After months of teasing a metaverse expansion, Nike and RTFKT unveiled what lies within their Mnlth collectible series: a pair of digital Nike Dunk sneakers with various skins. Last Friday, owners of the Nike and RTFKT Mnlth — a cryptic virtual box that was airdropped for free to those who owned a Clone-X token — reached its final stage. This marked the culmination of a series of quests and puzzles which collectors were required to solve in order to open the NFT vault via RTFKT’s website. Inside lay a pair of Nike’s “CryptoKicks” (which can be customized using various looks and designs), a “skin vial,” and another Mnlth — implying that a future drop is still to come.
The Jing Take
The long-awaited project further solidifies Nike’s intentions of overtaking its competitors in the metaverse. The sneaker giant acquired digital-fashion startup RTFKT back in 2021, after the platform was hailed as the “Supreme of digital fashion,” and has since filed several metaverse-related trademark applications. The partnership also marks the acceleration of Nike’s roadmap for digital evolution, with Nike Digital continuing to be the fastest-growing component of the company's marketplace at 26 percent of Nike Brand’s total revenue.
Fittingly, Nike and RTFKT’s similar values on the importance of community — as well as their like-for-like nature — make them a well-harmonized pairing for Web3. RTFKT has previously noted that the company’s primary aim is to bring the scarcity culture of streetwear and limited-edition drops to the digital world, while Nike’s ethos of welcoming diverse perspectives to foster creativity and accelerate innovation secures them both as leading brands in their sectors. The companies’ foundational strengths and understanding of the sneaker community, as well as their open-mindedness towards experimenting within the metaverse, seem to be paying off: the Mnlth drop has gained widespread public attention, garnering over 200,000 views via RTFKT’s Instagram reveal on Friday.
For partnerships to perform successfully in the metaverse, a brand’s real-world narrative has to translate into the virtual realm — something that the Mnlth series has seemingly managed to achieve. But the label is already facing digital competition with their IRL rivals, as adidas’ x Ready Player Me avatar creation platform is set to launch on April 28. With the fight for Web3 reign continuing to scale, could Nike’s recent drop mark the start of them rapidly becoming one of the metaverse’s leading digital powerhouses? We’ll have to wait and see.
The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.