If Nike’s Web3 endeavors are anything to go by, then it’s not wrong to say that they are laced up well for this metaverse journey. From collaborating with virtual spaces to acquiring RTFKT for NFTs and then launching their own Web3 platform, .Swoosh, Nike has done it all already in just a span of 2-3 years. “Digital is now woven into everything we do as a company,” Nike CEO John Donahoe said in an interview. “It’s how we operate and prioritize, from how we engage with members, to how we operate our supply chain, to how we serve consumers in the marketplace.”
In November 2021, Nike announced the creation of its branded virtual space, NikeLand, in collaboration with Roblox . Available on the gaming company’s online platform, the brand’s metaverse takes inspiration from Nike’s headquarters and is designed to create an engaging 3D space targeting people passionate about sports and gaming. The virtual world features Nike buildings, fields and arenas for players to compete in various mini-games, ranging from tag and dodgeball to “The Floor Is Lava”.
To utilize this platform to maximize its community engagement. Nike planned to infuse the miniverse with athlete and product integration, thus recreating global sports moments (like Olympics and World Cups) in Web3. A digital showroom was also announced wherein users could dress their avatars in Nike clothing and accessories. This meant that Nike could test out their upcoming future products in the metaverse to ascertain customer satisfaction before doing a proper launch. Users could also be encouraged to customize and create their own Nike apparel.
Hybrid experiences with AR
Nike is also experimenting with hybrid experiences which connect the real world to its virtual environment. It brought Nikeland to the physical realm in its House of Innovation store by turning the kids’ floor into an Augmented Reality version of Nikeland. Visitors could scan and use their Snap lenses to alter their own 3D avatars with Nike products and play games.
Nikeland was an immense success with the brand announcing that almost 7M people, from around 224 counties, had already visited Nikeland in the first 2 months. This number increased further to 21M in September 2022 as per reports by Roblox.
Read more about hybrid immersive experiences in Sports: Digital Touchdown: Fan Engagement in Sports with NFTs and AR
Acquisition of RTFKT
Even before its acquisition by Nike, RTFKT was one of the top brands in metaverse fashion with multiple collaborations with NFT artists like FEWOCiOUS, and CLONE X creative partner Takashi Murakami. They were acquired by Nike in December 2021 with the aim to accelerate Nike’s digital transformation and upcoming ventures in the metaverse.
The 2 fashion giants started teasing their partnership on February 5, 2022 which ended with a reveal of opening of the virtual box on April 22. Nike’s first NFT collection, the MNLTH was airdropped to every holder of CloneX (the main NFT of the RTFKT ecosystem). Users then participated in a series of quests which culminated in the reveal of a digital Nike Dunk sneakers “CryptoKicks” with various “Skin Vials”. All the positive buzz led to the price of MNLTH NFT exceeding 8 ETH a few hours before its opening, and consequently making a free airdropped NFT worth a lot more. On the day of writing, this NFT has a total trading volume of 57,189 ETH.
In December 2022, RTFKT revealed a new project called Cryptokicks iRL. The first major metaverse-in real life-sneaker, it brought RTFKT’s digitally-designed kicks into the real world. This sneaker drew inspiration from the Nike Air Mag; this then set the tone for Nike’s Adapt line of self-lacing sneakers, like the Adapt BB. The digital sneakers were available in 4 futuristic colorways: “Blackout,” “Ice,” Stone,” and “Space Matter,” and each was accompanied by an NFT. RTFKT Lace Engine NFT holders could mint the “hubbed Cryptokicks sneaker” NFT for 0.38 ETH, from Dec 12-16. Between Dec 7-9, others could register on the Cryptokicks site for a chance to mint remaining pairs on Dec 14 for 0.5 ETH, depending on availability. Only 19000 mint passes were released and were available for forging (transaction that allows a user to claim a physical wearable and mark their NFT as claimed in the process) in 2023 between May 15th to 29th. Synonymous with their hybrid experiences, these NFT Holders could join RTFKT’s iRL Quests, wherein they were encouraged to network with peers and engage in quests in the metaverse.
RTFKT x Nike Air Force 1
Exclusive to Clone`x NFT holders, this collaboration featured 10 bespoke colorways of the Nike Air Force 1. The NFT collaboration also featured the launch of Premium wearables including hoodies, jackets, t-shirts, hats, socks, and sneakers — making this one of the largest drops in the NFT market. Prices ranged between $30-$600 USD, with the sneakers being the most expensive item. “With this drop, we aim to continue to inspire the next generation of what a phygital future can be,” said RTFKT’s Co-Founder Benoit Pagotto, adding that “unlocking new looks via your Avatar and blurring the lines between your digital and physical identity is just the beginning.
.Swoosh – Nike’s latest Web3 Platform
This initiative from Nike Virtual Studios was announced in November 2022, with the vision of creating a web3-enabled platform that serves the future of sport by creating a new, inclusive digital community and a home for Nike virtual creations. This project had 4 major pillars detailed below:
4 Pillars of .Swoosh
- Virtual Creations: Nike planned to release of its premier range of digital assets in 2023 and certainly did so. These will be designed by Nike, their collaborators (like athletes and celebrities), and selected community members.
- Marketplace: SWOOSH’s initial utility was centered on collection and trading of digital assets, mirroring the structure of Starbucks’ Odyssey initiative. For security purposes, users could not transfer assets to personal wallets initially, but Nike plans to partner with third-party wallets soon.
- Community Creations: Winners of “Community challenge” will get the opportunity to design assets alongside Nike and even earn from their sales in the form of royalties. Here, Nike’s elaborate list of endorsed athletes and celebrities offers immense potential for successful collaboration; to name a few – Nike has existing relationships with Michael Jordan, Drake, Cristiano Ronaldo, Serena Williams, and Tiger Wood.
- Learning Center: Nike plans to invest in educating its customers by organizing both online and offline (in 6 cities) tutorial sessions around Web3’s role in the platform, and also focusing on how anyone can learn softwares, like Blender, to create their own digital assets.
This approach meets consumers wherever they play and shop sport and offers a gateway into a new digital arena, says Ron Faris, GM of Nike Virtual Studios. “We are shaping a marketplace of the future with an accessible platform for the web3-curious,” Faris says. “In this new space, the .SWOOSH community and Nike can create, share, and benefit together.”
Our Force 1
In January, to prioritize and boost community engagement in the metaverse, .Swoosh held an online competition to give its members a chance to design a mood board and chose 4 best concepts which were then translated into virtual shoes and included in the OF1 drop.
The OF Drop was a collection of Polygon based virtual sneaker NFTs, which were designed to celebrate the iconic Nike Air Force 1 sneaker from 41 years ago. The collection offered two types of boxes: Classic Remix and New Wave boxes. While Classic Remix boxes contained unique AF1s with a nostalgic vibe to it, the New Wave boxes featured custom designs with more of a futuristic twist. The NFTs were priced at $19.82 and to make it more accessible, Nike refused to integrate cryptocurrency for this drop. Randomly selected .Swoosh members were airdropped virtual AF1 posters in May and held the key to unlock an OF1 box NFT. These members could mint the NFTs on May 8,2023 while the rest of the community could do so 2 days later.
Tinaj – The First IRL Sneaker
Nike unveiled its first ever IRL sneaker in October 2023. Coined the Air Force 1 Low “Tinaj,” the sneaker was exclusive for .Swoosh’s members and was only available for purchase on the SNKRS app. Only community members who had opened at least one OF box were eligible for the purchase and these sneakers were priced at $120.
METAV.RS is a whitelabel tech provider solution that is able to launch NFT collection, efficiently manage NFTs utilities with its Utility Manager deploying web-based Immersive 3D Experiences. This comprehensive approach ensures a seamless and engaging experience for users.
Discover how we helped Michelin launched their NFT club: Michelin enters Web3 with the “Michelin 3xplorer Club”