The 1972 prototype.

RUN WITH IT: Trying to capitalize on the demand for hard-to-find sneakers, the collectibles platform Rally will be offering shares of a pair of 1972 Nike prototype Moon Shoe to hundreds of people.

There are said to be 12 pairs of the rare kicks, which were designed by Nike cofounder and University of Oregon running coach Bill Bowerman, who used his wife’s waffle iron to design the waffle-soled running shoes. Last year a pair of the Moon Shoe that had never been worn sold for $437,500 at auction at Sotheby’s.

The Rally-owned hand-cut pair have been worn, and were part of a private collection for 25 years, according to the company’s cofounder Rob Petrozzo. Bowerman’s modern athletic shoe earned him induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014, according to a spokesman for the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Rally has been on the lookout for a pair for a year or so, and the company purchased them last summer for $180,000. Petrozzo said the sneakers have been an important part of Nike history and had been worn by athletes, although it is not known which ones. Noting how Moon Shoes “come to market now and then,” he said, “To get our hands on what was essentially the birth of Nike, which led to 50 years of a similar silhouette with a waffle sole that transcends sports at this point, was super important to us.”

Offering the fractional approach to ownership is meant above all to provide access to a group that still cares about the asset, the Rally executive said. He declined to comment on projections. The sneakers will be displayed in the company’s showroom in SoHo.

As for sneakers being a pandemic-proof category, he said, “What we’ve seen is when things relate to sports or the legends, especially when you think about your childhood, that is a really unique and comforting investment. Whether that is discretionary or equity, it makes you feel good right now. Sports collectibles in general are definitely having their moment right now. We were lucky enough to source some of the most unique sports items across all categories in the last year or so,” said Petrozzo.

With Rally’s multidimensional offerings, the company is trying to relay “the idea that an investment doesn’t necessarily have to be stocks, or your IRA or 401(k). All of these things, whether that’s sneakers or sports memorabilia or horses, have the potential for long-term and short-term gains. There’s also a little bit more of an emotional connection as well, and it’s not just a ticker symbol,” Petrozzo said.

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