 

An 'interesting' development and more proof that the sneaker craze is not going anywhere 
soon except everywhere.

More pictures and infos after the jump

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, 


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 theNew 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 


As a result, very few pairs have surfaced publicly either for auction or any kind of public viewing.

The Nike “Moon Shoe” is one of the most significant artifacts in the history of the multi-billion 
dollar athletic brand. One of only a small number of pairs known to exist, this Moon Shoe is a 
handmade running shoe designed by Nike co-founder and legendary Oregon University track 
coach Bill Bowerman. 
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, pouring 
rubber into the mold to create the first prototype of the sole. The finished design of the traction 
pattern created better grip and cushion than most running shoes of the time, and the waffle sole 
was Nike’s first major innovation as a brand. 

The “Moon Shoe” got its name from the resemblance between the impression that the waffle pattern 
left in dirt and the famous tracks left on the moon by astronauts in 1969.
This pair was hand-cobbled by one of Nike’s first employees, Geoff Hollister. Due to the handmade 
quality, each pair is irregular and one of a kind. The waffle outsoles are in two pieces because 
Nike did not have the technology to make one piece soles at the time. The soles also have markings 
visible around the perimeter of the rubber from shears that were used to hand cut them into shape. 
The upper features a white nylon construction with black Swooshes hand sewn on each side with 
fishing line. 
The pair does not say “Nike” anywhere inside or outside the design, with only the side Swooshes 
designating them as a Nike shoe.

Before Nike’s “Air Jordan,” came the Nike “Air Ship.” 
Designed by Bruce Kilgore and originally released in 1984, it was the first basketball shoe 
worn by Michael Jordan as an NBA professional. In the preseason and early games of his rookie 
year Michael wore a white and red colorway and also a black and red colorway (now known 
as ‘Bred’) that Nike creative director, Peter Moore, had specially designed for him.
This was a ground-breaking move as basketball shoes of the time were primarily white with 
accent colors. 
Michael’s Air Ships became controversial after the NBA sent a letter to Nike in February of 
1985 informing the company that Jordan’s colorful shoes were a violation of the league’s 
uniformity of uniform clause. Nike responded by creating an infamous ad campaign 
around Jordan’s ‘banned’ shoes (advertising the first Air Jordans) remarking that while “the 
NBA threw them out of the game, fortunately, the NBA can’t stop you from wearing them.”

This specific pair is a retail pair from 1984. 
They are the all-white colorway with a gray Swoosh and are in pristine condition, particularly 
when noting the age of the item. 

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