California man’s ‘funky, old’ Nikes sell for $50,000

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Do you ever wonder what you might have tucked away at home that could be worth a lot of money?

Chances are an old pair of shoes is probably not what comes to mind.

Last month, one Sacramento man sold a pair of Nike running shoes for $50,000.

“I kind of had an idea what they were worth, so yeah, but it far exceeded that,” Dave Russell said with a laugh.

So, what exactly made the shoes so special?

For starters, they were given to Russell at the 1972 Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon. Russell was 25 at the time and vying for a spot as a marathoner for team USA.

The rare kicks, known as Moon Shoes for their waffle-like bottom, were among the first prototype shoes designed by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman.

Only 12 of them were ever made.

“They were very unorthodox shoes. They were very exotic because the sole was completely different. It was made on a waffle iron. It was glued to the bottom of the shoe. The shoe was completely handmade," Russell explained.

“Oh, I loved them, they fit like a glove.”

It wasn't until a few months ago that Russell looked into selling the shoes.

A hotel chain that just so happened to be building a Nike-themed property in Eugene wanted to put them on display.

“And they wanted something that would say, ‘This is Nike town,” Russell told KTXL. “And here are these shoes that were a prototype before Nike was even a public shoe.”

It was pretty good timing but Russell said he still wonders, "Who'd pay this kind of money for some funky, old shoes?”

Russell said the $50,000 he received will go to his kids and grandkids.

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