Rare Sneakers Sold at Online Auction

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. auction / ˈɔk ʃən / (v) – to sell something at a public sale with bidders

    When celebrities auction their clothes, the profits are often donated to charity.

  2. up for grabs / ʌp fər græbz / (idiom) – available and ready to be taken by anyone

    There are still 10 free movie tickets up for grabs.

  3. resemble / rɪˈzɛm bəl / (v) – to closely look like someone or something

    My grandfather’s house was designed to resemble a church.

  4. go for / goʊ fər / (idiom) – to be sold at a certain price

    The rare painting went for $1,000,000.

  5. massive / ˈmæs ɪv / (adj) – very large in scale, amount, or degree

    The ad campaign gained massive attention from the public.


Read the text below.

New York-based auction house Sotheby’s /ˈsʌðəbiz/ put 100 pairs of the rarest sneakers in the world up for bidding last July.

Sotheby’s is known to auction contemporary fine art pieces and collections, as well as real estate. The auction house partnered with Stadium Goods, a sneaker marketplace, to hold “Stadium Goods: The Ultimate Sneaker Collection Online.” The entire collection sold for $1,287,500.

One of the rarest sneakers up for grabs at the auction was a pair of 1972 Nike “Moon Shoe.” The footwear got its name because its soles resemble the astronaut shoe pattern that was left during the 1969 moon landing. The auctioned pair is handmade, unworn, and is the only known remaining pair out of the original 12 shoes. It was estimated to cost up to $160,000, but the pair went for a record-breaking $437,500.

Only one buyer got a hold of all 100 pairs of shoes, including a replica of the self-tying shoes from the movie Back to the Future 2 and limited-edition shoes co-created by famous American rappers.

In a press release, Sotheby’s head of e-commerce, Noah Wunsch, said that the sneaker auction was meant to unite fashion, art, and culture. Wunsch also said that Sotheby’s diversifying the items it auctions to include sneakers has resulted in the company reaching a younger demographic of bidders.

Stadium Goods CEO John McPheters said that a market for collectible shoes exists since interest in shoes is massive and international. He adds that their value will continue to increase as long as collectors remain interested in shoes.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• In your opinion, what factors drive up the value of simple products, like shoes? Discuss.
• What products are worth paying a huge amount of money for? Why?

Discussion B

• Why do you think some people auction items that are rare or valuable? Discuss.
• What item that you own would you be willing to auction? Why?