To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Nike, auction house Sotheby’s has curated a collection of 100-plus collaborations, unreleased pairs, handmade prototypes and more dubbed “Fifty.”
For the auction, Sotheby’s teamed up with retired NFL champion Victor Cruz, who served as guest curator. The auction house said in a statement that Cruz picked his favorite sneakers, which are “distinguished not only by their singularity, but the unique stories behind them.”
The online auction will be open for bidding from Nov. 29 through Dec. 13, and the collection will be on display at Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries in New York City starting Nov. 30 as part of the Luxury Week exhibition and sale series.
Cruz’s picks include the Air Jordan 1 Retro High x Off-White “Chicago” from “The Ten” collection with Virgil Abloh, the Nike x Louis Vuitton Air Force 1 with the pilot case, the Fragment Design x Air Jordan 1 Retro friends-and-family, the Air Jordan 3 Retro sample for Nipsey Hussle’s “Victory Lap” album and the Nike SB Dunk High “What the Doernbecher” sample.
The lone Air Jordan sneaker of the Off-White x Nike “The Ten” collection from 2017 was the Air Jordan 1 Retro High, which paid homage to the “Chicago” colorway of the iconic shoe. The sneaker is dressed in a Chicago Bulls-inspired red, white and black color scheme, and includes special design elements such as “Air” printed on the midsole, Off-White branding on the medial side and signature zip-tie and more.
The Nike x Louis Vuitton and Nike Air Force 1 by Virgil Abloh is executed with the luxury house’s emblematic monogram and damier patterns with natural cowhide piping. Also, each pair comes with a Louis Vuitton pilot case, which is from its spring ’22 collection and was reinterpreted from its archive in an iconic orange colorway and made of monogram taurillon Leather.
This friends-and-family pair of the Fragment Design x Air Jordan 1 features an atypical larger, black-outlined Fragment Design logo at the heel, while the wider release features no outline and a smaller logo.
The collection features an Air Jordan 3 Retro celebrating the “Victory Lap” album by late rap star Nipsey Hussle. It is reminiscent of the Air Jordan 3 Black Cement and features predominantly black leather uppers, the brand’s iconic elephant print and Nike Air branding on the heel. What’s more, the “Victory Lap” “VL” logo can be found near the medial collar of each shoe, as well as underneath the translucent outsole.
In 2007, Nike created the ‘”What The Dunk” by combining design elements from 31 separate Nike SB Dunks. For the “What the Doernbecher” version, Nike which utilized design elements from 13 different designs from the Doernbecher series, which is an annual benefit of the OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Ore.
The lineup features a signed pair of the Air Jordan 1, which has gone on to become one of the most iconic designs in the history of both streetwear and basketball. The coding on the inside of the shoes reads “850204 TYPS,” which Sotheby’s said refers to the date of production — 1985 between Feb. 2. and April 4. Also, the auction house said TYPS stands for “Tong Yang Player Sample,” which means they were produced in the Tong Yang factory.
Handmade by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman in the early 1960s, the collection features a mismatched pair with their original white laces and four long metal spikes on each sole that were designed for use on a cinder track. This particular shoe, Stotheby’s said, was produced by Bowerman specifically for Clayton Steinke, who ran cross-country and track for the Oregon Ducks from 1960-1964.
Lastly, the range includes the Nike SB Dunk Low Pro “Paris” Bernard Buffet promo sample, which is executed in a “Rope/Special Cardinal” colorway with canvas overlays using the artwork of French painter Bernard Buffet.