Adidas v. Nike: The race to win the sneaker, athletic wear metaverse

  • The morning after Nike’s big announcement in acquiring the hot NFT fashion brand RTFKT, the battle lines are clear. Adidas and Nike are both already “all in” on the metaverse, make no mistake.
  • Adidas has partnerships with the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), perhaps the hottest NFT collection this year, as well as with PUNKS Comics and G Money. Owners of Bored Ape NFTs include Steph Curry, Jimmy Fallon, Post Malone, DJ Khaled, and Timbaland. One strength of BAYC is its incredible community of celebrities and other Bored Ape owners, plus the Bored Ape business model is based on decentralized collaboration through the use of blanket licenses that allow Bored Ape owners to commercialize their Apes including in new, derivative works. For more, read my paper here.
  • Nike has upped the ante by outright acquiring the NFT fashion brand RTFKT Studios, which just completed a sizzling reveal of its CLONE-X NFTs in partnership with the famed artist Murakami. Earlier this year, RTFKT launched an innovative line of sneakers NFTs designed in collaboration with FEWOCiOUS. Some of the limited edition sneaker NFTs were selling for $10,000. The NFTs entitled the buyer to a pair of physical sneakers, in addition to the NFT for the virtual sneakers. The sneakers NFTs sold out in 7 minutes, earning $3.1 million. One strength of RTFKT is its collaborations with preeminent artists, such as Murakami and FEWOCiOUS, in designing the artwork associated with NFTs.
  • IRL, Nike still has the largest market share in the sneaker world, $28.0B in 2020. Adidas is second at $13.7B.
  • Who do you think will win in the metaverse, Adidas or Nike?
  • Perhaps the most tantalizing possibility: both companies will branch out beyond athletic wear, into new entertainment, lifestyle, or other markets in the metaverse.