Nike uses an array of techniques to thwart bots from obtaining its most coveted drops, and it’s go-to platform is its SNKRS app where it employs a few different methods to enable everyday sneaker lovers greater access to its shoes.
This tutorial is designed to help first-time U.S.-based Nike sneaker lovers who are attempting to cop a shoe via a SNKRS reservation or draw, but have no idea how either works.
1. Before the drop, start by downloading the SNKRS app (which is called SNEAKRS in Europe) and set up your Nike+ account. Be sure to open it a solid ten minutes before the actual launch because it can be slow to load. The app is compatible with either Apple or Android smart phones. A lot of sneaker enthusiasts will attempt to win pairs using SNKRS on their desktop and smartphone at the same time, but in order to do this you will need separate delivery addresses, email addresses and payment methods. There are a whole host of other methods people attempt to use to game Nike’s system but we will not be reporting on them here.
2. Load a payment method–either Paypal or a credit card. Also add your address and shoe size and use the toggle to save your filters. In SNKRS notification preferences, enable notifications and then choose the timing of your preference: one week, one day or 15 minutes before the launch.
Nike’s upcoming SNKRS feed includes a “notify me” button, which you can use to stay on top of more basic launch-day product. A lot of the shoes you see in the feed are first-come-first served aka FCFS launches, which means once it goes live and the button changes to “buy now,” whoever is able to purchase the shoes first, takes them home.
3. Just know that the most coveted launches like Off-White collaborative shoes will often show up without warning a day or even as little as an hour, known as a “shock drop,” before the official launch. Nike’s default launch posture is secretive to the extreme and it won’t confirm or deny any rumors about upcoming launches. Until the drop is announced on an official Nike social media platform, in Nike’s eyes it simply doesn’t exist. To stay on top of coveted drops, there are numerous Twitter accounts that will notify you the shoe has arrived. Two of them even have their own apps: @solelinks and @j23app. You can also follow Nike’s @nikestore account but be aware it doesn’t announce every single launch.
3. Reservation launch: SNKRS can be used on either a desktop or a smart phone but if the launch is a reservation that requires an in-store pick up, you will need to use your smart phone and the phone’s location needs to be accessible.
Nike began using a SNKRS reservation system in 2015 (starting with an Jordan 1 silhouette) for its very coveted launches. For store pick-up reserve drops, the button will change from “notify me” to “reserve.” In order to be considered, your phone’s location will need to be turned on. Push the reserve button and then choose a nearby pick-up location. Some but not all reserve drops offer the option of shipping.
In some cases, Nike offers SNKRS Pass, which is limited to locations within a select group of cities and stores (almost always Chicago and New York). If you haven’t saved your sizing and payment info, you will be asked to provide that. If you win the shoe you will received the famed “Got ‘Em” message on the app. If the shoe is a pick-up-only drop, Nike will process the payment and let you know details on when/how to pick up. In order to take the shoes home, you will need to provide official photo identification that matches your winning SNKRS account. Reserve launches are FCFS so it’s a big help if your location is turned on and you have your size and payment pre-loaded and ready to go as soon as the drop is live.
5. Draw launch: SNKRS also employs what’s called a draw, which uses a timed entry system. When the launch goes live, the button changes from “notify me” to “enter draw.” You will have anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to hit the reserve button. If you haven’t saved your sizing and payment info, you will be asked to provide that. You may only enter a reserve draw once. If you attempt it a second time with the same account, you will be informed you’ve already entered. If you win the shoe, within 20-30 minutes after you enter the draw you will received the “Got ‘Em’ message, Nike will process the payment and send you a notification through the app about when you can expect to receive the shoe.
6. Shock drop launch: As of late Nike has begun to employ last-minute launches that require you complete a task to open the purchase page. The shoe will shoe up without warning in the “discover” section of the app and you will need to complete a task to obtain it. In the case of Nike x Off-White x Serena Williams shoe, the silhouette showed up on a “Behind the Shoe” explainer and you had to scratch/rub the blank plastic hang tag to make the copy appear. Once the copy appeared, the user was granted access to purchase the shoe.
Keep in mind that SNKRS app is far from perfect. It can be glitchy and if you visit the @nikestore feed you can see it’s filled with people complaining about usage issues. Most of the time Nike recommends signing out and signing back in or reinstalling the app. If you’re still having problems and there is stock available, you can also call 800-806-6453 from 4:00 AM-11:00 pm PST seven days a week.
As well, Nike constantly adds in twists and turns so six months from now a lot of this could be different. In the meantime, may the W gods be with you!