Nike will begin testing a connected shoe this week that will build upon their technology in fan NBA jerseys and unlock perks for NikePlus members.
The company announced Wednesday that NikePlus members in New York City will be able to purchase Nike’s first-ever connected sneaker, called AF1 NikeConnect QS NYC, via the Nike SNKRS app.
A near-field communication (NFC) chip embedded into the shoe will activate exclusive members-only opportunities when scanned with a user’s smartphone. Among the primary opportunities will be access to a program called “The Choice,” which gamifies the shoe-buying experience by offering users access to hot footwear drops around the city. When scanning the chip, users will be shown two products but will only be able to choose one. Members will also gain access to exclusive events in NYC and content.
With the jerseys, fans could scan NFC chips to access members-only events; product offers for gear and tickets; and content, such as access about player statistics based on the jersey and Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James-inspired Apple Music playlists. Fans wearing the jersey of Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant, for example, could tap into Durant’s latest stats, highlights and broader Warriors highlights and content.
It’s an important distinction that these new Nike shoes aren’t connected in the sense that they’ll track user workouts, such as the Under Armour HOVR connected shoe, which feature a chip with an accelerometer that can automatically detect when a user has started to run to measure their distance, pace and cadence.
Rather, Nike’s connected sneakers represent an attempt to better engage its online community, particularly those who have signed up for NikePlus memberships. A Nike spokesperson said the shoe not only marks the first time that connected tech will be featured in Nike footwear, but also, importantly, illustrates Nike’s “focus on using technology and innovation to better serve NikePlus members with personalized opportunities.”
“Connected Nike products let us serve NikePlus members holistically across content, commerce and coaching in a way that is way more personal and valuable to them,” Nike said. “The growth opportunity for a global ecosystem of connected Nike products is exciting and will continue to expand.”