The founder of the tech company, who died of complications from pancreatic cancer at the age of 56, was an avid wearer of Birkenstock footwear. Now, a pair of brown suede Birkenstock Arizona sandals he wore in the ’70s and ’80s have sold for $218,750 — the highest price paid for a pair of sandals, according to Julien’s Auctions, which facilitated the sale. The lot closed at after 19 bids and the shoes were sold with an accompanying NFT.
The auction house originally listed its expected sale to be between $60,000 and $80,000. New, the sandals retail at $125.
The Birkenstocks were sold in a wearable condition, but were well-used. The description on the website for Julien’s Auctions said it features the original Birkenstock adjustable buckles and stamping on the inner edge of the suede leather foot straps. The cork and jute footbed retain the imprint of Steve Jobs’ feet, which had been shaped after years of use, and the rubber soles of the sandals show heavy wear.
The pair of Birkenstocks were previously owned by Mark Sheff, the house manager to Steve Jobs. Jobs was said to have worn the sandals throughout many historic moments for Apple, including when he worked with cofounder Steve Wozniak to develop the first Apple computer in a Los Altos, California, garage.
Margot Fraser, who introduced the anatomically designed footwear brand to the U.S. after acquiring distribution rights in the ’60s and catapulted it to fame over the next 40 years, said when Jobs discovered the comfort sandal, he wanted to know everything about where it came from and the technical aspects of it. The company was founded in 1774 by Johann Adam Birkenstock.
Jobs’ sandals have been a part of multiple exhibitions, including Salone del Mobile in Milano, Italy, in 2017, at the Birkenstock Headquarters in Rahms, Germany in 2017, and at the brand’s first U.S. store in New York.