Sneakerheads have been collecting shoes for decades, but it wasn’t until the arrival of Nike’s iconic Air Jordan 1 in 1985 that the fascinating subset of hip-hop culture went global. In the wake of Michael Jordan’s triumphs on the court and Nike’s successes off it, the worlds of sportswear and fashion eventually collided. Manufacturers such as Nike and Adidas began to produce shoes in limited quantities—often in conjunction with sports stars and celebrities—and demand for the rarest pairs kick-started an incredible boom in collectability.

Today, the most sought-after sneakers can fetch more than $100,000, with the most significant shoes—including a vanishingly rare pair of hand-made Nikes from 1972—expected to achieve as much as $300,000 when they cross the block at RM Sotheby’s Dare to Dream sale from 31 May-1 June.

As well as a staggering selection of supercars, memorabilia, and motorcycles, Miles Nadal’s Dare to Dream Collection includes one of the biggest and most complete groups of sneakers ever assembled, comprising more than 850 pairs with a combined value in excess of $2m. Incredibly, $1m of that value is contained in just 10 exceptionally rare pairs of shoes. Read on to find out what makes them so special…


1972 Nike Waffle Racing “Moon Shoe”


Many of the priciest shoes in the Dare to Dream Collection are relatively recent, but it’s the oldest pair that holds the most value. That’s not surprising when you realize the significance of the design and how it helped catapult Nike from a small concern in Oregon to a global empire.

The Nike Waffle Racing “Moon Shoe” dates back to the early days of the company, which started with Phil Knight selling imported Japanese sneakers out of the back of his car. As the firm got bigger and the relationship with Onitsuka Tiger broke down, Nike began to produce its own shoes. This pair is one of the very earliest examples, featuring the iconic waffle tread pattern created by Oregon University track coach Bill Bowerman using his wife’s waffle iron. Incredibly, you can even see the cut marks where the rubber sole of the shoe was trimmed using scissors, prior to being hand-cobbled by Geoff Hollister, one of the company’s first employees.

Only a handful of these historic shoes were ever made, with athletes at the 1972 Olympic Trials the intended recipients. They reach far beyond being just collectible sneakers, representing the beginnings of a cultural phenomenon, and currently stand as the most valuable sneakers ever sold.




Michael Jordan Autographed Player Exclusive Rookie Era Nike Air Jordan 1 Game Sneakers


In 1984, Michael Jordan made history when he secured a sponsorship deal with Nike that not only allowed him to create his own line of shoes, but also ensured he would receive a share in their success. It was an arrangement that paved the way for all player collaborations that would follow and led to the creation of the now iconic “Air Jordan.”

Early Air Jordans are highly collectible, but this pair in the striking Chicago Bulls colorway is even more special, having been worn and signed by the basketball great. A closer look at the internal coding reveals that these shoes were made between February and April 1985, and were “Tong Yang Player Samples” created specifically for Jordan. They are accompanied by an LOA from PSA/DNA, and a Letter of Opinion from MEARS Authentication, LLC, with an “Authentic” Final Grade.

Not your size? Then Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s 2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo NASCAR, a 1990 Ferrari Testarossa, or a 1969 Shelby GT500 Fastback may be a better fit, each of which shares the same $150,000 - $200,000 pre-sale estimate.




Nike x Louis Vuitton Air Force 1 & Pilot Case


The Air Force 1 is among Nike’s most celebrated models, but one of the most desirable iterations of the famous show wasn’t even made by the firm. Rather, it was created in the Fiesso d’Artico manufacturing facility of Italian fashion house, Louis Vuitton.

The collaboration came about when celebrated designer and exponent of hip-hop culture, Virgil Abloh, took the helm at Louis Vuitton, becoming the first person of African American descent to lead the brand’s menswear division. Abloh combined the iconic Air Force 1 design with materials from Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection, including leather embellished with the firm’s Monogram and Damier patterns.

Only 200 pairs of these special shoes were made, each presented to its new owner housed in an orange flight case trimmed in leather and featuring the house’s classic S-lock closure and a Swoosh luggage tag. Just 16 pairs were produced in size 10, making this set highly sought-after.




Nike SB Dunk Low Paris


The Nike SB Dunk was unveiled in 2002, a modern reimagining of the famed Dunk basketball shoe spearheaded by Sandy Bodecker and updated to appeal to skateboarders. Just a year later, Nike’s traveling White Dunk Exhibition hit the road for the first time, paying homage to the city of Paris with an exclusive run of approximately 200 pairs of specially designed SB Dunks.

The inspiration for the shoes came from subversive French Expressionist painter Bernard Buffet, whose work features prominently in the striking design. Further collaborations would come the following year, with limited edition Dunks made to celebrate other cities, including New York, London, and Tokyo—but none would match the visual impact and flair of the Paris original. As a result, these shoes are the most desirable of all White Dunk Exhibition collaborations.




Nike MAG Back to the Future 2016


When Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox, slipped on his self-lacing Nike MAG sneakers in Back to the Future Part II, it instantly made the shoes among the most coveted ever created. There was only one problem—they were nothing more than a futuristic movie prop.

The sneakers had been envisioned by Nike designer Tinker Hatfield, and they remained little more than the stuff of dreams until 2011, when Nike finally caved to public demand and put the shoes into limited production. Around 1,500 pairs were auctioned off to benefit The Michael J. Fox Foundation, eventually raising $10m towards Parkinson’s disease research.

On 21 October 2015—the very day Marty McFly made his fateful visit to the future—Nike announced a second, self-lacing version of the Nike MAG that would go on sale the following year. Just 89 pairs were made, each raffled off and contributing another $6.75m to The Michael J. Fox Foundation. This pair of sneakers is from that highly sought-after second release.




Nike Air Jordan 1 High What The Doernbecher


Nike has a long association with the OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, each year hosting the Doernbecher Freestyle, an event that pairs patients at the hospital with the firm’s top designers to create incredible shoe designs that are then sold for charity. In 2021, the global pandemic put an end to the usual event, so in its place Nike released the “What the Doernbecher” Air Jordan 1—a wild celebration of some of the most eye-catching Doernbecher designs of the past two decades.

Each panel and component of the shoe is inspired by a previous design, and both right and left shoes are completely different. The result isn’t just a feast for the eyes, it’s a fitting dedication to the inspirational children who have passed through the hospital’s care. Just 17 pairs were ever created, making this boxed set a true rarity even in sneaker circles.




Adidas Human Race NMD Pharrell x Chanel “Karl Lagerfeld”


French fashion giant Chanel isn’t usually given to collaborations, especially not when it comes to sneakers, so when news that the house was working with Pharrell and Karl Lagerfeld, everyone was understandably rather excited. The release took place in 2017 and was sold via Parisian boutique Colette, with a limited run of just 500 pairs produced.

The design is understandably restrained in color reflecting the Chanel palette, with a white sole, black fly-knit upper, and Pharrell and Chanel branding on the right and left shoe. Pharrell customized his own pair with inspirational quotes scrawled along the sole, but thankfully this pair is in mint, collector-grade condition.




Nike Air Jordan 4 Retro Eminem Encore


Released in 1989 and available in just four colors, the Air Jordan 4 was the second Air Jordan to be designed by Nike legend Tinker Hatfield and the second to feature visible air in the sole. The shoe became a cultural phenomenon, starring in Spike Lee’s critically acclaimed 1989 film Do The Right Thing.

The Air Jordan 4 lent itself to collaboration, and one of the most significant releases came in 2005, coinciding with the launch of Eminem’s album Encore. The rapper partnered with Nike to produce a limited run that featured a unique blue, red, and black design. It is thought that only 50 pairs were created to be given to friends and family.

Nike reprised the design in 2017 to mark the launch of Eminem’s ninth studio album, Revival, though this time only 23 pairs were ever made. The Retro offering features lighter shades of both grey and blue but is otherwise faithful to the original 2005 release. 




Derek Jeter Nike Air Jordan 11 Retro Premium


When legendary Nike designer Tinker Hatfield designed an all-new Air Jordan 11 in 1995, Michael Jordan was playing baseball for the Birmingham Barons. He eventually returned to the sport and the model helped carry him to the 1995-1996 NBA Championship, but it would be another baseball legend who was responsible for one of the most memorable Retro releases.

In 1995, just as Jordan was returning to basketball, Derek Jeter was beginning his 20-year career with the New York Yankees. He would go on to become one of the greatest players in baseball, winning the World Series no fewer than five times, being awarded the Golden Glove five times, and becoming a 14-time All-Star.

To honor the career of one of the great all-time shortstops, in 2017, three years after Jeter’s final game, Nike released a limited run of Air Jordan 11s finished in stunning “Yankee Blue” premium suede. Incredibly, only five pairs were created, each released by scratch-off lottery card at a pop-up event to mark Jeter’s jersey retirement ceremony. These shoes are therefore among the rarest of all Air Jordan variants.




Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro Shinedown


There are few sports shoes quite as iconic as Peter Moore’s legendary Air Jordan 1, famously designed in 1985 for Nike’s groundbreaking partnership with Michael Jordan. Since then, the instantly recognizable shoe has served as the canvas for dozens of collaborations and continues to be at the forefront of fashion.

One long-time fan is Zach Myers, guitarist of US rock band, Shinedown. It was Myers’ passion for sneakers—and Nikes in particular—that led to the creation of the Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro Shinedown, a shoe created to celebrate the band’s sixth studio album, Attention Attention, in 2018.

Finished in yellow, black, and white, with an eye-catching exclamation mark on the heel in a nod to the album’s artwork, the Retro Shinedown is a classic colorway that wears beautifully. Your only trouble will be finding a pair because as a “friends and family” drop, very few were ever made.  






Receive the latest news on the world's greatest cars delivered to your inbox.

By subscribing, you are agreeing to RM Sotheby's Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from RM Sotheby's emails at any time by clicking the 'Unsubscribe' link in any of our emails.