Nike helped lead the fashion world’s charge into NFT adoption thanks to its 2021 acquisition of crypto startup RTFKT (pronounced “artifact”), and it has done a number of token-gated sneaker drops since. Until now, though, you usually needed to own an expensive NFT to buy the real-world kicks. That’s not the case with Nike’s latest RTFKT collab.
On Monday, Nike launched a public presale for its new RTFKT Dunk Genesis sneakers, letting anyone purchase the shoes without owning a RTFKT NFT. The Nike x RTFKT Dunk Ghost Edition and Dunk VOID Edition are priced at $222 apiece—plus there’s an associated t-shirt for the collab with both brand logos and “Oops, You Stepped Into the Future” written on the front.
Both sneaker styles have something of a futuristic edge, matching RTFKT’s previous kicks and the visual vibe of its digital sneakers, and they also have some unique properties: the “Vial Clip Tongue” and “Modular Heel Shield” mods that can be detached to customize the look. Nike will offer up 3D files so owners can “create your own mods,” too.
And while they don’t require an NFT to purchase, these sneakers themselves are also tied to NFTs. There’s an embedded near-field communication (NFC) chip within the sneakers, called the RTFKT World Merging chip, which lets the owner “obtain a digital collectible, if they so choose, and connect the physical product shipped with the digital collectible obtained.”
The VOID Edition sneakers are expected to ship by July 31, 2024, while the Ghost Edition shoes will ship by August 31, 2024. Nike and RTFKT already held an exclusive pre-order window for holders of its existing NFTs, ahead of the public sale.
It’s unclear what chain Nike and RTFKT will mint the associated NFT collectibles on, but RTFKT has previously minted on Ethereum. However, Nike also has its .Swoosh digital kicks platform on Polygon, an Ethereum scaling network.
The brands previously launched the RTFKT x Nike Air Force 1 sneakers earlier this year, which required an NFT purchase to redeem for the real-world shoes, and they previously dropped the CryptoKicks sneakers in 2022. NBA star LeBron James, a longtime Nike endorser, was seen wearing the RTFKT x Nike Air Force 1 shoes before a Lakers playoff game in May.
RTFKT is also the company behind Clone X, a prominent and valuable NFT profile picture (PFP) collection. Clone X NFTs have generated $852 million to date worth of trades, per data from CryptoSlam, and secondary market prices currently start above 1.4 ETH, or about $2,850.