Jeff Staple is a sneaker legend, and deservedly so, because of his “Pigeon” Nike SB Dunk Low. The shoe’s release and subsequent riot was an early signifier of how crazed sneaker culture was becoming, drawing attention from mainstream news sources who had previously never thought it.
Still, I can’t help but feel as if Staple has somewhat tainted his legacy by doing entirely too much in recent years. It seems as if the man simply cannot say no to a collaboration, as his iconic Pigeon logo has appeared on less attractive sneakers from Puma, the bootlegger Warren Lotas, and Patrick Ewing’s standalone brand. For that reason, it comes as no surprise at all that Staple has become the biggest sneaker player yet to get into NFTs.
Here we go — RTFKT Studios, the digital-only sneaker brand that’s already made millions, has announced it's collaborating with Staple to create his first NFTs. The release consists of two color schemes for an entirely original sneaker — that is, if you can ignore its similarities to the Air Force 1 — as well as a robotic pigeon.
The AF1 lookalikes feature a metallic, borderline steampunk construction that puts the Pigeon logo toward the heel and replaces the Swoosh with the head of a futuristic bird from hell. The purple and silver version is an edition of 100, with each token priced at $2,021. A more plain silver version with a white sole, meanwhile, has unlimited availability for $500 bucks a pop.
Where Staple has deviated from RTFKT’s formula is by packaging the NFTs with a physical version of the sneaker included. Many sneakerheads might find the idea of buying an intangible shoe absurd, but pairing digital and IRL components together is a great way to entice the skeptics.
For the average person, either sneaker is still prohibitively expensive — but we do respect that the bird NFT is priced at just $1 a pop to allow wider participation. That said, if you’re reading this... it’s too late.
Surprise, everything’s sold out already — Both the purple sneaker and $1 bird NFT, which was also an edition of 100, have sold out while sales for the non-numbered sneaker have been closed. As much as we may find sneaker NFTs to be a strange phenomenon or poke fun at Staple for always appearing to saying yes, the collaboration was a runaway success.
We’ve already predicted sneaker NFTs are going to be huge — and if anyone was doubtful, Jeff Staple deserves credit for helping to reveal the path forward.