Sportswear brand Reebok is jumping into the metaverse—with both feet. 

The shoemaker, which is owned by Authentic Brands Group, has entered an exclusive partnership with crypto tech startup Futureverse to develop numerous AI- and blockchain-backed games and digital experiences, both companies jointly announced Thursday. 

The stated aim of the collaboration is to extend Reebok’s brand presence into virtual realms and “revolutionize fashion in the digital world.” 

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While the partnership appears poised to upload numerous Reebok styles into digital wearable versions linked to NFTs, as shoe brands including parent company Adidas and rival Nike have recently done, Reebok appears particularly intent on creating immersive virtual gaming experiences that give those digital shoes a reason for being. 

Next year, Reebok and Futureverse will debut “Reebok Impact,” a “mind and heart-bending digital shoe experience” that will incorporate AI tech and on-chain digital wearables. The first announced project to come from the companies’ collaboration, “Impact” was designed, according to its creators, to “demonstrate that life is not about your sneakers, it’s about what you do while you wear them.”

“Our ethos champions the principle of moving with purpose and stepping out into the world as a participant, not a spectator,” Reebok CEO Todd Krinsky said in a statement. “Our partnership with Futureverse and the upcoming launch of Reebok Impact enables us to transcend traditional boundaries of innovation to engage our consumers in the digital evolution of our products in ways that redefine the realm of possibility.”

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Futureverse, an on-chain gaming startup, raised a $54 million Series A in July. The company seeks to establish an “open metaverse”—a digital ecosystem of multiple platforms between which digital assets like NFTs can flow freely—chiefly by acquiring other crypto companies, games, and metaverse experiences, and rolling them into Futureverse’s platform. None of the 11 companies under Futureverse’s umbrella have thus far delved into the burgeoning sector of digital footwear, though. 

In December 2021, Nike led the footwear industry’s virtual charge by acquiring RTFKT, an NFT sneaker studio. Since then, the company has established a substantial NFT community, and rolled out a number of exclusive physical sneaker collections that feature digital twins. Numerous fashion and footwear brands have followed suit with similar “phygital” drops, including Adidas, Dior, and Puma. Nike has also brought its digital fashion to the popular game Fortnite, albeit not as NFTs.

Reebok has not yet announced any plans to create physical sneakers tied to digital tokens. Yesterday, however, the brand did announce a limited-edition sneaker drop in collaboration with Gary Vaynerchuk’s NFT brand VeeFriends, which will be exclusively available for purchase by VeeFriends token holders December 12 before going on sale worldwide December 15.

Edited by Andrew Hayward

Editor's note: This story was updated after publication to note that Reebok is now owned by Authentic Brands Group, not Adidas as originally stated. Authentic Brands Group purchased Reebok from Adidas in 2022.

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