RTFKT enters the real world

Virtual sneaker brand RTFKT is putting its Nike ownership to good use with the physical release of its popular “Cryptokicks” sneaker.

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RTFKT enters the real world


The Future. Virtual sneaker brand RTFKT is putting its Nike ownership to good use with the physical release of its popular “Cryptokicks” sneaker. The “Cryptokicks iRL” may not be the first virtual-to-physical shoe to hit the market (that honor goes to EQLZ), but it may be the first to capture mainstream attention. And with a chip built into the shoe to allow for physical and digital experiences, don’t be surprised if Nike enables compatibility with its activity-based Roblox world, NIKELAND.

Enter IRL
RTFKT is pulling a reverse Tron, reports Highsnobiety.

  • RTFKT’s physical “Cryptokicks iRL” sneaker will be available in four colorways with customizable lights, wireless charging, and Nike’s always-in-demand self-lacing technology a la Back to the Future Part II.
  • And staying true to its roots, the shoes have a built-in chip to connect with an NFT version of the shoe so that the physical editions can be authenticated.
  • The chip also connects to a Cryptokicks iRL app so owners can build community and “engage… in quests and events merging physical and digital.”

So how do you snag a pair? Holders of RTFKT Lace Engine NFT will get first dibs to buy one of the 19,000 pairs between December 12-16 for 0.38 ETH (or $478 at the moment).

And between today and December 9, those who don’t have NFTs can register for a draw on RTFKT’s Cryptokicks website. They’ll get the opportunity to buy any remaining pairs on December 14 for 0.5 ETH ($630).

Blended footwear
RTKFT’s move into the physical realm has felt like a long-time coming, considering how it has helped Nike enter the metaverse (and back again).

  • In April, it released Nike’s customizable “Dunk Genesis” on OpenSea, which sold for upwards of $6,000 per pair.
  • In collaboration with Nike, it brought to life digital-first designs of Nike’s Air Force 1s, dubbed “Space Drip,” created by 19 different artists.
  • RTFKT’s tech and know-how was likely foundational for Nike’s semi-secretive dotSwoosh Web3 storefront.

But RTFKT has been signaling its own move into the real world over the past year. It released the “CloneX” digital apparel line that could be “forged” into physical goods. Those pieces also had the corresponding NFT chips built in — a good test case for how they would work in the shoes.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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