It was 2015 when Adidas introduced Confirmed, an iOS and Android app that let people in New York City reserve pairs of its highly coveted sneaker collaboration with Kanye West. The process was simple: You would go in the app at a set time, pick your shoe size, and, if you were fast enough, you'd get selected to buy your limited-edition Yeezys at an Adidas store in NYC. Eventually, Confirmed expanded to other cities, including Los Angeles and Berlin, before folding its standalone, reservation features into the main Adidas app in 2018. But now, more than two years after the app vanished, Adidas is launching a revamped version of Confirmed that will put product storytelling front and center during sneaker drops – and it's all starting today, August 25.
"Community" — As was the case with the original app, Confirmed 2.0 is designed to be a hub for Adidas' most coveted releases, and the company says it's taking the foundations and everything it learned from the first version to ensure that consumers enjoy a one-of-a-kind digital shopping experience. "With a community-first approach," Adidas said, "Confirmed will be the meeting point between exclusive product, a unique take on content built by the most relevant tastemakers and the type of storytelling that fuels culture."
For Adidas, that drive to empower "relevant tastemakers" includes both independent creators and A-listers like Pharrell Williams, Jonah Hill, Ninja, Nigo, and Blondey, to mention a few — all of whom are currently developing sneakers, apparel and other gear with the German sportswear giant. Beginning today, the new Confirmed app will give people access to drops such as its A-ZX Atmos, Y3 Shiku Run, and Pharrell's Premium Basics collaborations, as well as its much-anticipated capsules with streetwear brand Noah and Sean Wotherspoon, which will be available August 27 and 29, respectively.
Cat-and-mouse game – Of course, making every sneakerhead and hypebeast happy is easier said than done, and few in the industry know this better than Tareq Nazlawy, Adidas’ Senior Director of Digital Strategy. Nazlawy, who's partially responsible for bringing Confirmed back to life, told Input in an interview that while the app may have gone away a couple of years ago, the company didn't stop trying to figure out how to make drops more fair and secure. In fact, Nazlawy said that folding Confirmed into the Adidas application actually allowed the brand to invest heavily in technology that can prevent automated systems, aka bots mostly used by resellers, from accessing sought-after products.
“We really wanna bring people into... these creations, and what makes them special.”
For example, he said there are now dedicated teams looking at how to identify non-real user behavior and outlier patterns, which can help keep these bad actors out from entering raffles and, in turn, gives people who actually want to wear the sneakers — not resell them — a better chance at buying a pair. Nazlawy added that one of the ways Confirmed will (hopefully) filter out bots is by requiring a "verified" Adidas account to make any purchases on the app, and there are going to be a number of verification stages to ensure that the people trying to enter the drop are actual humans.
"We have an extremely high level of confidence that when we have a consumer that's participating and succeeding [in the raffle], that those are bonafide real sneakerheads who really won that sneaker and that the pair goes to that individual," said Nazlawy. "And Confirmed is only gonna inherit a lot of that technological sophistication, and that's a great basis for us to start actually building upon that backend and to leverage all that on how the frontend experience works as well. We're confident we're if it's not the fairest, one of the fairest ways to [buy] in the industry, and we really want that to be a foundation — to be the easiest and fairest place to cop [our] product."
Going deeper – Beyond Confirmed's anti-bot measures, Nazlawy said the most important thing is to have the app show consumers why the collaborations between Adidas and people and brands like Kanye West, Jonah Hill, Ninja, Sean Wortherspoon, and Noah are important to streetwear culture and the creators behind them. That's why alongside scheduled drops or online draws there will be articles that go deeper into how these sneaker or apparel projects came to life, complete with visuals and context about certain elements of their story, like which materials or colors were used on them and why.
"If you really wanna go down the rabbit hole and geek out about what's behind the partnerships, what's behind the design, there's really only one place where you can get that kind of information, and that is from the brand and its partners," said Nazlawy. "And that really is one of the things that will differentiate Confirmed from what we've done before in the past. We really wanna bring people into the whole extended family, what goes into these creations, and what makes them special."