Who is winning web3? Adidas Vs Nike

Part One: Adidas
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Who is winning web3? Adidas Vs Nike

As we come to the end of another year of web3 and metaverse madness (despite the news that we’re heading into an NFT winter, where adoption is slowing down), we reflect on the brands that are leading the pack when it comes to web3 and culture. 

Who is winning the web3 strategies between Nike and Adidas? In part one, we’ll explore a timeline of events from Adidas and dissect what they’ve done well (and not so well). Part 2 will follow with a similar breakdown of Nike’s ventures. Let’s get things started… 

Adidas Timeline: 

  • November 2021 adidas bought land in The Sandbox (a metaverse world built on the blockchain). A bold move, but we’ve yet to really see the result. It could be limited by The Sandbox’s stunted release strategy and fairly clunky user experience (trying to log in can be a challenge). Pair that with The Sandbox making headlines earlier this year for their low daily usage figures, and this could either be the most genius long-game or something that is canned (as we’ve seen with another web3 venture of Adidas ‘Ozworld’, that we’ll cover later). 
  • 1 day later – Adidas announce a partnership with Coinbase and said it was ‘probably nothing... In the scheme of things, we agree. The partnership is more of a back-end integration to make connecting, paying for assets and storing them easier. Whilst this isn’t exactly nothing, it’s a user experience that people would come to expect. Kudos to Adidas for setting the bar for others though.
  • December 2021 the brand launched “Into the metaverse” aka “ITM”, with a statement of intent alongside a glossy launch film featuring some fan favourites BAYC and others into a 3D-rich world. 
  • January 2022 – In partnership with Prada, releasing an NFT collection with digital artist Zach Lieberman called ‘re-source’. Using a newly created Discord server they were able to invite 3000 fans to co-create a charity auction piece which was made by a composite of anonymised photos. 
  • March 2022 – Adidas gave away a handful of Sandbox x Alpha Pass - the opening of Season 2 of The Sandbox gave us our first glimpse at the brand in this metaverse space, but it amounted to nothing more than a storefront, hopefully, more is to come.  
  • April 2022 – Phase 1: Bored Ape Yacht Club, Punks Comics, and GMoney NFT collaboration featuring exclusive physical merch drops with 30,000 NFTs selling in a matter of hours earning Adidas $22million 
  • May 2022 – Phase 2: Adidas travelled further into the metaverse. holders received a phase 2 NFT at the time of merch claim. phase 2 ‘ITM’ holders then received a mysterious airdrop. capsule contents loading…which has only just revealed itself months later.

  • May 2022 – In the meantime, along with Ready Player Me (an interoperable avatar platform, in our opinion RPM are really the ones that will have a large stake in the avatar ownership world). adidas launched Ozworld, a personality AI-generated avatar. Unfortunately, the website is no longer available, either Adidas gave up hope or the website is temporarily down, either way. Not a good look. 
  • June 2022 – Capsule airdrop for holders of any of the previous Adidas NFTs.
  • November 2022 – THE UNBOXING: Adidas reveal the mystery items were airdropped to users, releasing a new breed of digital fashion NFTs and Virtual Gear called the genesis collection (clearly a word that feels synonymous with digital collectables at this point with Nike Cryptokicks also having their generative sneaker in their own Genesis collection). 
  • November 2022 – Delivering on their promise they introduce the Adidas PFP Styling Tool
  • December 2022 – Adidas x Art Basel event ‘Probably Real’ which is only accessible for those with Adidas, NAYC NFTS or those that are part of the punks comics DAO. This merging of utility and rewarding the fandom is a really interesting move and a space that we’re seeing a lot of web3 strategies beginning to explore. A concern here is that with a really high price point for many of the initial entries into the web3 space, the inclusivity of events like these needs to be explored further.
Adidas Virtual Gear - Genesis Collection

Useful links:

  • See a full list of the adidas NFTs listed on OpenSea
  • Follow Indigo Herz the BAYC avatar that dishes out the latest web3 news from adidas and their ‘ITM’ initiatives


Overall, Adidas are displaying consistency and determination to push its web3 ideas and strategies. There's a real sense of test and learning, with Adidas not being afraid to scrap initiatives if they don’t ladder back to longer-term vision such as Ozworld. 

Last November, they released their statement of intent, but 2022 has been a big focus on growing their community and digital collectable offering. With very little progression into more immersive metaverse worlds. 


To give us a hint for where Adidas might be going next, let’s look at what some of their leaders in the field are saying:  

“Adidas will explore every viable utility, platform and experience within Web3 to unlock new possibilities for our wearables, with a focus on tangible value and immutable utility for our community members,” said Erika Wykes-Sneyd, VP of the Adidas Three Stripes Studio, in a release.

All of this suggests that Adidas have no interest in slowing down, so if any brands have any hesitancy around developing their web3 strategies then just take a look at their determination. We predict that Adidas will continue to focus on dressing the avatar. Their latest NFT collection is also displaying some genetics, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re laying the groundwork for the ability to start creating your very own Adidas Virtual Gear.

Andrea Nieto – Senior Designer Future, Adidas, commented: “We always seek to be community first, born from culture, and to do what Originals do. That is what led us to gmoney, Pixel Vault and the Bored Apes Yacht Club. You can’t say you're doing stuff with a community if you just partner up with one person. So, it had to be more than one, which makes this a lot more beautiful, but also more complex.”

It’s not gone unnoticed by us or the fans that one of the Genesis collection is a cryptic key encased in the garment, leaving us wondering what the key will open. Most likely an exclusive experience and perhaps the long awaited further step into the metaverse either with The Sandbox or their own. 

Join us next time for a breakdown of Nike’s web3 strategy as we take the streetwear brands leading the charge and pit their strategies head to head.