Marketers, designers and sneaker enthusiasts have helped elevate the shoe collection to art. Last Sunday, one of the industry’s masterpieces sold for over $ 1.4 million.
The white and red leather Nike Air Ships, the first professional high top shoes worn by Michael Jordan to hit the market, sold for $ 1,472,000 at a luxury sale in Las Vegas, setting a new record price for the auction. Featuring Nike’s iconic swoosh, well-known collector Nick Fiorella bought the kicks. This is the highest sum ever paid for athletic shoes worn by a game and breaks last year’s sales record of $ 615,000 for another pair of Jordan sneakers worn by a game. An icon worthy of its place in history, these sneakers are shrouded in myths and falsehoods.
This pair of Air Ships was a gift from Jordan to Denver ball collector ‘TJ’ Lewis after the Bulls vs. Nuggets on November 1, 1984. It was the same year that Jordan and Nike began a long-standing collaboration on a line of footwear and clothing. Nike gave the rookie his own line of shoes and clothing, which was essential for signing Jordan. It was Nike’s first foray into endorsement, which paved the way for endless collaborations with today’s players.
David Falk, the shooting guard officer, coined the term “Air Jordan” because Nike shoes had air in the soles, and to describe the air up there in Jordan’s stratosphere. Before Nike designer Peter Moore sat down with a young Jordan to create the Air Jordan 1, a shoe that would become the holy grail of the sneakerhead, Nike provided Jordan with Air Ships – in red and white and black versions. and red.
On February 15, 1985, the NBA sent a letter to Nike vice president Rob Strasse, stating that the red and black shoe Jordan wore on the previous October 18 was against league decorum. NBA policy required every player to wear shoes that matched their teammates and team colors. Jordan being Jordan, he continued to wear the shoes and was fined $ 5,000 for each case.
As a result, the Air Jordan 1 was deemed “banned”, launching one of the most successful advertising campaigns of all time and ushering in a revolution for the footwear world. The first orders brought in over $ 55 million for Nike and, after the brand planned to sell 100,000 units, sold between 3 and 4 million pairs in the first year of the shoes’ release.
While it’s now generally accepted that the Air Ship was the true banned sneaker, Jordan has stuck with the apocryphal version of the banned Air Jordans for the past 30 years.
The auctioned pre-Air Jordan white and red leather high top shoes also have a special detail on the heel. In most examples, the back of the shoe has a “Nike Air” sticker on it. On this particular pair, however, they just say “Air”. In the very first games, Michael can be seen wearing this unusual model.
In the circular shape of history, it is fitting that the shoes that started a whole shoe revolution are now the most expensive to sell. Specialty resale and sneaker sites that allow collectors to trade in “player exclusives” and limited edition shoes have fueled a global sneaker resale market valued at $ 6 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow to $ 30 billion dollars by 2030.
While sneakers were once considered a dirty word in fashion circles, athletic-inspired footwear is now a leading luxury category with celebrities sporting exclusive versions on runways and red carpets claiming that second-hand sneakers are rivals of the fine art.
For the story, you can check out the original banned announcement here:
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