Nike is making digital sneakers, like Air Jordans, for the metaverse

Multiple trademark filings suggest the Swoosh is entering the competitive world of virtual fashion.

SHANGHAI, CHINA - DECEMBER 24: A Nike store is pictured on December 24, 2020 in Shanghai, China. (Ph...
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New trademark filings indicate Nike is stepping into the metaverse. The sportswear company plans to use its most famous trademarks — including “Nike,” “Just Do It,” Jordan,” “Air Jordan,” its Swoosh logo, its Jumpman logo, and a stylized combination of its name and Swoosh — for various virtual products, according to trademark attorney Josh Gerben.

As the world of NFTs and digital fashion grows more popular (and more profitable), Nike is preparing its own virtual offerings. The filing report, first seen by Gerben, states that the brand is planning to launch its own digital retail store stocked with “online, non-downloadable virtual footwear, clothing, headwear, eyewear, bags, sports bags, backpacks, sports equipment, art, toys, and accessories for use in virtual environments.”

Cyber sneakers — Already, Nike is seeking employees for its digital world — the company is currently hiring for a number of “virtual material designer” roles, including specifically for footwear, The Fashion Law reports. One job listing says the individual “will play a key role in redefining [Nike’s] digital world, ushering [the brand] into the metaverse.”

Luxury labels like Balenciaga and Gucci have beat Nike to the metaverse, crafting virtual collections and designer avatar outfits. Limited-edition collaborations, as well as NFTs, have spiked customer interest in digital fashion: Hype revolves around exclusivity, and the highly limited quantities of virtual collectibles have made them even more valuable than some of their real-life counterparts.

Collaborations with Roblox and PlayStation have somewhat prepared Nike to enter the digital world of sneakers, although it can be even more competitive and expensive as the tangible market. Now, sneakerheads have the chance to own virtual renditions of the rarest and most coveted Nike models — it’s worth questioning whether the brand may invest in its own cyber trading post, like StockX but for digital Nike digs only.

One of the many virtual kicks for sale online. RTFKT Studios

New reality — As Facebook — now Meta — promises a new virtual world to explore, the concept of digital reality goes mainstream. And with an unclear vision of the world post-pandemic, the number of people joining virtual environments — whether they be Meta, video games, or perhaps the world of SNKRS — is bound to increase significantly.

Nike won’t be the last company to enter the metaverse, and it certainly isn’t the first. Already, the cyber market is flooded with digital sneakers and sportswear — how will the Swoosh separate itself from the crowds, other than its signature logos?