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Nike Sneakers Kept Washing Up On Beaches Around The World, But The Mystery Has Finally Been Solved

The Azores

The Azores are a group of nine volcanic islands in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean. They are a self-governing part of Portugal and are located over 1,000 miles to the west of the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. They are nearly 1,200 miles between the archipelago and Newfoundland in Canada. Overall, the Azores are very secluded. Life on the Azores is very simple. The primary industries are livestock, dairy farming, agriculture, and fishing. Things are usually quiet on the islands, but in September 2018, a strange phenomenon occurred, like sneakers on the shore.

The Discovery

A man named Gui Ribeiro first noticed the strange occurrence. He was standing on shore one day when he noticed that a pair of Nike sneakers had washed up onshore. At first, it was one pair, which didn’t cause much concern. Over time, the number of sneakers washing up on the shore of Flores Island increased. It appeared that the tide was carrying them to the Azores. Nike sneakers kept washing up on beaches around the world, but the mystery has finally been solved. The sneakers that were washing up on shore were different styles. In the months that followed his first discovery, 60 pairs of sneakers had washed up onshore.


While the sneakers were the same brand and many different styles, there were some similarities. According to the labels on the sneakers, they had the same production date. Another similarity was that it seemed as though the shoes were never worn. Initially, Gui believed that this strange phenomenon was confined to the Azores. It wasn’t until news of this bizarre discovery spread that he realized that they were washing up everywhere. A woman named Tracey Williams discovered the same phenomenon when she was walking on the beach in Cornwall, England.

A Friend From Ireland

In June 2019, Tracey revealed that a friend from Ireland mentioned finding sneakers on the shore, and she asked Tracey if she had seen any sneakers herself. After scouring the beaches of Cornwall, she found a few pairs. According to Tracey, beachcombers often share details of their finds with others in the community. Beach cleaners and combers frequently network, so after hearing about the discoveries in the Azores and Ireland, she was intrigued. She was shocked that she also found sneakers washed up onshore. Beachcombers in France, Orkney, the Channel Islands, the Bahamas, and Bermuda were also reporting seeing the sneakers ashore.

August 2007

Those who found sneakers washed up on shore were shocked when they found out that this isn’t the first time that shoes have washed up on the beach. Back in August 2007, shoes were found on the shores of the Salish Sea coastlines in Washington and British Columbia in Canada. In these cases; however, the shoes contained human feet.

There were plenty of theories regarding these gruesome discoveries. Some believed that they were from people who had died in an airplane crash or a boating accident. Some were sure that foul play was involved, and the people were victims of a serial killer. Another theory was that the feet belonged to victims of the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean. With all of these theories floating around, a coroner named Barb McLintock announced that the body parts were separated as a result of natural decomposition, which was sped up underwater. She claimed that the feet belonged to people who died accidentally or committed suicide.

The 2018 Shoes and Other Occurrences

The shoes that were found in 2018 were different than those in 2007 because they were empty. There were no feet inside, and they appeared never to have been worn. The sneakers washing up had a lot in common with other random items that also washed up. In Kodiak, Alaska, a large number of fly swatters washed up onshore. They were all sports-themed and had logos from college and professional teams. In 1992, rubber ducks were washing up in Australia, South America, Scotland, Alaska, and Newfoundland. Over 20 years later, people are still finding the occasional rubber duck onshore.

Studying the Current

To find out where the sneakers were coming from, experts had to start studying the ocean currents. Based on the areas where the sneakers were found, experts believed that they were carried by a trio of currents that formed a loop. The currents that were bringing the sneakers were the Canary Current, the North Equatorial Current, and the Gulf Stream.

Left and Right

An oceanographer named Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer did some research to figure out why there just one shoe was washing up onshore. He believes that when the sneakers go into the water that the wind blows and takes them in different directions. This is why one shoe will end up on one beach, and the right will end up on another.

Where They Came From

Gui has a great theory of where the sneakers came from. After doing research, he found out that a cargo ship called the Maersk Shanghai, which could carry 10,000 containers was caught up on a storm off the coast of North Carolina in March 2018. During the storm, several containers fell overboard. When the storm was over, airplanes circled the ocean to find the fallen containers. They were able to find nine, but seven were lost. The U.S. Coast Guard later reported that 70 containers were missing.

Confirmation Of Nike Sneakers

After the Coast Guard made its announcement, Nike confirmed that they had a container on the ship were Nike sneakers are inside. Great Wolf Lodge and Triangle shoes also washed up, and these companies confirmed that they had lost containers as well. Finally, Gui had answers.

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