Updated on November 9, 2023.
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. Before we go any further, it should be noted that at least in the United States, Nike has successfully shut down bots’ ability to succeed on the site.
This tutorial is designed to help first-time U.S.-based Nike sneaker lovers who are attempting to cop a shoe via a SNKRS, but have no idea how either works. SNKRS is used to sell Nike shoes and more recently apparel, but also Nike brands Converse and Jordan.
Be sure to open SNKRS a couple of minutes before the actual launch because it can be slow to load. The app is compatible with either Apple or Android smart phones. If it’s been a while since you last used SNKRS, provide time to make sure your size and payment info is saved.
Also, have on hand your SNKRS password and depending on your form of payment, your credit card’s three-digit security code or your Paypal password. SNKRS will often ask you to reenter your SNKRS password and also your credit card security code or Paypal password at time of purchase.
A lot of sneaker enthusiasts will attempt to win pairs using SNKRS on their desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone at the same time, but in order to do this you will need separate delivery addresses, email addresses and payment methods for each one. 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.
Navigating Nike’s SNKRS App
Before the drop, start by downloading the SNKRS app and set up your Nike+ account. Set up requires your name, email address, date of birth, country and password. When you sign into your SNKRS account for the first time, Nike will verify your phone number by sending a six-digit code .
The app opens on the home screen (shown above), which shows “Feed,” “In Stock” and “Upcoming” at the top of the app. “Feed” coverage includes background on highlighted silhouettes as well as brand partnerships and events. “In Stock” lists shoes currently available for purchase. Just like it states, the “Upcoming” tab shows a list of coming launch-date shoes.
On the bottom of the home page to the right of the “Home” icon, the “Discover” icon opens a feed with additional Nike-related stories, ranging from employee profiles to info on city-specific SNKRS Pass launches. To the right of “Discover” is “Notifications” where Nike delivers info on whether or not you won (“Got ‘Em!) the shoe you were attempting to cop. It also includes information on placed orders.
How to Create a SNKRS Profile
The “Profile” icon is located to the right of “Notifications.” Touch the icon and then touch the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner. Enter your first name, last name and email, followed by your gender and shoe size. If you want to be extra fancy, you can load a profile picture but it’s not required and you will have to grant Nike access to your phone’s images to do so.
Once you’ve loaded your info, the profile home page will show your name and a rectangle in the middle of the page that reads “Nike + Pass.” When you touch the icon, it will bring up your personal QR (Quick Response) code, which is required to pick up certain types of launches in store. At times, Nike also uses the QR code to access special events and activities in its stores and at other locations.
Load a payment method (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, Nike gift cards, Paypal and Apple Pay on iOS devices) along with your billing and shipping address. Just know that even if you pre-load this information, Nike may ask you to reenter size or payment info during your attempt to procure the shoe.
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 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.
How To Purchase A SNKRS Drop
“Upcoming” is where all the action takes place for popular drops. At the time the shoe launches (usually 10:00 AM EST in the United States), the “Notify Me” button will change over to the price of the shoe. Hit the price button and you will be taken to a list of sizes. Choose your size and hit the “OK” button.
You will then be taken to a page listing the size you selected, your address, form of payment and the total with shipping and tax. Hit the “Buy Now” button at which point you may be asked to enter your SNKRS password and possible your credit card security code or Paypal password. According to Nike, “If you want to use PayPal to order in the SNKRS App, we recommend saving PayPal as a payment method about 30 minutes before the sneakers drop.” If you want to use Paypal, this is a step you should take for each launch.
Good question, if you’re successful you’ll see a “Got’em” message on SNKRS and will receive an order confirmation email. If you want, you can DM us your NikePlus email and we can check on our end if you were successful. https://t.co/ycPFLThrLb— Nike.com (@nikestore) April 5, 2018
If you’re lucky, you will receive the famed “Got ‘Em” message in “Notifications” shortly after you make your payment. According to @nikestore (above), “If you’re successful you’ll see a “Got’ Em” message on SNKRS and will receive an order confirmation email.”
If you didn’t win a pair, you may or may not receive a notification that you weren’t selected.
How Long Does SNKRS Takes To Notify?
The answer is it depends on the launch. The two most common types of SNKRS launches are Draw or DAN and Let Everyone Order or LEO. For a Draw launch, Nike officially states it will notify within 24 hours, however, notification normally takes place with 15-30 minutes. For a LEO launch, you may be placed in a queue but as soon as you’re selected and your payment is processed you will be notified within two to 10 minutes after launch time.
Types Of SNKRS Launches
1. Draw or DAN Launch: This is a system that makes use of a timed entry. When the launch goes live, the icon changes from “Notify me” to “Enter Draw.” Nike will provide a countdown clock showing anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to hit the reserve icon.
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.
Once the “Draw” ends, according to Nike you will be notified within 24 hours (though it’s usually within 15 minutes to an hour after the draw ends) whether or not you were selected to purchase the shoe. Nike will then process the payment and send you a notification through the app about when you can expect to receive the shoe.
3. Exclusive Access: SNKRS will sometimes notify members on the app or desktop that they’ve been given early access to a drop. Usually the push invite will come before or after a release, but it can also be provided randomly. Nike recently provided a tutorial on increasing one’s chances of receiving Exclusive Access.
According to the press release, Nike uses over 50 variables to determine which members are awarded Exclusive Access for a given product. Variables include prior SNKRS launch entries, content engagement and poll responses, among others. While the variables are combined in different ways for each Exclusive Access , Nike says its goal is to reward the most deserving members.
In a nutshell, turn on notifications and engage with SNKRS on a daily basis. If the app is inviting you to participate, whether through a poll or a heart button, do so. In the Discover part of the app, watch the videos and share them. For upcoming drops, tap Notify Me on the silhouettes you’re interested in. Of course don’t buy shoes you don’t want, but just know, Nike is tracking who is actually buying and those individuals will have a better chance of winning the very coveted drops than those who only open the app when a very high heat item drops.
Below is a video entirely dedicated to how one can gain Exclusive Access.
4. First Come First Serve or FCFS or FLOW: Nike rarely use FCFS with SNKRS launches. This is a launch type usually associated with non-SNKRS launches and just like it sounds, whoever submits their payment information first wins the item.
During a FCFS launch, you may receive a “You’re in line” or “Waiting for your turn” message. This is because Nike is processing the orders of the people who purchases the item before you and it is making sure it can fill the size you want once those orders are filled. You can close the SNKRS app and Nike will maintain your place in line, however, if you close the website, you will be removed from the queue. If you win on SNKRS, Nike will briefly hold the pair for you.
For FCFS, you will be notified immediately after the payment clears. Confirmation will be sent in the SNKRS Inbox under notifications and also via email.
It’s worth noting that just because the launch isn’t featured on SNKRS doesn’t mean it’s not coveted. Nike has used FCFS with Fear of God launches as well as the recent Naomi Osaka capsule. Sometimes Nike also employs FCFS when it launches surprise restocks.
3. Let Everyone Order or LEO: Other than DAN, this is Nike’s most popular type of SNKRS launch. This is akin to a FCFS serve launch in that everyone can order, however, behind the scenes Nike uses a secret sauce during processing to select winners. There is a lot of debate around how Nike processes a LEO launch with some saying purchases are cut off two minutes after the drop with Nike then going back and using various algorithms to make selections from the queue of shoppers. However, nobody knows for sure and it’s a good bet Nike is constantly refining how it makes selections.
5. Reserve Launch: SNKRS can be used on any device but if the launch is a “Reserve” requiring an in-store pick up, you will need to use a device that allows your location to be accessible. “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.
Nike began using a SNKRS “Reserve” system in 2015 (starting with a Jordan 1 silhouette) for its very coveted launches. For store pick-up “Reserve” launches (more info from nike.com here), the icon at launch time 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” icon and then choose a nearby pick-up location. Some but not all “Reserve” drops offer the option of shipping. Because of the pandemic Nike has backed off of he use of “Reserve” through 2020.
If you missed out on a “Reserve” launch, sometimes it pays to visit the store stocking the shoe because pairs that aren’t picked up after a certain time are made available to purchase FCFS.
6. SNKRS Pass is a location-specific launch for a select city or group of cities, which at the moment are mostly limited to Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles or New York. Nike will often employ this type of launch in association with very limited edition, sometimes referred to as “Friends & Family” launches, which are then followed up by a wider launch of the same shoe. Often this type of launch is announced with little warning akin to a “Shock Drop” (see below).
If the shoe is an in-store, pick up drop, Nike will process the payment and let you know details on when/where to pick up in “Notifications.” In order to take the shoes home, you will need to show your SNKRS QR code plus provide official photo identification that matches your winning SNKRS account.
7. Shock Drop: Nike will sometimes surprise drop its most coveted launches prior to a previously-stated, official launch date. It will also Shock Drop shoes that aren’t included in its “Upcoming” calendar.
Nike’s default launch posture is secretive to the extreme and it won’t confirm or deny any rumors about upcoming Shock Drop launches. Until the drop is announced on an official Nike social media platform, in Nike’s eyes it simply doesn’t exist.
Once in a great while, Nike will Shock Drop a shoe that can only be accessed by completing a task. In the case of Nike, Off-White and Serena Williams‘ “Shock Drop,” the silhouette was featured in the app’s “Discover” feed with a “Behind the Shoe” story. In order to cop the shoe, the user had to rub an image featuring a blank version of Off-White’s signature plastic hang tag (above left) to make the copy appear. Once the copy appeared, the user was granted access to purchase the shoe.
To stay on top of coveted drops, there are numerous Twitter accounts that will notify you of Exclusive Access notifications and Shock Drops. 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.
Keep in mind that the 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.
May the cop gods be with you!