National Sneaker Day: 5 items to bring collector cash

By Antoinette Rahn

Happy National Sneaker Day (Oct. 9)! We understand these ‘holidays’ aren’t traditional, but they are fun. We can all use a little more fun in life, right?

With that, here are a four cool kicks (a word today’s kids are using for sneakers) and related memorabilia that sold at auction.

Time-Traveling Sneaker

• If you were around in 1989, it’s possible you went to the theater to see “Back to the Future 2.” There were many fascinating gadgets and moments in this movie. One highlight was Marty McFly’s self-lacing Nike Air Mags. Tinker Hatfield created the design in 1988. Pairs of this shoe have sold at auction a few times in the 2010s. Highlights include the $200,000 paid for one pair as part of a 2016 benefit auction. The series of auctions benefitted the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Another set sold through Heritage Auctions earlier this year for $52,500.

Catch a glimpse of what inspired the hype of this futuristic sneakers….

— Given his status as a legend of the hardwood, it’s no real surprise to Michael Jordan’s name on this list. We see many game-worn sneakers owned by Jordan have crossed the auction block. The pair we’re focusing on is the Converse sneakers Jordan donned during the 1984 Summer Olympics. The U.S. team took the gold, beating their opponents by an average of 32 points in each game. This pair of sneakers, worn by Jordan during the award-winning play finished at $190,373 during a June 2017 auction presented by SCP Auctions. 

Shoe Company Ads Collectible

Eddie Van Halen Chuck Taylor’s.

• Although vintage sneakers are exceptionally cool, there’s certainly room at the table for brilliant sneaker advertising items like this item from Keds. This seldom-seen die-cut advertisement features individual players on the field of play — a standup ballpark scene — with the Keds slogan at the center. The retention of color on this vintage advertising item certainly plays into its unique status, as does the condition (Excellent), and the fact that a die-cut set like this is an unusual find. This item of Keds advertising memorabilia sold for $3000 during an auction at Lelands in 2009.

— It’s not only athletes whose sneakers command interest at auction. Back in June of 2004, this pair of custom-made ‘Chuck Taylor’ ultra-high top All-Star sneakers grabbed bidder attention before finishing at $572. The extreme height of these high-top sneakers adds to the interest, but the bigger draw is likely that the shoes were custom made for revolutionary rock ‘n’ roll guitarist Eddie Van Halen. The pattern on the shoes mirrors that of the design on his recognizable guitar of Van Halen’s 1988 tour. (Photo by Lelands).

Presley Marketing Machine At Work

• Almost as quickly as Elvis Presley found fame with his original music and performance style, the Presley marketing machine made him a household name. Sometimes all it takes is a name and a face to move inventory, which is what took place when these Elvis Presley sneakers hit the shelves in 1956. Randolph Manufacturing created this style of a sneaker, and at auction in 2012 Heritage Auctions’ brought this worn pair of sneakers and the original box to auction where the lot sold for $3,000.

The next time you come across a pair of sneakers, consider the possibilities.

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