Adidas vs Nike: The NFT Proxy Wars.

Who doesn’t love a good rivalry? McDonald’s & Burger King, Coke & Pepsi, British Airways & Virgin Atlantic, Barcelona & Real Madrid facing off in El Clasico, Manchester United & Liverpool’s fiery clashes, and Australia & England competing for the Ashes may spring to mind. Alternatively, DC Comics and Marvel Comics have been locked in an 80+ year battle to control the comics space.

And then you have Adidas & Nike. Two juggernauts who for nearly 6 decades influenced sportswear and shaped the cultural landscape and now jostle for domination over a market worth upwards of $300 billion.

The battle between the swoosh vs the three stripes evolved over the decades, whether it was through design, ads, or sponsorships. Recently that battle has spilled over into a new arena with Adidas and Nike both entering the Web3 space in December 2021, and there’s no sign of the rivalry slowing down.

The three stripes

In this latest chapter of the battle for dominance, the two sportswear giants have taken different approaches. In September 2021, Adidas’ got their hands on Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT #8774, a smart move considering BAYC’s collection is arguably the most well-known both inside and outside the NFT space. They didn’t stop there, they used their ownership rights to create the character Indigo Herz which led to a a formal partnership with BAYC, Punk Comics and Gmoney. To truly cement themselves as serious players, Adidas purchased land in the Sandbox to create AdiVerse - a virtual playground which owners of BAYC, Punk Comics and Gmoney NFTs can access for virtual, unique collectables from Adidas.

Indigo Herz, image courtesy of Adidas
Indigo Herz, image courtesy of Adidas

The swoosh

As a precursor to their Web3 foray, Nike launched Nikeland, a metaverse built inside Roblox. Users in the game could style their avatars with Nike gear and unlock sport related superpowers to name a few perks. All of which proved popular amongst the game’s player base.

Nike made a major splash in December 2021 when Nike acquired RTFKT Studios. Who are RTFKT Studios? Only the leading creators of virtual sneakers in the Web3 space and the co-creators of one of the most popular NFT collections to date. After starting out creating digital apparel, RTFKT’s decision to expand beyond into avatars with their Clone X project has firmly established a digital ecosystem consisting of digital wearables and avatars which can be used across any metaverse. In what could turn out to be a genius move, Nike have inserted themselves at the forefront of the digital space, holding a great deal of power and influence. With the constraints of the physical world stripped away, Nike through RTFKT are bound only by their imagination and what they can dream up.

Clone X avatar, image courtesy of RTFKT
Clone X avatar, image courtesy of RTFKT

What does the future hold?

Both brands will surely have exciting projects up their sleeves. The RTFKT x Nike AR Genesis Hoodie for example will bridge the gap between the digital and physical realm by releasing as a wearable for your RTFKT Clone avatar as well as your IRL self. Augmented reality experiences merging with fashion is a exciting intersection that Nike is well placed to command. One thing is for sure, Adidas and Nike will continue to do battle with their Web3 ventures.

RTFKT x Nike AR Genesis Hoodie, image courtesy of RTFKT
RTFKT x Nike AR Genesis Hoodie, image courtesy of RTFKT

With such big players as Adidas and Nike, the door is certainly open for more entities from the apparel and fashion world to enter the Web3 space. Or maybe we’ll see rivalries from other industries spill over into Web3 - Mcdonalds or Burger King NFTs anyone?

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