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Over three million bots have tried to buy Travis Scott's new sneakers

Leading some to wonder if we can talk about real sneakers or pure collectibles

Over three million bots have tried to buy Travis Scott's new sneakers Leading some to wonder if we can talk about real sneakers or pure collectibles

Last Friday the drop of the highly anticipated Travis Scott x Fragment x Air Jordan 1 Low took place. As already happened for practically all the sneakers signed by the Houston rapper, the new silhouette went sold-out almost immediately, immediately reappearing on the main resell platforms with a hundredfold price points, which were between € 1000 and € 1500 against an initial price of € 159. The shoe had been available through a raffle both on the SNKRS app and on the official website of Travis Scott on which, according to what was communicated by the brand itself, the fraudulent requests by bots had reached the extraordinary figure of three million. And, as Complex wrote: «Though Scott’s webmasters said they were working to eliminate the bot orders, that didn’t stop them from being used en masse again today […]. It remains to be seen how effective the shop’s process is against bots as a whole, but being able to identify that many fraudulent entries is certainly a step in the right direction».

The episode underlined, in addition to the incredible commercial success of the Cactus Jack brand, which this year has also collaborated with Dior, also the difficulty with which the sneaker industry is fighting the problem of bots. A problem that had already emerged last May with the immediate sold-out of the new Nike FlyEase model, born to help people with disabilities or with reduced mobility and immediately became the subject of ruthless speculation, and that Nike, but also brands such as Telfar or Supreme, are trying to counter by developing new technological solutions with more stringent authentication criteria.  But some voices within the industry, especially Bobby Kim, one of the two founders of the platform and streetwear brand The Hundreds, pointed out how the hype surrounding many of the recent sneaker releases has in fact overshadowed the sneakers themselves as a physical product – more similar, in public perception, to collectible works of art than to actual wearable shoes.

«ou'll see the shoes 100x on social media before seeing them in the wild», wrote Kim on his Instagram. «There might be a couple kids at school who Got ‘Em, but chances are they won’t wear them. So, the majority of your relationship with, and understanding of, this pair of sneakers will be gleaned from a digital experience». Speaking of how many sneakers expected and surrounded by a huge hype like those of Travis Scott exist more in the digital metaverse than in real life, now treated more like priceless collectibles now separated from their actual practical use, Kim asks the question: «If much of sneaker collecting is in boasting, trading, and re-selling, then does Nike need to make the product at all? Do basketball shoes need to be designed as anatomically correct if they’re never placed on your feet? »