#303: What are Nike and RTFKT up to these days?

⏳ A recap of what the brands have been up to and what the future holds

Not gonna lie, sometimes I miss the days when there were plenty of topics around brands in web3.

Image in photo frame is from #204: Brands Are Still Interested in Web3, written in May 2023 😂

Maybe it was because I was still a fledgling in the space, obsessing over NFTs and how they would change the world. Maybe it was because brands and their web3 efforts were easier for the average consumer to understand. Maybe because brands entering this space suggested that mass adoption was around the corner.

We’ll have to wait a little (or a lot) longer for brands to return to this space with confidence. However, there are some exceptions with Nike continuing to experiment via .SWOOSH and RTFKT.

A refresher:

note: I’ve bolded 198 and 199 because there’s a theme that will become more apparent

I’m not the loudest Nike/RTFKT fan, but the archive of posts does the talking 😅

What have Nike, .SWOOSH, and RTFKT been up to this year?

Nike and .SWOOSH

January: .SWOOSH provided a forward-looking update:

  • The team will launch more virtual products, including In-Game Wearables that can be used in video games

  • In-Game Wearables and digital collectibles will unlock exclusive IRL apparel and footwear

  • In the second half of 2024, members will be able to off-ramp their digital collectibles to a self-custody wallet and trade them on marketplaces

March: ‘Are You a Bot’ apparel collection dropped, only available for .SWOOSH members

April: The Air Force 1 Low ‘404’ dropped via SNKRS Exclusive Access, only available for .SWOOSH members. The team followed up with a ‘404 ERROR’ variant, which was only available for .SWOOSH members who completed the Glitch Galaxy minigame.

May: .SWOOSH introduces preorder:

Preorder is a new way to reward .SWOOSH members for participating in quests and experiences both in and out of games. Imagine unlocking exclusive products by completing in-game accomplishments. By creating made-to-order product, .SWOOSH can more efficiently deliver the product members want in their preferred size.

Some preorder items or products will have an open inventory and others will be capped at a fixed amount.

The pilot for this effort was with the ‘Meet Your Guide’ hoodie, which included a simple quest on X.

This was likely oversimplified on purpose to see what engagement and preorder metrics look like before investing in the process further.

May: A patent is granted to Nike for a ‘display screen with icon’. The patent was filed in November 2021.

Are brands in web3 dead? Share and subscribe to revive them!


February: The RTFKT Creator community releases more tools for content creation

May: RTFKT launches the Incubation Lab for Animus (a separate collection under the RTFKT ecosystem, they look like Pokemon). Incubating Animus Eggs with specific combinations of other RTFKT NFTs increases the likelihood of rare traits when they hatch.

May: The team provides RTFKT x Nike Dunk Genesis 3D files for the Heel, Tongue, and Eyelets. These files are available for personal and commercial use, and allow additional customizability for the sneakers.

June: Announcement that the RTFKT x Nike Dunk VOID will release on SNKRS US on June 21st. There will only be 1,000 pairs available on SNKRS. The 3 other colorways will not be available for the public (only available for RTFKT holders or limited public presale window months ago).

Accompanying the announcement was a 3-minute video (also on the SNKRS app) that serves as a sort of ‘Hello World’ introduction to the wider SNKRS audience. Notes on their positioning and nuggets:

  • RTFKT is positioned as a brand for gamers and creators

  • The video features the RTFKT team and Nike collaborators. The Nike team speaks highly of RTFKT and the sneaker, providing more credibility and legitimacy

  • Showcased the modular components of the sneaker

  • No mention of NFTs. “All of our previous shoes were exclusive to people in our community.”

  • “This was the first-ever Nike shoe to ever have a preorder model. We believe preorder is the future.”

  • A brief mention of NFC tags for authentication

Themes + Insights

Preorders are becoming a thing

Although I like the ‘co-determination’ term I coined from #198 and #199, ‘preorder’ makes sense. This concept allows Nike and its associated brands to understand what demand looks like in various ways: gated, uncapped vs. capped, quest to preorder, etc.

The concept of preordering and 3-4 month fulfillment times in retail go against the modern expectations of instant gratification and 2-day shipping. Waiting a year for a Tesla Cybertruck? No problem. Waiting 4 months for a pair of sneakers? 🤮

Can exclusivity, scarcity, and even digital twins (eg: instant delivery of interoperable digital asset, physical asset arrives later) create a counterbalance to this tension? Will any other apparel/sneaker brands explore this model combined with NFTs?

Distribution through SNKRS

The SNKRS app is a vehicle for physical distribution (.SWOOSH exclusive access orders) and top-of-funnel awareness and purchase (RTFKT content, RTFKT Dunk sale).

It wouldn’t be a stretch to think that in the future, there could be a wallet that exists in the SNKRS app itself as a way to verify loyalty, showcase digital assets, and unlock exclusive access.

adidas has already done this (and since removed it)

From #240

Video games

Nike is getting into the gaming industry and we’re seeing this with the In-Game Wearables, Fortnite collaborations, and RTFKT positioning. Will this be a good example of the interoperability that NFTs have always been capable of?

Let’s see what Nike and co have in store for us for the second half of the year.

Other Interesting Things

See you Thursday!

Collect this post to permanently own it.
Web3 with TPan logo
Subscribe to Web3 with TPan and never miss a post.