Olympic memorabilia: Rare pair of hand-crafted track cleats by Nike co-founder expected to fetch up to $ 1.2 million at auction


“This rare pair of track cleats made in the 1960s and modified in the early 1970s represents an important chapter in the origins of the Nike brand,” Sotheby’s said in a statement.

The shoes were originally designed for track and field sprinter and Canadian Olympian Harry Jerome.

“The current pair features the use of four logo prototypes, which show Bill [Bowerman] experimenting with the concept of a brand, and happens to have a remarkable resemblance to the Nike Swoosh, “added the statement from Sotheby’s

Jérôme set a total of seven world records during his career and won a bronze medal at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

“The shoes feature waffle soles under each set of track cleats – the first notable innovation introduced by Nike when the Nike Moon Shoe premiered at the 1972 Olympic trials,” Sotheby’s said.

“Very few pairs exist, one of which is held in the Special Collections and Academic Archives of the Knight Library at the University of Oregon.”

Converse Fastbreak sneakers worn by NBA great Michael Jordan during the 1984 Olympic trials.
The sole design came in a moment of bulb inspiration for Bowerman at a breakfast table in Fossil, Oregon.

In 1964, Bowerman, then a track coach at the University of Oregon, and one of his former athletes, Phil Knight, founded Blue Ribbon Sports.

For months, Bowerman watched his athletes’ metal cleats tear up the school’s new track. He wondered if there was a shoe that could provide traction in bad weather without cleats.

One Sunday morning in 1971, he and his wife were having waffles for breakfast when the solution finally came to him – and waffle sole was born.

In 1978, Blue Ribbon Sports changed its name to Nike, Inc. Soon after, the company launched a clothing line and signed a sponsorship agreement with Michael Jordan.

The auction will also include a pair of Converse Fastbreak sneakers worn by NBA great Jordan during the 1984 Olympic trials – valued at $ 100,000 – and athletics star Michael Johnson’s “Golden Shoes”.

Online auctions will begin on July 23, the opening ceremony day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, on Sothebys.com.

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