Nike and RTFKT have launched a line of virtual sneaker NFTs, and some of their “CryptoKicks” have now sold for well above six figures. It's just like physical sneaker collecting, except you don't get any sneakers.
Nike CryptoKicks is a collection of NFT sneakers called the “RFTKT X Nike Dunk Genesis,” which users can customize using 'skin vials' from different designers. These vials change the appearance of the sneakers, adding new patterns and effects like flashing lights and floating swooshes.
First, you need to acquire the base sneaker, and then you can add the skin vials to change its appearance. You'll be able to “collect, evolve and breed sneaker skins.” How? The video claims that “journeying in the RTFKT ecosystem” will unlock upgrades for your sneakers but never specifies what that journey entails.
The average price for some of these sneakers seems to be in the $6,000-$10,000 range, while some are already being sold for over $100,000. Some less common skin vials are going for around $40,000. I see a couple of sneakers with over half a million dollar buy-out prices, though the current bids are nowhere near that. It's not too wild of an ask, though, since I spotted a skin vial sell for over $400,000 worth of Ethereum.
The skin vials remind me of Pokemon: Different evolution stones would change the appearance of an Eevee. However, I'm fairly sure we can't challenge others to sneaker duels.
“CryptoKicks,” was patented by Nike back in 2019 and remained pretty quiet until Nike acquired RTFKT, a digital clothing brand in 2021. It then launched a mysterious NFT drop called MNLTH in February, which gave out essentially 20,000 timed loot boxes that ultimately contained the sneakers. The average price for these mysterious NFTs? Before the sneaker reveals, some of these MNLTH loot boxes were “valued” at over $20,000.
You can't wear these sneakers in real life or even in Fortnite, but you can use a Snapchat AR filter to see what they would look like on your feet, so that's something. RTFKT warned bidders on its OpenSea page that they should not bid on “equipped sneakers,” and only bid on skin vials and the base sneaker because the “blockchain is not fast enough with processing changes at the moment of buying.”
Apparently, there's an exploit that's preventing people from changing the skins on sneakers they bought that already had a skin applied to them. That did not stop folks from spending big money on these digital kicks.
This isn't Nike's first foray into the so-called metaverse; it partnered with Roblox earlier this year to launch Nikeland, a digital playground inside Roblox where like-minded swoosh fans can socialize, play games and dress up their avatars in Nike gear.