Asics Bounds Into NFTs

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Here’s one more thing for the sneakerheads to collect. Athletic shoe company. Asics has launched an online auction for a new “Sunrise Red” collection of NFTs, branching into an emerging digital world of collectibles.

Here’s one more thing for the sneakerheads to collect. Athletic shoe company. Asics has launched an online auction for a new “Sunrise Red” collection of NFTs, branching into an emerging digital world of collectibles.

“In my role, I’m always looking for ways to innovate in the digital space [to fulfill our brand promise], which is to help people have a sound mind and body,” said Pace, head of business development for Asics Running Apps. “We strive to be at the forefront of innovation in the sporting goods sector.”

In part, the launch of a digital collection is a way for the company to begin exploring how to “connect digital goods to physical goods and physical activity,” Pace said. One possibility: a physical shoe that is connected to a digital product that increases in value as the owner exercises. 

“From a collector’s standpoint, you want to be sure you’re creating something that improves in value,” Pace said of possibilities. NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are digital assets that convey ownership of a unique virtual item, such as an online picture, video or another element. Using blockchain technology, the NFTs cannot be copied or pirated, which, presumably, means these pieces, like physical art pieces, will increase in value over time.

Asics’s 189-piece Sunrise Red collection consists of nine different digital footwear products, ranging from high-end athletic shoes to flip flops and sandals. Each of the nine shoes will be featured in a Limited Release of 20 NFTs per shoe, as well as a Gold Edition featuring each shoe in metallic gold. NFT owners will receive digital 3D models and textures of their NFT shoes to use in animation projects and other applications. 

Proceeds from the auction, which launched on July 15 and ends on July 19, will be used to support a new “artist-in-residence” program at Asics. Through this program, Asics will work with established and emerging digital artists to design the next wave of NFTs. Gold Edition owners will receive a future NFT from one of these designers, as well. 

“We want people to know we’re here for the long haul,” Pace said. “There is a feeling of being a part of something [with NFTs}, and I think we will have elements of that as we grow this program.”

Where the program goes next will be largely up to the brand’s most avid consumers, Pace said. The digital artists will provide some direction, but the brand may also collaborate with the professional athletes with which it has contracts, or it could find ways to connect NFTs to great moments in sports history. 

“I’m excited to see how we can establish partnerships with artists and athletes,” Pace said. “We’ll see what the audience wants and continue to build from that.”  

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