Reebok is giving customers the power to decide if a sneaker will enter production or not.
The athletic brand revealed First Pitch today, a digital platform that will let customers collectively determine if a sneaker will enter production, something it explained will minimize waste and combat the industry’s rapidly-growing environmental footprint.
“First Pitch arrives at a time when the industry is at a unique but critical junction, where consumers are demanding great digital experiences that also enable them to make more-mindful and considerate purchasing decisions,” Reebok global head of digital Matt Blonder said in a statement. “With a history of disruptive innovation, Reebok has an opportunity to leverage its technological and supply-chain expertise to shift the narrative of industry. First Pitch is a small but meaningful step in the right direction that not only sheds light on the unseen and invites them into the process, but encourages a more-thoughtful community of footwear consumers.”
To start the First Pitch process, Reebok will release a product proposal and open a commitment window, which will stay open anywhere from 72 hours to 30 days, depending on the sneaker. The sneaker will start with a customer making a $1 “commitment” that will go up by $1 for each customer that follows until the retail price is matched. Reebok has an end goal is to hit 500 pairs, and if the mark isn’t hit then the brand will not make the shoe. However, if the shoe is made it will ship roughly nine weeks later.
Reebok will introduce First Pitch with the “Bee Keeper” Classic Leather, the creation of two designers with the brand: Emily Gibbemeyer and Alex Chou.
“I have a natural fascination with nature and science and how everything in life is connected in some form — Bees are included in that connection,” Chou said in a statement. “This shoe doesn’t have to be all about taking a stand or having a heavy perspective on our future. The vibe we are trying to capture is the beauty and importance of this creature first.”
First Pitch will launch on Aug. 10.