8 Pairs of Super-Rare Nike Sneakers Are Being Auctioned Off


Eight pairs of one-of-a-kind Nike sneakers are set to go under the hammer at a ‘Cult Canvas‘ auction ending this week, on Wednesday, September 30.

Coordinated by luxury auction house Sotheby’s, the online auction event is said to be the “first-ever sale of ultra-rare, artist-designed Nike sneakers”.

In hosting the Cult Canvas auction, Sotheby’s is giving sneakerheads the chance to own one-off, limited-edition pairs and production samples of Nike kicks, all of which were created in collaboration with, or incorporate in some way, an artist’s work.

Notable artists featured in the curated selection include Leonard Hilton McGurr (AKA Futura 2000), Jeff Staple, James Arizumi, Katsuya Terada, Michael Lau, and Bernard Buffet.

“This is a highly curated and extremely selective grouping of some of the most important artist-created sneakers and designs to be released in Nike’s history,” says Brahm Wachter, director of e-commerce development at Sotheby’s. “Several of the items here are among the most coveted releases by Nike.”

Among the collection is a pair of the ‘NYC Pigeon’ Nike Dunk Low Pro SB. Often referred to as the “the sneaker which started it all” — that upon its launch in 2005, singlehandedly began a frenzy that went on to define sneaker culture — these sneakers are predicted to sell at auction for US $25,000 – $30,000 (AU $35,470 – $42,560).

Made in collaboration with Jeff Staple, Nike produced only 150 pairs of the shoe. The pair up for auction is signed by Staple and is inspired by New York City’s pigeons.

“These sneakers possess historical and cultural significance, rarity, and aesthetic appeal. They are art objects created by some of the most prominent figures in the category,” says Ryan Chang, founder and chief curated for Applied Arts NYC.

Image: Sotheby’s

A pair of Leonard Hilton McGurr ‘Futura’ Nike Dunk High Pro SB ‘FLOM’ sneakers are also expected to make a significant dent in one lucky buyer’s wallet.

Leonard Hilton McGurr, known as ‘Futura 2000’ collaborated with Nike on these kicks, of which only 24 pairs were made. Most of the samples were given to friends and family so the rarity of these sneakers means they’re estimated to sell for between US $50,000 – $60,000 (AU $70,940 – $85,100).

At the time these sneakers were created, Futura was circling with NYC’s most notable artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Dondi White.

This work ‘FLOM’ stands for ‘For Love or Money’, which is why the pattern features varying currencies of cash.

futura 2000 nike sneakers
Image: Sotheby’s

The most expensive sneakers estimated to sell at the auction event is a pair of Bernard Buffet x Nike Dunk Low Pro SB. The ‘Paris’ production test is a sample shoe that never went to regular release, which is why it is perhaps the rarest, and thus the steepest, of them all.

Estimated to sell for between US $70,000 – $80,000 (AU $99,200 – $113,400), the pair represents the city of Paris and features canvas overlays from the artworks of French painter, Bernard Buffet.

Sotheby’s says that those who sought out the shoe were often looking out for Buffet’s clown and ballerina paintings, both of which can be found in this pair, though were missing from many others made.

Image: Sotheby’s

The Cult Canvas auction event is running now. Bidding will conclude at the end of the month. You can view the full range available here.

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