The Nike Trainers, Forged By A Waffle Maker, Expected To Make $150K At Auction

The Nike Waffle Spike Shoe was first invented 50 years ago
12:00, 21 Jun 2020

Furloughed or not, you’ve hopefully managed to save a pretty penny during the coronavirus lockdown with virtually nothing to splurge on (silver linings and all that…).

Debating what to purchase with that hard-retained cash? Look no further than the iconic historic Nike Waffle Spike Shoe. Yes the Nike Waffle Spike Shoe, the 50-year-old kicks so-named due to inventor and Nike Inc. co-creator Bill Bowerman, using his wife’s waffle maker to design the prototype for the sole to give it its unique tread.

Bowerman, who passed away in 1999, was truly a 20th Century Captain America figure, a sports coach who trained 31 Olympic athletes, 51 All-Americans, 12 American record-holders, 22 NCAA champions and 16 sub- four minute milers. The man knew what he was doing.

The auction house Sotheby’s has now announced a pair of those Waffle Spike Shoes crafted by Bowerman will be offered to bidders until June 26. They are expected to sell for between $130,000 and $150,000.

Surely you’ve got that silver stored away after three plus months of self-isolation, right?

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One person who most certainly has is Canadian entrepreneur Miles Nadal. Just last year, in 2019, Nadal must have decided he was a bit bored and purchased a round 100 of the world’s rarest sneakers at auction for $1.2M. He first bought 99 pairs, including the Travis Scott Air Jordan 4s and the Back to the Future starring Nike Mags (the ones that self lace), for $850,000, before presumably finding a bit of spare change in his pocket and returning the next day to acquire Bowerman’s 1972 Nike Waffle Racing Moon Shoes for $437,500. 

Only a few versions of the Waffle shoe for Sotheby’s sale are known to exist, with another prototype residing in the archives at the University of Oregon. Sotheby’s Director of eCommerce Development Brahm Wachter says that there is a global desire for retro citing the recent Michael Jordan sale (His Airness’ first-ever Air Jordan sneakers sold for $560,000 this May), which saw a total 70% of the bidders new to Sotheby’s, specifically a client range aged between 19 and 50, indicating “a wide and active market” for sneakers.

Shudder at the thought of 19 year-olds having the type of wonga to spunk on shoes.

Wachter added, “we are looking at key cultural and historical moments in film, sports, and music, and we have sourced the rarest and most coveted sneakers in relation to these moments.”

It wouldn’t be at all surprising if that $150,000 marker was surpassed when the hammer comes down on June 26 and someone gets their feet finally in a pair of half-century old athletic shoes.

And what happened to that old waffle iron? Rusty, broken, and definitely not to prep your breakfast delicacies, Bowerman’s utensil has pride of place in the middle of Prefontaine Hall at Nike's World Headquarters near Beaverton, Oregon.