Connect with us


The Most Expensive Vintage Nike T-Shirts from the 1970s and 80s

Rare and Expensive Vintage Nike Tees

Nike Tees and Sneakers

The Most Expensive Vintage Nike T-Shirts from the 1970s and 80s

This is a gallery of the rarest and most expensive t-shirt relics from the company formerly known as Blue Ribbon Sports. It all began in 1972 when Nike made t-shirts for the Olympic trials – and the company’s founders were hot-pressing runner’s names on the rear of the tee.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Nike started as footwear company, tees weren’t initially on their radar, so keep in mind many of their t-shirt designs from the 1970s had yet to feature Nike tags, which became a staple in the 1980s.

Some values are based on sales, others are approximate due to scarcity and a lack of sales in a modern market.

We’ve also flagged a few of these t-shirts as [FAKE] after getting reports by the community they were printed in the 2000s on vintage blanks.


Vintage 1972 Nike Olympic Trials T-Shirt


Green 1972 Nike Olympic Trials T-Shirt Front Swoosh

Tag: Champion Blue Bar

Fact: This tee is considered the first Nike t-shirt, and the first piece of Nike apparel.

Vintage 1972 Nike USA Munich Trials Eugene Oregon T-Shirt


vintage nike usa munich trials 1972 eugene oregon t-shirt

Tag: Champion Blue Bar

Fact: A pair of handmade Nike track shoes from the 1972 Olympic trials recently sold for $50,000.

Vintage Nike The Sport Shoe of Champions Jersey


Vintage Nike Sport Shoe of Champions Shirt

Tag: Champion Blue Bar

Fact: “The Sport Shoe of Champions” doesn’t appear to have ever been one of Nike’s taglines. Google it!

Vintage Nikeman Superman Ringer T-Shirt


vintage nikeman ringer nike t-shirt

Tag: Unknown

Fact: Prior to becoming Nike on May 30, 1978, the company was founded as Blue Ribbon Sports in the mid-1960s.

Vintage Rough Cut Pinwheel Block Letter Button-Down Shirt


Vintage 1970s Rough Cut Pinwheel Block Letter Button-Down Shirt

Tag: Pinwheel

Fact: The Nike Rough Cut logo is also commonly described as block letters.

Vintage Nike Pinwheel Ringer T-Shirt


Vintage 1970s Nike Pinwheel Ringer T-Shirt

Tag: Orange Swoosh

Fact: There’s also a brown-based version of this t-shirt with yellow ringers.

Vintage Nike Turtle Wearing Nikes Champion T-Shirt


vintage nike turtle wearing shoes champion t-shirt

Tag: Champion blue bar

Fact: Slow and steady wins the race.

Vintage Steve Prefontaine T-Shirt


Vintage 1970s Steve Prefontaine T-Shirt

Tag: Generic

Fact: Steve Prefontaine was coached by Bill Bowerman. Pre’s demand for better equipment inspired Bowerman and co-founder Phil Knight to create Nike.

Vintage 1977 Nike-OTC Marathon Ringer T-Shirt


1977 Nike - OTC Marathon

Tag: Unknown

Fact: The first OTC Marathon was held in 1973.

Vintage Nike There Is No Finish Line T-Shirt


Vintage 1980s Nike There Is No Finish Line T-Shirt

Tag: Orange Swoosh

Fact: Nike’s first products were track and running shoes.

Image Courtesy of pdx-new-and-used

Vintage Nike Possum Trot Chattahoochee Nature T-Shirt



Tag: Unknown

Fact: The first Possum Trot was held in 1978.

Vintage 1976 Nike Pinwheel Boy Scout Fundraiser T-Shirt [FAKE]


Vintage 1970s Nike Pinwheel Boy Scout Fundraiser T-Shirt

Tag: Sneakers

Fact: Another obscure run sponsored by Nike – no information about Boy Scout Bashes exists. [FAKE] And the reason it doesn’t exist, is because the event didn’t actually exist, apparently this was dreamt up by counterfeiters.


Vintage Nike Beatles T-Shirt


Vintage 1980s Nike Beatles T-Shirt It's a revolution

Tag: Blue

Fact: In 1987 Nike came up with a tagline for promoting a new group of Nike Air shoes — “Revolution in Motion.” Nike and its ad agency wanted to use the Beatles’ classic 60s song, “Revolution” during the commercials, so they paid $500k for rights. But not to the Beatles though – to Michael Jackson who had purchased the Beatles music catalog in 1985.

Image Courtesy of superhothits

Vintage Hike Nike T-Shirt


Nike "Hike Nike" man t-shirt

Tag: Unknown

Fact: Nike Hiking was launched in 1981, a precursor to ACG.

Vintage 1980 Nike Pinwheel Ringer T-Shirt [FAKE]


vintage nike block letters rough cut pinwheel t-shirt 1980

Tag: Screen Stars

Fact: This Screen Stars tag was only made in 1980. [FAKE] which would help explain this t-shirt, which one might assume is 70s, as being fake. Apparently this too is another design that was created up by counterfeiters. Sadly, it’s actually pretty cool.

Vintage 1987 Nike Beer Relays Employee T-Shirt


it's a revolution am-air-ican style 1987 nike beer relays t-shirt promo-warehouse revolution-air-ies crushing rebok

Tag: Blue

Fact:  This T-shirt was given to Nike Employees in 1987 at the company beer relay, a summer event, and was never sold to the public.

Vintage Nike Cascade Run-Off Geisha T-Shirt


Vintage Nike Cascade Run Off Geisha T-Shirt

Tag: Hanes 50/50

Fact:  This T-shirt was given to Nike Employees in 1987 at the company beer relay, a summer event, and was never sold to the public.

Vintage 1984 Nike USA Olympic Torch T-Shirt


Vintage Nike 1984 USA Olympics t-shirt

Tag: Blue

Fact:  Nike’s sales jumped 30 percent in Southern California following the Games – and they didn’t even sponsor the event. Converse did.

Vintage Jordan Sneakers Over the Shoulder T-Shirt


Vintage Jordan Sneakers Over the Shoulder T-Shirt

Tag: Blue

Fact: When Jordan saw the prototype for his shoe he protested, “I’m not wearing that shoe, I’ll look like a clown.”

Image Courtesy of supervideo

Vintage 1985 Air Jordan T-Shirt


Vintage 1985 Air Jordan T-Shirt

Tag: Blue

Fact: Because of their vibrant color the NBA banned the Air Jordan I from being worn during play. #23 still wore his pair and was fined $5k per game.

Image Courtesy of Stormcrow-Vintage

Vintage St. George Marathon Finisher T-Shirt


Vintage 1982 St. George Marathon Finisher T-Shirt

Shirt #14:

Tag: Sportswear Orange Swoosh

Fact: The St. George Marathon has been “running” since 1977.

Vintage Sumo Wrestlers T-Shirt


Vintage 1980s Sumo Wrestlers T-Shirt

Tag: Grey

Fact: Nike shoes. Sumo wrestlers. Both are big in Japan.

Vintage Hike Nike Approach T-Shirt


Vintage 1980s Hike Nike Approach

Tag: Sportswear Orange Swoosh

Fact: The Nike Air Approach was introduced as a hiking shoe in the early 1980s. The company has recently repro’d them, taking pre-orders in September of 2012.

Vintage Nike Gasparilla Distance Classic T-Shirt


Vintage 1980s Nike Gasparilla Distance Classic T-Shirt

Tag: Blank

Fact: Tampa Bay’s Gasparilla Distance Classic began in 1978 and is still “running” to this day.

Image courtesy of tshirttimemachine

Vintage Nike Flight T-Shirt


Vintage 80s Nike Flight T-Shirt

Tag: Grey/Red

Fact: The scripted “flight” logo was introduced in 1989 on Jordan IVs.

Image Courtesy of vanticky

Vintage Nike Rat Ball T-Shirt


Nike Rayon Tri Blend Rat Ball

Tag: Grey

Fact:  We have no idea what the inspiration behind this design is.

Vintage Neon Swoosh T-Shirt


Vintage 1980s Neon Swoosh T-Shirt

Tag: Blue

Fact: Nike co-founder Phil Knight’s initial comment about the swoosh design was, “I don’t love it, but I think it will grow on me.” And grow it did.

Image Courtesy of 4all2envy

To be continued…

+ posts

Jimmy founded Defunkd in 2004 when he started selling vintage t-shirts online. 20 years of experience later and he hasn't looked back since. Actually, he looks back all the time given he's a sucker for nostalgia. For more, check the history of Defunkd and Jimmy's Expertise.

Continue Reading

More in Nike Tees and Sneakers

To Top
WordPress Video Lightbox Plugin