“The Sneakers Shop”

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Sotheby’s has officially announced they’re launching a sneaker store – The Sneakers Shop, giving customers across the globe unprecedented access to collection-worthy pieces. According to the auction house, some of the grails that will be featured in the Sneaker Shop include the iconic 1972 Nike Moon Shoe, Michael Jordan game-worn sneakers and more, all part of @shoezeum‘s collection, which he’s been assembling for the past 20 years.

Sotheby’s Ready-To-Buy Market

The Sneakers Shop
Taken from Sotheby’s The Sneaker Shop

This new model for Sotheby’s sneakers doesn’t follow the auction models which it is known for. The buyers can simply add the item to their cart and check-out. For many years Sotheby’s has been actively involved in contemporary streetwear and art, especially as the lines between the two merge more often.

Earlier in May 2020, Sotheby’s set a new world record, breaking one they previously held, for the highest recorded auction for any pairs of sneakers, surpassing the $437,500 for an original deadstock Nike Waffle Racing Flat ‘Moon Shoe’ with a Michael Jordan game-worn and autographed Nike Air Jordan 1 from 1985 sold for $560,000. It is also to note that the auction coincided with the final episode of “The Last Dance”, the iconic ESPN x Netflix production highlighting the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan’s legacy.

As of right now the highlights of the shops opening are a Nike Waffle Racing Flat ‘Moon Shoe’, Tinker Hatfield-signed Air Max 1’s, Nike Dunk Low Lobsters, and even Nike Executive briefcases from 1985. The catalogue, with its vintage trend, even has Blue Ribbon Sports merchandise, the predecessor to the Nike we are all familiar with.

Provenance Matters

The Sneakers Shop

Perhaps most important in this whole process, is the source and provenance of all the items. Sotheby’s for a while has been working with Jordan Geller (@shoezeum) and have facilitated a number of sales of property originally belonging to Geller.

Many sneakerheads would be familiar with his YouTube channel where he has showcased his truly astonishing collection and explored the various stories behind Nike and Jordan’s sneakers.

The images at the bottom feature aforementioned world-record breaking Michael Jordan game-worn and autographed Nike Air Jordan 1‘s from 1985.

Sneaker, art, or asset?

Although the lines between sneaker and art have been blurred for a long time, the association between valuable art and valuable sneakers are now coming to the forefront. Sneakers no longer represent a flex or a collectable, but represent a valuable asset class which a new urban generation are very familiar with.

Cowen Analysts released a report which has now been widely circulated, highlighting the rise in popularity of sneakers in circles beyond sneaker collectors. This report outlined a few key elements which outlined what makes the sneakers akin to other investments.

“We propose the idea that sneakers are now an emerging alternative asset class that 1) earns illiquidity premiums; 2) provides diversification – non-correlated with traditional asset classes; and 3) earns favorable risk reward characteristics,”

Cowen, with insight by John Kernan, Oliver Chen, Krista Zuber and Jared Orr

The report also covers the digital evolution which helps buyers and sellers exchange – this is all highlighted by the huge VC money and corporate shareholding that StockX and Goat have been injected with – all to capitalise on this growing market.

This may be the wave on which Sotheby surfs – they publicly acknowledge that there are a lot more younger, first -time buyers who are interested in these types of property, and it would make sense for them to start to open up to a more contemporary and familiar style of shopping.

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