pair of Michael Jordan’s game-worn shoes from 1985 sold for more than three times the estimated auction price on Sunday, breaking the world auction record for sneakers, according to Sotheby’s.
Ten bidders from across the globe competed for the basketball legend’s autographed Nike Air Jordan 1 shoes before the online auction closed at $560,000, the auction house said in a news release.
Michael Jordan’s signature is featured in permanent marker on one of the shoes. Credit: Sotheby’s
“Following a bidding war which drove the value up by US $300,000 within the final twenty minutes of the sale, the pair achieved more than 3.5x their $150,000 high estimate,” Sotheby’s said.
The bidders spanned six countries across four continents, according to the auction house.
The sale breaks the world auction record for a pair of sneakers, set last year by Sotheby’s auction of the Nike “Moon Shoe” for $437,500. The waffle-soled running shoes, one of 12 pairs ever made, were designed by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman for the 1972 Olympic Trials.
The Nike Air Jordan 1s were made exclusively for Jordan, and featured red laces instead of black and white.
“Produced between February to April 1985, Jordan wore the present pair of Air Jordan 1s during an early, pivotal point of his career and thus catapulted the sneaker’s popularity,” Sotheby’s said. “Wearing mismatched shoes most of his career, the pair is in a size 13 (left shoe) and a 13.5 (right shoe).”
The right shoe features Jordan’s signature in permanent marker.
Nike also didn’t even offer mid-top sneakers to the public then — only highs and lows, according to Sotheby’s.
“Jordan wore Air Jordan 1s until October 29, 1985, when he broke his foot and subsequently took off 64 games during his second season while healing,” Sotheby’s said. “He wore modified versions of the Air Jordan 1 upon his return to the game.”
The auction coincided with the final episode of “The Last Dance,” the ESPN docuseries about Jordan and the Chicago Bulls NBA dynasty.
The debut of the 10-part series, which aired in April, averaged 6.1 million viewers, the network said in a statement. That makes “The Last Dance” the most-viewed ESPN documentary ever.
Sotheby’s said the shoe sale “shows not only the incredible appeal of Michael Jordan as one of the most recognizable and legendary athletes of all time, but also that sneaker collecting is truly a global and growing market.”
According to Stockx, a website where people can buy and sell sneakers and streetwear, between January 1 and the premiere of the series on April 18, 217 pairs of the 2015 Air Jordan 1 ‘Chicago’ retro trainer were sold for an average price of $925.