How to kickstart a sneaker collection: buy 99 of world's rarest in one go

Some sneakerheads spend their entire lives painstakingly assembling the perfect collection. Others, like Miles Nadal, have a more direct approach: buying them all at once.

Nadal, a Canadian investor and entrepreneur, secured one of the sneaker world’s most impressive hauls this week when he spent $850,000 on 99 of the rarest trainers in the world. The shoes were set to be auctioned by Sotheby’s and the digital retailer Stadium Goods before he arranged the deal pre-emptively, he told the Guardian.

“I’ve always been an admirer of sneakers but I didn’t know much about it,” he said. “I thought this was, in one fell swoop, the opportunity to have a world-class collection that I could build upon over the next 25 years.”

“I am what I would call a SHIT,” he joked. “A sneakerhead in training.”

One pair eluded his grasp, however. The prize of the bunch, a 1972 Nike Waffle Racing Flat Moon Shoe, has been set aside to continue to auction, with bids starting at $80,000. Nadal said he plans to bid on those sneakers as well.

Other notable shoes from the lot include two pairs of Nike Mags, made famous in the film Back to the Future Part II, the Jeter edition Air Jordan 11 sneakers made to commemorate the baseball star’s retirement, five pairs of Travis Scott’s “Cactus Jack” Air Jordan 4 shoes, and 15 pairs of Kanye West’s Yeezy Boosts.

Nadal, who ran afoul of the SEC in 2017 and paid a fine of $5.5m, said he has usually only worn sneakers as casualwear. His newfound status as a hypebeast has him rethinking that. On his way to Sotheby’s in New York on Wednesday he said he was wearing a pair of sacai x Nike with a suit.

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Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 trainers from the Kanye West range: Miles Nadal now owns 15 pairs of these.

Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 trainers from the Kanye West range: Miles Nadal now owns 15 pairs of these. Photograph: None

“I figured out as of yesterday I can’t have the most important collection of sneakers without being a brand ambassador. Shoemakers’ children should not go barefoot.”

As owner of the Dare to Dream Automobile Museum in Toronto, his shift into sneaker collecting isn’t totally out of the blue.

“I’ve always been a collector and an appreciator of beautiful antiques and art and design. We have a private museum with cars, motorcycles, antiques, a library and a whole apparel section of hats and jackets and helmets. I thought this would fit in very well with the apparel section of our museum.” He hopes over the next 25 years to rack up 500 pairs of sneakers.

Among his favorites of the new collection were the Jeter sneakers, which had the most personal appeal: “That’s probably my emotional favorite.”

“One, I love Derek Jeter, and two, I love the aesthetic of it. It’s got a magnificent blue suede, dark blue leather laces, and it was one of five pairs.”

However, “every one has extraordinary virtues”.

Asked if he had any plans to donate sneakers to kids who might not be able to afford them, Nadal pointed to his philanthropic work around the world, and in particular a tennis academy he established in Toronto to help kids who might not typically have access to the sport.

“You came up with a great idea. We should think about it. What can we do to provide less fortunate kids the opportunity to own iconic sneakers?”

In the meantime he said has no plans to try on any of the rare finds.

“These will be for display only.”



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