How Nike turned the shoe drop into a high-tech game
  • About a hundred kick-hungry sneakerheads marched into Washington Square Park, smartphones held high, panning from side to side, on a late June [url=]Adidas Superstar Womens[/url] afternoon in New York City. It was a mix of faces: parents, early high schoolers, 20-something urbanites. They paced in droves, pushing strollers, scooting atop bicycles, coasting on [url=]Adidas ZX Flux Womens[/url] electric skateboards. Most strutted in sneakers so clean they looked as if they were just pulled out of the box.Seconds later, they all took off sprinting.It looked like a parkour-inspired [url=]Adidas Superstar Femme Rose[/url] flash mob, some racing at high enough speeds to clear benches with a single leap. Bike tires screeched as a handful took off on wheels. Body after body circled around the park’s iconic fountain to a walkway covered by trees. Bystanders whipped around as more and more [url=]Nike Air Max 90 Damen[/url] weaved their way through the crowd. “Where are they going?!” one yelled.

    They funneled into a small open area just off the park’s eastern entryway. One by one, they came to a halt, still glued to the [url=]Adidas NMD Damen[/url] screens of their phones. Then, they pulled out their credit cards.This is how Nike is selling sneakers in the age of the smartphone.The company has joined the growing world of sneaker [url=]Nike Free Run 2.0[/url] apps that use tech to sell shoes in an unconventional way (Adidas and Foot Locker both have experimented with apps, to varying degrees of success). On this day, it was a pair of limited PSNY x Air Jordan 12s, dressed in a wheat brown color from top to sole. About a week earlier, Nike had teased the release of the shoe and alerted patrons that they’d only be available through its new Nike+ SNKRS app in a specific location at a specific time of day. There was no other way to get it. You had to either be in one of three designated locations when the shoe dropped or you were out of luck.

    The process has evolved beyond the act of buying shoes, a feat of [url=]Nike Air Presto Femme[/url] competitiveness that’s fueled by adrenaline. These people aren’t purchasing shoes so much as hunting them, sometimes traveling across continents to camp on concrete for days. It’s pushed [url=]Adidas Ultra Boost[/url] most out of the market, catering to extremists who resort to bots that can crawl webpages or those who pay others to wait in line. These aren’t just shoes anymore, they’re status symbols. Like a Rolex, for your feet.That’s the problem, too. For every fan chasing leather, there’s at least a handful of resellers trying to turn shoes into fists full of cash. A reseller — someone who purchases shoes to resell them at a higher markup — can easily double, sometimes triple his money on a single pair. One particular set of kicks hit a whopping $16 million three years ago on eBay and resellers made an estimated $240 million in 2013, according to FiveThirtyEight.

    It’s [url=]Adidas NMD[/url] a volatile mix. One of the most infamous sneaker drops in 2005 sparked a riot in New York City with knives, baseball bats and machetes. People have long been jumped for their kicks, [url=]Nike Air Max 90 Femme Noir[/url] sometimes even killed. You hear more horror stories stemming from drops than you do successes.Nike’s new app is its way of challenging all this, with a method that’s highly technical but still simplistic. By hitting a giant reset button on a market that has been overrun with people trying to game the system, Nike’s stripping the sneaker hunt down. And so long as you’re willing to engage in the chase — in a very literal sense — the shoes can be yours.But with every sneaker that’s dangled at the end of some digitally futuristic pursuit, a question remains: Will it stick, or is it no more than a passing fad?

    Nike’s been concocting these hunts since [url=][/url] the start of the year in the heart of New York’s Flatiron district, out of a small office it calls the NYC Digital Studio. After acquiring Virgin Mega, a 12-person startup focused on [url=]Nike Air Max 2016 Damen[/url] constructing gamified shopping experiences, in August 2016, the athletic retail giant dedicated the team to reimagining the intersection of tech and sneaker culture.“It’s really about looking at the part of the culture that always felt the most special,” said Ron Faris, general manager of the Nike NYC Digital Studio and SNRKS app.

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