We've seen bootleg fashion NFTs, we've even seen NFTs from luxury giants, we've seen sneaker NFTs, but we haven't seen any of the big sportswear players wade into the field until now. ASICS is poised become the first company of its ilk to issue official NFTs with its "Sunrise Red" NFT collection — thankfully, it's no mere cash grab but what the company describes as an effort to support the next generation of sneaker designers.

189 individual NFTs are being offered by the sportswear company, comprising various editions of nine digital versions of ASICS shoes like the GEL-LYTE III, Metaracer, and even ol' reliable flip-flops. Each NFT will be offered for sale via auction in a limited edition of 20, bolstered by a single unique gold edition. Winning bidders receive the NFTs, digital textures and 3D models of their prize and — if they snagged a gold edition — they'll also receive a complimentary future ASICS NFT.

Normally we'd be relatively unimpressed by a giant corporation utilizing a timely trend (NFTs are still hot, right?) to enrich itself, but ASICS' intentions here are actually pretty thoughtful.

All proceeds from the NFT sales will fund the new ASICS Digital Goods Artist-In-Residence Program, a platform for new and established digital artists alike to envision ASICS' ongoing NFT drops. It'd be interesting if ASICS also utilized these conceptual shoes as a springboard to create imaginative real-world sneakers (giving the original designers a cut of the credit and cash, of course) but the initiative is currently focused on the digital design angle alone.

"At ASICS we strive to be at the forefront of innovation in the sporting goods sector," Joe Pace, Head of Business Development, ASICS Running Apps, said in a statement. "So, while we are excited to drop the world’s first digital shoe release from a major sporting goods company, this is only the beginning. In coming together with some of the most creative and forward-thinking digital artists in the world through our new Artist-in-Residence program, our long-term vision is to push the boundaries of digital goods to inspire physical activity."

Bidding on the ASICS NFTs begins on OpenSea July 15 and ends July 19. Digital designers looking to enter ASICS' new program should head over to the dedicated ASICS NFT site for more information.

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