'Ultra-rare' Apple sneakers up for sale by auctioneer Sotheby's for staggering amount

Apple sneakers
A pair of 'ultra-rare' Apple sneakers is now being sold by auctioneers Sotheby’s for US$50,000. Photo credit: Courtesy Sotheby's

By Issy Ronald of CNN

When you think of Apple, it's likely that what first springs to mind is a conveyor belt of revolutionary tech rather than a pair of sneakers.

But a pair of "ultra-rare" Apple sneakers is now being sold by auctioneers Sotheby's for US$50,000, fetching a higher price tag than any current Apple product.

Complete with the rainbow Apple logo on the tongue and side, the white trainers were custom-made for the company's employees as a one-time giveaway at a National Sales Conference in the mid-1990s.

"Having never reached the general public, this particular pair of sneakers is one of the most obscure in existence," Sotheby's said in its catalogue.

Although producing sneakers is unusual for Apple, in 1986 the tech brand released a range of clothing and accessories dubbed 'The Apple Collection', featuring mugs, umbrellas, bags, keyrings and even a sailboard, all emblazoned with the rainbow Apple logo, according to a catalogue published that year. The previous year, 22,000 people bought Apple shirts from the company.

These were known as "white label products" - manufactured by a third-party company such as Lamy, Honda or Braun, but sold by Apple using its own branding and logo.

The size 10.5 trainers are new in their box and come with a pair of red laces, Sotherby's said, but they show some signs of ageing including yellowing around the midsoles and glue as well as light marks on the toe boxes.

This pair of sneakers is not the first vintage Apple product to have sold for an eye-watering sum in recent months.

A first-edition 2007 iPhone sold for more than US$190,000 at auction last month, far exceeding the auctioneer's estimate, while a pair of old Birkenstock sandals owned and worn by the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs fetched $200,000 at an auction in November 2022.