Steve Jobs' Old And Ratty Birkenstocks Sold For A Staggering Amount

You may or may not have a pair of your own moldering in the back of your closet: Birkenstocks, those German sandals stereotyped as most often worn by hippies, as MerryJane explains. The truth of the matter is, though, over the years Birkenstock designs have evolved beyond that classic sandal look, and really, all kinds of people wear them, even the late Apple co-founder and tech-industry North Star, Steve Jobs. Jobs died in 2011 from complications related to pancreatic cancer and in 2022, a pair of his old Birkenstocks sandals went up for auction at Julien's, based on NPR reporting.

The price that the proud new owner of Jobs' Birkenstock sandals paid may just have you checking the contents of your wardrobe more closely, but suffice it to say, the astronomical sum that those Birkenstock sandals sold for has less to do with the shoes themselves and more to do with the very famous feet that once filled them. Believe it or not, the six digits someone paid at auction for the Apple co-founder's sandals — with the imprint of Jobs' feet reportedly still in the footbed, according to The Guardian — is not even the highest amount ever paid for an auctioned-off pair of well-known footwear.

Birkenstocks were an iconic part of Jobs' wardrobe

Helping add to the price paid for Jobs' shoes, the Birkenstock sandals sold at auction etched such a handsome sum because the German shoes were such a well-known part of his wardrobe. According to The Guardian, the tech entrepreneur even wore them in winter and their simple, utilitarian design was in keeping with Jobs' own aesthetic — a look and feel Jobs translated into Apple computers. Birkenstocks also suit the hippie-inspired aesthetic of Los Altos, California, near the California Bay area where Jobs and Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple in the mid 1970s.

Of the famous Birkenstocks, a former Jobs' girlfriend Chrissan Brennan said in 2018 (via The Guardian, "[Birkenstock] sandals were part of his simple side. They were his uniform ... The great thing about a uniform is that you don't have to worry about what to wear in the morning." 

Prior to their sale at auction, Jobs' old sandals were part of exhibitions in New York and Milan. Also notable, the footwear, worn by Jobs himself and in the 1970s and 1980s, might have been thrown out in the garbage if not for Will Sheff, an eagle-eyed former house manager for the Jobs family, as CNN Style explains.

Jobs old Birkentstocks sold for nearly $220,000

The winner of the Jobs' Birkenstocks auction hosted by Julien's Auctions wished to remain anonymous, but the total amount paid was reportedly $218,750, as NPR reports, setting a record for shoes auctioned at Julien's. Accompanying the sale was an NFT of the shoes, presumably, for verification purposes, with pictures of Jobs wearing them. The auction the shoes sold in was called "Icons and Idols: Rock 'n' Roll" and the shoes were sold along with other items that once belonged to stars like Elvis Presley and Kurt Cobain, among others, as CNN Style reports.

The sale of the Jobs sandals came just one year after $1.47 million was paid for a pair of Nike Air Ships worn in 1984 by NBA legend Michael Jordan. A pair of Black Nikes worn by Kanye West at the Grammys in 2008 also sold in 2021 for $1.8 million. Entering the auction, Jobs' Birkenstocks were projected to sell for $60,000. A brand new pair of Birkenstocks costs around $125. But as we mentioned, it's not the shoes themselves that commanded such a large sum, it's the enduring legacy of the influential tech founder who owned them, as The Guardian goes on to write. Thankfully, Jobs house manager Will Sheff snatched them out of the trash on their way to becoming landfill.