The running shoes worn by Sir Roger Bannister (1946, Physiological Sciences) when he became the first man to run a mile in under four minutes have sold for £266,500 at auction, more than five times the expected amount. Christie’s auction house said in May the shoes were expected to fetch between £30,000 and £50,000.
The thin leather running spikes, which weigh just four and a half ounces, were bought by an anonymous person.
The shoes, made by GT Law and Son, were much lighter than other shoes at the time. Sir Roger said: “I could see there was an advantage in having the shoe as light as possible. The leather is extremely thin and the spikes are unusually thin, as I used a grindstone to make them even thinner. These shoes are the last tangible link I have with the four-minute mile.”
Christie’s said earlier Sir Roger was expected to donate some of the proceeds to a charity for medical research. “I think it’s the right time to part with them and I plan to give part of the proceeds to the Autonomic Charitable Trust which encourages the area of neurological research to which I have devoted most of my life,” he said. “Other worthwhile causes in which I have an interest will also benefit.”