Aaron Borland is a bit of a shoe collector, with more than 40 pairs to his name. And he’s also had his share of luck in the past, having won a Ken Griffey Jr. autographed ball when the former MLB slugger went into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
But nothing could prepare him for what happened Monday when Borland — a St. Paul resident and former Gophers football recruiting assistant — received a notification that he had won a pair of extremely rare “Back to the Future” Nike Mag self-lacing shoes in an online drawing.
To put it in perspective: only 89 pairs of the 2016 model exist in the world. Most were given out in the online drawing, which required a $10 donation for a ticket — with proceeds benefiting Parkinson’s research for the foundation of Back to the Future star Michael J. Fox. Borland made a $30 donation last Tuesday, the final day to enter the drawing.
If you’re neither a shoe person nor a Back to the Future buff, maybe you’re thinking, “what’s the big deal? It’s a pair of shoes.” But these shoes have “an individually responsive system, called Adaptive Fit, that senses the wearer and tightens or loosens accordingly,” per Nike — much like the shoes worn by Fox’s character Marty McFly in Back to the Future II.
If that doesn’t impress you, maybe the potential value of the shoes will. While most of the 89 pairs were awarded via the online draw, there are a few pairs being sold at auction. The first auctioned pair, in Hong Kong last week, sold for $104,267.
Yes, you read that right. Six-figures for a pair of shoes.
In essence, Nike has tapped into the perfect combination of super-cool shoe, iconic movie, rare product and great cause.
“Though it initially shared only a few seconds of screen time with Michael, the idea behind the Nike Mag unlocked something much bigger at Nike,” Mark Parker, Chairman, President and CEO, NIKE, Inc. said in a news release. “It sent us down an uncharted path of innovation, but it also opened our eyes to our ability to fight some of the world’s biggest challenges. We feel privileged for the opportunity to raise even more awareness for the fight against Parkinson’s.”
But the big question: What is Borland going to do with his shoes — sell them? Keep them wrapped in plastic? Wear them around like a superhero?
Even if the Hong Kong auction price might not match the selling price of individual pairs sold by winners, it has to be tempting.
“Plans are still to be determined,” said Borland, who added that New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram has already indicated he’s interested in Borland’s shoes, which are in a size 13. “I’ve had lots of support from friends and media requests from various shoe websites and shoe resellers.”
Former Gophers running back David Cobb tweeted at Borland, “lol I would normally be mad bc I didn’t win but since u did it’s all good. Keep em in the family.”