Monday February 2nd, 2015

With supply outstripping demand, the current model of limited edition sneaker releases is an inefficient model. Adidas wants to be the first to fix that, launching Adidas Confirmed, the first mobile app to help you reserve shoes during hyped sneaker releases.

“Each consumer has an equal chance of registering for a reservation,” Simon Atkins, Adidas’ vice president of brand activation, told SI.com. “It takes all that frustration and puts the power to the consumer in a fair system.”

Currently hyped limited-edition releases can fill consumers with frustration, no matter the brand. Lotteries on social media or in actual brick-and-mortar stores can tilt the favor to “bots” or those with an “in” on the system. Plus, you’ve got plenty of long lines to deal with.

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Atkins says the consumer journey can easily lead them to lines upon lines upon lines if they missed out on the initial reservation. With the high resale value of some of the top limited-edition releases, the use of computer-generated "bots" to beat the online systems can heighten that frustration or lead to not all the products finding a home.

The Adidas Confirmed app instead allows users to securely enter their information in an enclosed system that can’t be adjusted, Atkins says. “We arrived at the app as a much more secure way to get accurate information.”

Consumers get notified of a release via a push notification from the app, allowing them the chance to make a reservation. The app gives them a location and time to pick up the product, during normal hours and not early in the morning on Saturdays.

Courtesy of Adidas

The process has consumers signing up, reserving and picking up sneakers using only mobile phones.

Using geo-targeting, Adidas can also set geo fences around a release to ensure people nearby have a chance to reserve a pair of sneakers. If, for example, Adidas planned a special Derrick Rose limited edition in Chicago and select other cities, only users near the stores the shoe will drop in will have the opportunity to reserve.

A current frustration occurs when a release gets reopened because not enough people picked up their initial reservations. With the app, Adidas not only knows who is making the reservation, but from where they are doing it.

“We don’t have third-party individuals or groups outside the market gaining the system,” Atkins says.

Adidas will start with sneakers, using the app “multiple times per month.” Expect the first use of the app “soon,” with the key 2015 releases coming via the Confirmed app. Adidas expects additional benefits in the future, whether releasing other types of product or including additional content on the app when announcing a release.

Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and gear for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb

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