According to Sotheby’s, a pair of worn-out track and field spikes made by Bill Bowerman, Nike’s co-founder — with a “prototype” logo — could sell for $1.2 million.
Sotheby’s stated that “this rare pair of track spikes, made in 1960s and modified in early 1970s, represents an important chapter of the origins Nike brand,” in a statement.
These shoes were made originally for Harry Jerome, a Canadian track and field athlete and Olympian.
“The present pair includes the use of four prototype logos. These show Bill [Bowerman] trying out the concept of a brand and bear a remarkable similarity to the Nike Swoosh,” said the Sotheby’s statement.
Jerome has set seven world records in his career and was awarded a bronze medal at 1964 Summer Olympic Games, Tokyo.
Sotheby’s stated that the shoes have Waffle soles underneath each set of track spikes – a first innovation by Nike in 1972 when they introduced the Nike Moon Shoe.
“Very few pairs of this nature are known, and one of them is kept at the Special Collections and University Archives of the Knight Library of the University of Oregon.”
Bowerman was inspired by a single design at a Fossil breakfast table, Oregon.
Blue Ribbon Sports was founded by Phil Knight, an ex-athlete and Bowerman, a track-and-field coach at the University of Oregon in 1964.
Bowerman watched for months as his athletes used metal cleats to tear up the school track. Bowerman wondered if there were shoes that could provide grip in adverse weather conditions without the use of spikes.
He and his wife had been enjoying waffles for breakfast on a Sunday in 1971 when he realized the solution.
Blue Ribbon Sports was renamed Nike, Inc. in 1978. The company soon launched a clothing line, and Michael Jordan was signed to an endorsement deal.
A pair of Converse Fastbreak sneakers worn during the 1984 Olympic Trials by NBA great Jordan will be on auction. They are expected to fetch as high as $100,000. Michael Johnson’s “Golden Shoes” for track and field will also be on sale.
Online bidding will begin on July 23, the day of the Opening Ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, on Sothebys.com.