Nike takes big step into connected tech by testing it in limited-edition sneakers

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Nike

These shoes were made for walking, but that’s not all they’ll do. For the first time ever, Nike will turn sneakers into connected devices by adding its NikeConnect technology to the newly released AF1 NikeConnect QS NYC sneakers.

The new AF1 NikeConnect QS NYC sneakers will come with an NFC (near-field communication) chip embedded under a NikeConnect logo on the heel of the sneaker. By using the NikeConnect app on a phone, you can tap your phone on the sensor and gain access to exclusive content and Nike events in New York City, as well as an opportunity to purchase other popular Nike kicks.

The NikeConnect logo won’t be appearing on your favorite Nike sneakers just yet. The company is beta testing the prospect of adding NikeConnect to its footwear with a limited release of the AF1 NikeConnect QS NYC. Since this initiative is in its testing stage, only select NikePlus members in New York City will receive invitations to purchase a pair of AF1 NikeConnect QS NYC sneakers via Nike’s SNKRS app this month.

“Tests like this one with the AF1 NikeConnect QS NYC are critical building blocks as we deliver NikePlus members worldwide even more personalized services and experiences that are customized by the footwear and apparel they wear and love,” Sandra Carreon-John, global corporate communications director at Nike, emailed Digital Trends.

Nike debuted its NikeConnect technology in late September 2017 by adding a scannable NikeConnect logo to the bottom of NBA jerseys. Tapping your smart device on the NikeConnect logo on a jersey takes you to the designated page for that corresponding team, unveiling access to up-to-date game scores, curated highlight packages, limited=edition apparel, tickets, and even Spotify playlists.

This may be the first time Nike is putting NFC chips in its footwear, but others have also experimented with the technology. Adidas has been experimenting with placing NFC chips in its footwear since 2013, when the second-largest sportswear brand in the world did so with a limited number of its adidas Boost running shoes. Anyone with an NFC-enabled smart device was able to tap it on the “lace jewel” attached to the running shoe’s laces and get product information, as well as reviews of the product.

The next step of Nike footwear could be all in the taps.