Gucci is diving into virtual luxury footwear with a new exclusively digital pair of sneakers called The Gucci Virtual 25 that can be “worn” in augmented reality (AR) or used in partnered apps like Roblox and VRChat. Surprisingly, the shoes are a lot less expensive than a typical Gucci piece: you can buy the Virtual 25s from Gucci’s app for $12.99, or $8.99 in the Wanna Kicks AR sneaker app.
The Gucci Virtual 25 sneakers are designed by Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele and feature a chunky, neon green and pink look that might not be for everyone. But they feel appropriately over-the-top for something that will never exist in real life. Like all Gucci clothing, the shoes also bear the iconic “GC” logo; in this case, it’s on the sole of the shoe and the inflatable (again, totally virtual) tongue.
The shoes were created in partnership with Wanna, a company that specializes in providing AR technology for marketing (“ARketing,” sigh) and already has its own app for trying on sneakers virtually. The Virtual 25s are sold in Wanna’s app for that less-expensive $8.99 price, but if you want to receive the downloadable assets to show off the shoes in other apps like Roblox or VRChat, you’ll have to purchase them for $12.99 in Gucci’s app.
To be completely honest, after “trying” them on, I don’t think these sneakers are for me. But I can see some of the logic that Gucci and Wanna are playing with. The desire for digital collectibles is only increasing with the growing popularity of NFTs, and while there’s no blockchain involved, Gucci’s shoes have one over on most NFTs: they’re not just a token representing ownership; they can actually be used (well, at least virtually).