Sneaker NFTs have quickly become as covetable as their tangible counterparts. The digital collectibles can sell (and have sold) for millions of dollars as enthusiasts seek out the most exclusive footwear, and brands like Nike have been quick to get in on the digital sneaker game.
The Swoosh acquired Web3 studio RTFKT at the tail end of 2021, putting forth a revamped Dunk as its first sneaker NFT in April. Nike now plans to expand on RTFKT’s past “Space Drip” project by collaborating with 19 artists to create their own digital Air Force 1 complemented by real-life versions of the sneakers.
For serious collectors — Some of the tangible designs have already been teased on Twitter by RTFKT co-founder Steven Vasilev Zaptio, who maintained that the platform allowed sneakers to be more of an artistic medium. “Traditionally, landing a sneaker collab is very difficult and reserved for only the most acclaimed & notable creatives,” he wrote in a tweet. “Removing barriers and democratizing footwear creation will allow the next wave of artists to bring new creativity & vision to the space.”
The 19 artists involved in the “Space Drip” project — originally launched in March 2021 — include Ben Mauro, a renowned art director in the game and film industry, and Paris Hilton, who was tapped in 2021 to design a special pair of kicks only accessible to those who collected all of the other artists’ sneaker NFTs. Nike’s upcoming physical counterparts will honor the original digital designs and will also be available to people who bought the virtual shoes when they first launched.
Get your IRL Drip — Owners of the sneaker NFTs have until December 6 to redeem their matching tangible kicks, while new collectors can check out the collection on OpenSea. Pairs of the Air Force 1 come in an array of designs including mismatched graphics, pink and green prints, and sky-blue gradients. Each set of AF1s replaces Nike’s Swoosh with a lighting bolt on its medial side to signify its NFT counterpart. Consider these pairs more exclusive than anything on SNKRS.
Some of the upcoming tangible “Space Drip” sneakers, as teased by Zaptio on Twitter.