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Shoe manufacturer steps into blockchain

Darren Parkin

Footwear giant New Balance has announced it will be using blockchain technology in the fight against counterfeit trainers.

The Boston-based manufacturer has turned to distributed ledger to enhance trust and provenance with the release of its latest basketball shoe.

New Balance Athletics Inc brought in blockchain specialists Input Output Hong Kong to develop the ‘New Balance Realchain’ – a distributed ledger technology platform built on the Cardano blockchain.

The pilot programme – launched in tandem with the release of the OMN1S shoe – will grant customers the ability to record ownership of the footwear.

Secure data

Each purchase comes with a Realchain card which aligns to a microchip embedded within the fabric of the shoes. Using the New Balance app, owners can hold secure data about authenticity and record of sale.

Ian Fitzpatrick – New Balance’s head of marketing – said the move was about maintaining provenance and quality.

“We are using blockchain technology to innovate at multiple points of the customer lifecycle,” he said.

“We’re also helping customers feel confident that the footwear they are purchasing fulfils the quality promise that is central to the New Balance brand.”

It’s also IOHK’s first foray into the retail industry with its blockchain systems, which is why its chief executive – Charles Hoskinson – is using the pilot project as a test to see what other use cases may evolve.

“We’re looking forward to seeing what New Balance customers make of the opportunity to protect their investment by verifying the authenticity of their new purchase forever, on the Cardano blockchain,” he explained.

“We believe that the New Balance OMN1S will be just the first of many products authenticated as genuine in this way, doing away with the need for paper receipts or certificates of authenticity forever.”

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