Buying and selling vintage Nike shoes is a huge business. It can be profitable to invest in old Nike’s, but it can also be tons of fun. Maybe you have a chance to purchase the identical pair of running shoes you wore back in your track days. Or maybe there’s a pair your favorite athlete wore when you were growing up—Nostalgia, style, culture, and profit. Investing in vintage Nike shoes has never been more popular.
Recently I read Shoe Dog, the memoir written by Phil Knight. As co-founder of Nike back in 1964, the book chronicles the early struggles of the shoe company. It tells the story of survival and eventual success, where now the brand is one of the most recognized in the world.
The book is full of incredible stories on how Phil Knight fought through obstacles time and time again to keep the company alive. One specific breakthrough Phil made was the design of the track shoe. The ability to put out a great shoe that track stars wanted to wear was a turning point for the company. Once Nike had one track star wearing their shoes, it gave them exposure to show their ability to create incredible designs.
Vintage Nike shoes are probably some of the coolest-looking sneakers of all time. From the Cortez, which was one of the biggest hits at the young company, to the Oregon Waffle, which was specifically targeted to one single geographic area. The Nike swoosh with original designs customized to a specific sport was a huge breakthrough. Not only did Nike design shoes for specific sports, but they customized shoes for individual athletes, which was a new concept at the time.
Bringing In The Swoosh
In 1970, Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman started to experiment by pouring rubber into his wife’s waffle iron. He soon discovered an innovation that would change the running world forever. It turned out that the waffle sole on a running shoe was a groundbreaking advantage over traditional track shoes at the time.
Later the next year, the company changed its name from Blue Ribbon Sports to Nike. Named after the Greek goddess of victory, the brand was hired Carolyn Davidson, who was a design student at Portland University, to come up with a logo for the new Nike shoe. For $35, Carolyn produced the Nike “Swoosh,” and it became one of the most recognizable logos of all time.
In 1972 the first version of the “Moon Shoe” was produced. These were specifically designed for runners competing in the upcoming US Olympic trials. Shortly after that, Nike released the Cortez. This was the first shoe to feature foam for cushioning. The shoe was released in a variety of colors for the next several years.
Shoe collectors have been buying and selling these Nike shoes for decades. The vintage Nike shoes from the ’70s & ’80s are some of the most expensive and sought after sneakers ever made.
A pair of the original Waffle Racer shoes, nicknamed “Moon Shoe,” recently sold at auction for half a million dollars. Whether you’re trying to make a fashion statement or just looking to add to your sneaker collection, you can’t go wrong with the vintage Nike shoes. Year after year, the cultural significance and values continue to climb.