Nike celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and it’s honoring that milestone by looking at both the past and the future. The brand has partnered with global creative company Buck to bring a WebAR experience to 11 of its stores around the world, including those in New York City, Paris, and Shanghai. The project aims to highlight the spirit of DNA (Department of Nike Archives) and support the future of storytelling within the retail space.
Visitors can unlock the experience by using their smartphone’s camera as a QR scanner. Each of the 11 augmented reality experiences is contained within a QR box designed to mimic frosted glass, as to heighten the AR’s reveal and entice users to engage with each story. Accented with orange rims, the boxes virtually open up when scanned with a smartphone, revealing an array of Nike artifacts that visitors can explore through gestures and display cues.
What’s in store — In total, 17 pieces from Nike’s archive are included in the project. Vintage apparel, waffle-sole sneakers, and the brand’s legendary Mercurial cleats are just some of the products that visitors can explore with in-depth descriptions and interactive augmented reality features. Through the virtual display, users can view the archival pieces in detail and from multiple angles.
To make each artifact compatible with the real-time augmented reality experience, Buck optimized a combination of 3D scanning, WebAR, and Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) technology. WebAR allows for lightweight AR experiences supported by a web browser or any modern smartphone, making augmented reality accessible to most users. SLAM enhances the display by spatially anchoring objects in front of the user, allowing them to walk around each Nike artifact as though it were truly present. Each feature brings a “crucial” sense of awe and immersion to the experience, a press release states.
Looking toward the next 50 — Nike has heavily focused on its past and future throughout its 50th-anniversary celebrations. Alongside an array of innovative sneakers, the brand released Seen It All, a Spike Lee-directed short film that honors the strength of Nike’s archives and the promise of its future. Ongoing projects are making good on said potential, too: Nike has emphasized its environmental efforts through its newly-erected Serena Williams building and is meeting a majority of its ambitious 2025 targets surrounding sustainability and inclusion.
The brand is “a 50-year startup,” John Hoke, Nike’s Chief Design Officer, said in a press conference earlier this year. As if Nike’s inventive products and partnerships aren’t enough proof, he added, “we're never done creating; we’re never done exploring.”
Do your own exploring through Buck’s WebAR experience.