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Is Nike Swoosh just NikeID for the “Metaverse”?


20 years ago, Nike launched a customized shoe service called NIKE ID (“Nike by you”) – allowing users to customize the colors of 3D sneakers, add text, and then have it manufactured and receive the actual shoe.


They were the first, but other brands followed with customizable online platforms such as MI Adidas in 2006, NBI (New Balance) in 2011, Vans in 2015, and UA ICON (Under Armour) in 2017.


It felt like the beginning of a new era of unique and specific user-generated design.

Despite the huge PR and hype back then, even after years of having this service, the brands did not have too many customizable models: NikeID had only 26 models, NBI had 4, Adidas MI had 20, Vans had 13, and UA ICON had 15, as compared to the huge quantities of unique shoes that weren’t customizable.


Exactly how successful these 3D customizable platforms were is kept a secret, but industry insiders claim that only about 1% (!) of customers used this service.

It was a great PR and marketing idea of positioning NIKE as a leader of new tech and innovations, but probably not more – Since if it would have been successful as an actual creation tool the brands would add more shoes to this service.


Could the new SWOOSH be the same?


First, despite the PR and ecstatic fans of NFTs, I hardly see this as being a virtual-only product, but don’t take my word for it:

This is a shoe that one day could unlock a preorder for a physical product,” says Ron Faris, VP/GM of Nike Virtual Studios

For this to happen the design of the virtual shoes will have to follow actual creation guidelines (such as no flames, or other strange materials that cannot be produced in reality), different and much more complex from the previous virtual-only shoes RTFKT created without real-world limitations.


Faris also said, “We’re learning that buying a virtual product isn’t the end of a purchase journey, it’s the beginning of it.


All of this reinforces my belief that virtual-only products will not succeed in the long run (besides the PR), and must find a way to connect and add value to actual physical products - hence creating PHYGITAL ones.


To be continued…

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