Apple Once Made Shoes? Now Auctioning at Rs.37 Lakhs
From tech giant to footwear? Uncover a lesser-known side of Apple's journey as a pair of their exclusive employee sneakers from the '90s hits Sotheby's auction block, all for a hefty sum of ₹37 lakhs.
Apple Inc., a titan in the tech industry, has been crafting an intriguing history that extends beyond its cutting-edge digital devices. Today, an intriguing memento of that history, a pair of Apple-branded sneakers from the mid-1990s, is set to create ripples in the collector's world, with an auction slated at Sotheby's.
Crafted exclusively for Apple's employees and distributed as a unique giveaway at a National Sales Conference in the 1990s, these sneakers are more than just footwear. They encapsulate a fascinating chapter in Apple's journey - a time when the company extended its innovative reach into the world of custom merchandise.
Carrying an impressive price tag of ₹37 lakhs ($50,000), these rare Apple sneakers, predominantly white, sport the old-school rainbow Apple logo on the tongue and lateral quarter. Despite minor signs of their age such as glue stains and a slight yellowing around the midsoles, they stand as highly coveted collectibles in the resale market.
Sotheby's sheds light on Apple's lesser-known ventures into apparel and accessories. In 1985, Apple's foray into this arena saw over 22,000 customers buying Apple-branded clothing and accessories. Collaborating with renowned brands like Lamy, Honda, and Braun, Apple lent its iconic branding to various white label products.
The pair of sneakers, available for the public to bid on for the first time, isn't entirely alone. Another pair was found at a California garage sale in 2016 and sold at Heritage Auction with a starting bid of $30,000 (approx. ₹22 lakhs). According to Leon Benrimon, Heritage Auction’s director of modern and contemporary art, the pair were probably prototypes from the late 1980s or early 1990s.
In 1986, Apple experimented with a clothing line, the 'Apple Collection', encompassing various company-branded items. However, these exclusive sneakers were conspicuously absent from the catalogue.
For collectors, these ₹37 lakh sneakers represent a unique chance to own a piece of Apple's innovative legacy. More than just a sale, the auction is an opportunity to possess an item that embodies Apple's historic fusion of technology and fashion.