Nike Inc. is opening an online store and trading platform for virtual sneakers as management pumps investment into the metaverse.

The world’s largest sportswear company will release its own goods on the .Swoosh platform, and users will be able to collect and show off their items on it. The digital products will include various types of tie-ins and some may unlock access to physical items, make them available in video games or provide entry to real-life events. Registration opens Nov. 18.


“We’re entering a test-and-learn phase,” Ron Faris, head of Nike Virtual Studios, said in an interview. “We don’t know quite yet what the behavior will be that consumers will have with the virtual product.”

Nike is focused on introducing the product category to consumers and will go on a six-city tour to educate shoppers on web3 and blockchain technology. All products will be priced in U.S. dollars to reduce volatility and keep the process familiar for new buyers, with the first collection set to debut in January. Users eventually will be able connect their own wallets to bring items to other marketplaces.

Some athletes signed to Nike will have their own storefronts on the site. Individual creators may also be able to co-create products with Nike through community challenges and earn royalties on their designs.

Nike has been investing in the so-called metaverse over the past year and now has a devoted design team for its digital wares. Last year, it began filing trademarks for virtual goods, opened its own virtual world on Roblox and acquired virtual sneaker creator RTFKT. 

Its efforts are paying off. Nike has earned nearly US$200 million to date from NFT products, far outpacing fashion peers including Adidas, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana, according to August data from blockchain research firm Dune Analytics.

“This whole effort is about providing Nike members a safe environment to play,” Faris said.