Cryptokicks iRL combines an avatar-ready NFT sneaker paired with an auto-lacing physical sneaker that connect to its digital companion with haptic feedback and gesture control.
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Nike already dominates the sale of major brand NFT sales, and now it's working with its virtual collectibles design studio RTFKT to connect virtual sneakers to real ones.
The Cryptokicks iRL collection will have a limited edition of 19,000 sneakers in four styles that Nike is calling "the first native Web3 sneaker" line.
They can only be purchased by burning a special "forging" NFT — purchasable on the secondary market — that will mint an NFT version of the shoes and allow the user to order an iRL in their size and style choice.
Registration for the drawing for the public mint will be Dec. 7 to Dec. 9 on RTFKT.com, while holders of an existing Lace Engine NFT will be able to begin minting on Dec. 12. Prices run $450 to $1,333, payable in ETH.
The physical shoes will ship in May and only to U.S. addresses, which is causing some grief in the fairly intense collectible sneaker market.
The shoes will feature the auto-lacing technology the firm designed for the Air Mag more than 30 years ago for the film Back to the Future 2, as well as "the next evolution of smart sneaker technology" — including enhanced and upgradable lighting packages, haptic feedback, gesture control, walk detection, app connectivity and wireless charging, brought together with artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) algorithms.
While Nike didn't divulge too much detail of how the NFC-linked physical and digital versions of the sneakers will interact, the technology strongly suggests that it at least hopes to pair them in metaverse and game settings.
Haptic force feedback, gesture control and walk detection would all be useful in connecting people and avatars in virtual and augmented reality. And the AI/ML would seem to give room for improving that and adding functionality.
The physical shoes will have an RTFKT NFC chip linking the physical and digital Cryptokicks iRL via an app. The digital version of the shoes will be an NFT compatible with RTFKT's line of CloneX high-end metaverse avatar NFTs.
According to Dune Analytics, Nike's NFT sales are so far out ahead of other mainstream consumer and fashion brands, it's not even a race.
In October, Nike had $185 million in NFT sales — 10 times more than the rest of the top 10 brands combined, and 14 times more than the No. 2 brand on that list, Dolce & Gabbana. Even more, Nike made that on 67,000 sales, while adidas's 50,000 sales brought in just $11 million.
Nike bought RTFKT last December.