Nike gets the jump on virtual sportswear while launching Shapa

From the Shapa training centre for Sowetan residents to e-sneakers for Zuckerberg’s Metaverse…

Nike recently unveiled Shapa Soweto just south of Johannesburg, a training centre that targets a new generation of athletes. This space was previously the Nike Football Training Centre, which was opened ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Almost 12 years later, the prominent sportswear brand saw a need for an upgrade and rebrand in line with its more recent positioning.

Shifting the narrative around athleticism, Nike encourages people of all fitness levels to get involved, stating: If You Have a Body You’re an Athlete. Shapa Soweto is a space for anyone who wants to play team sports, exercise, or simply have fun. The new centre comprises facilities for football and boasts FIFA-accredited fields, as well as basketball, distance running, track and field, training, dancing, and even skateboarding.

“It's a place for the next generation of athletes, culture shapers, and fashion makers to come together and do what they do best [...] if you like to move, Shapa Soweto is the place for you to do it,” states Nike.

A vital component of the revamp was to promote more inclusivity and provide a safe space for women athletes to develop across all sporting codes. Additionally, Nike will provide guidance and access to sport and cultural facilities that accelerate growth and give equal opportunities to all athletes. Shapa Soweto will also host visits from local and international athletes, workshops, talks, and events.

Those interested in becoming a member of Shapa Soweto and making use of the facilities can sign up for free via the website (https://www.shapasoweto.co.za/about). Members are encouraged to attend events, book their own sessions, and invite friends to join. Nike wants Shapa Soweto to become a hub for connection that goes beyond sports, and to foster a “community of athletes, artists, and culture lovers who are looking for ways to bring these two worlds together.”

In other Nike news...

Nike is hinting at selling a collection of virtual clothing, sneakers, and accessories. The sportswear giant recently filed for trademark requests including “Nike”, “Just Do It”, “Jordan”, and “Air Jordan”, to the US Patent and Trademark Office for virtual goods.

This move follows Facebook’s introduction of Meta, which will allow humans to interact in a virtual metaverse. The idea is that those in the metaverse will sport Nike’s footwear and apparel in a way like never before. While this plan may not materialise anytime soon, the brand is laying the groundwork to ensure they remain on top of their game in every space, even virtual.

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