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ASICS Taps STEPN to Launch Running Shoes, Solana NFT Collections

ASICS Taps STEPN to Launch Running Shoes, Solana NFT Collections

Japanese sportswear manufacturer ASICS today announced the launch of the ASICS X SOLANA UI Collection. The new range of kicks features a special limited edition GT-2000 11 running shoe that also gives owners a chance to win a limited edition ASICS x STEPN GT-2000 NFT.

“We see a place for us to help in Web3 and bring products that inspire people to be physically active,” said ASICS Director of Web3 & Digital Goods Joe Pace Decrypt in an interview. “For us, it’s just another way to tell stories about our products and get specific communities excited about them.”

Pace says ASICS designed the GT-2000 running shoes for the Web3 community, but it’s also something anyone in the world can use “in balance with physical activity.”

According to ASICS, the GT-2000 11 shoes are available for pre-order for a limited five-day period from November 4-8. The shoes will retail for $200 using USDC via Solana Pay and are available in two custom designs: “light mode” and “dark mode,” with the Solana-inspired design symbolizing the balance between computers and phones with physical activity.

When customers purchase their shoes, they will receive an ASICS branded NFT. This digital collectible will unlock access to future ASICS rewards and experiences.

Image: ASICS

Based in Kobe, Japan, ASICS – short for Anima Sana In Corpore Sano, Latin for “A Sound Mind in a Sound Body” – was founded in September 1949. ASICS launched its first NFT collection, Sunrise Red, in July 2021.

Pace says that while digital fashion tends towards exclusive products, ASICS chose to stay true to its founder’s vision and stick to what it is known for: sneakers.

“We’ve intentionally chosen to stay true to ourselves with this project and do what we’re known for,” he said. “Which is to make amazing running shoes, and running shoes that you would be happy to wear literally every day.”

Pace says ASICS chose to partner with Solana to create a fast, scalable product with low transaction costs for the general public.

“We want to build our program on a blockchain that we know can scale globally from day one and beyond,” he said. “Raj [Gokal] and Anatoly [Yakovenko] has built an incredible culture at Solana that is welcoming, kind and open. The people who work for them are the same way.”

Launched in 2021 by app developer FindSatoshi Lab, STEPN is a smartphone app built on Ethereum rival Solana that allows users to earn money by walking, jogging or running. Users with NFT sneakers are rewarded for walking, jogging or running with in-game tokens that can be used to craft new sneakers.

A non-fungible token, or NFT, is a blockchain token that represents ownership of unique digital or physical objects, including digital artwork, video game items, or membership in exclusive groups such as the global sensation Bored Ape Yacht Club.

Currently the 10th largest blockchain by market capitalization according to CoinGecko, Solana is a popular rival to the much larger Ethereum network due to its high speed and low cost. The two blockchains are even closer rivals now that Ethereum has completed its long-awaited merger into a proof-of-stake consensus algorithm earlier this year.

“People are building on Solana, and it’s builder-friendly,” Pace said. “So if we can keep the building environment healthy by walking and running, it all comes back. The healthier and more active they are, the better programs and apps they can build at Solana.”

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