The first authenticated pair of shoes, actually worn by the late Steve Prefontaine, is now up for auction. The Nike Waffe racers seen below are in pretty darn good condition at 48 years old. The auction house, Sotheby’s, will be handling the event.
It was bound to happen, and some lucky investor/fan will own them for $150k-$250k, which is the expected price by Sotheby’s. I wonder out loud why NIKE is not bidding for it, so that many could see it in on the NIKE campus in Beaverton, Oregon.
The late Steve Prefontaine is a time capsule view into the 1970s and how America was at the time. Post-Watergate, and just before Montreal, Steve Prefontaine was brash, funny, and opinionated. He also ran with his heart, soul, and everything else he could throw at his competitors.
Steve Prefontaine was the first athlete sponsored by NIKE in 1974. He had turned down a Pro Running circuit contract with the old ITA that offered him $250,000 to go pro. Prefontaine, who had taken 4th in the Munich 1972 Olympic 5,000 meters, wanted to run the Montreal 1976 Olympics and win the 5,000 meters.
Steve Prefontaine was 25 years old when he died at the end of May 1975. At the time of his death, he held all American records from 2000m to 10,000m. Steve was a man of some complication who developed a running program in an Oregon prison and worked trade shows for the new brand, NIKE, that was his sponsor. His relationships with Bill Bowerman and Bill Dellinger were as different as different could be, but they both provided support as Steve developed his running and racing skills.
Steve Prefontaine is part of the legacy of NIKE. Each year, one of the finest meetings in the world, the NIKE Pre Classic, is held at Hayward Field to celebrate all things track & field to remind NIKE employees of their roots and history.
Check out the description below from Sotheby’s , and let me know if it gives you goosebumps.
The first paragraph of the Sotheby’s listing is below; you may read the rest (well done) at the link below:
NIKE, NIKE OREGON WAFFLE, SIZE 9.5
NYLON, RUBBER, COTTON
Steve Prefontaine, universally known as ‘Pre’, was a running prodigy.
Born in Coos Bay, Oregon, in 1951, Pre developed his passion for running and his hunger to be the best in the world at Marshfield High School. In 1965, when he started high school, he joined the Cross Country Team, where he was coached by Walt McClure. After failing to qualify for the Oregon State Track Meet as a Sophomore, Pre vowed to never lose a high school race again, and that is exactly what he did. Pre went undefeated in his final two years of high school. During his senior year, he set a national record when he ran 2 miles in 8:41.5.
The link to the complete listing is here: https://www.sothebys.com/en/buy/auction/2022/invictus-part-ii/steve-prefontaines-personal-and-worn-nike-oregon