Timing the promotional gesture carefully to coincide with the start of a new Michael Jordan documentary mini-series, The Last DanceNike (NYSE:NKE) put up a limited number of Air Jordan 5 Fire Red shoes two weeks before the sneaker's official May 2 launch. Though the release came as a surprise, fans and Nike enthusiasts bought out the offering almost immediately, paying $200 per pair to get the scarlet-highlighted footwear early.

Originally released in 1990, the Fire Red sneaker was worn by Michael Jordan on March 28 of that year during a game between Chicago and Cleveland. Nike says the Air Jordan 5 series takes style cues from the famous North American P-51 Mustang piston-engined fighter of World War II, one of the war's top combat aircraft. The Fire Red "colorway," after its initial 1990 release, saw additional production runs in 2006, 2013, and 2016 before its return this year.

A view of the Nike Headquarters campus.

The Nike headquarters campus. Image source: Nike.

Nike kept mum about the early limited release until the day The Last Dance started airing, when it sent out notifications on its SNKRS app. The main release is still scheduled for May 2. 

Early purchasers met the surprise with enthusiasm, buying out the limited supply within minutes, according to news sources. The retro-styled Air Jordans will sell for $200 a pair on their official release date, too, with those for "big kids" going for $140 and "little kids" sizes retailing for $80.

Nike is currently the world's top apparel brand, worth over $34 billion.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.