The Worst Money Nike Ever Spent

December 15, 2022
Posted in Life, Sneakers
December 15, 2022 Nick Engvall

The Worst Money Nike Ever Spent

It’s no secret that Nike is a marketing company before they are a footwear or apparel brand. It’s the marketing that gets us all hooked and makes so many of us love them. It’s also what keeps them at the top of the game and as the aspirational brand in the footwear space. That said, not everything Nike does is successful.

Today I was looking through the RTFKT releases, and although I think the future will eventually include the normalization of blockchain, crypto, and NFTs in some form, the RTFKT acquisition and subsequent releases seem not quite ready for mainstream to me. I don’t really have any reasons to back up the feeling. It looks cool as shit! But with prices upwards of $900 and higher, there are a lot of other things I’d spend my money in first.

Fuelie - Fuel Band Figurine​
Fuelie – Fuel Band Figurine

That got me wondering how many Nike projects have failed and which ones could have played out differently. That’s not to say that the RTFKT partnership isn’t successful, in fact, Nike’s NFT projects are widely considered the most successful in the fashion industry, and it made The Swoosh a shit ton of money.

One of the long forgotten projects with a ton of potential that quickly came to a screeching halt was the Nike FuelBand. the Nike+ FuelBand first launched over 10 years ago in early 2012. Back then, “wearables” hadn’t really even been a term that was used. Fitness tracker or activity tracker was a more typical name for the FuelBand and it’s competitors but that would change drastically in 2015 when the very first Apple Watch was released.

Fuelie - Fuel Band Figurine​
Fuelie – Fuel Band Figurine

Nike and Apple partnered to release a Nike branded Apple Watch in 2016, and that was the beginning of the end for the FuelBand. Personally, the tracking never seemed accurate, and although I found myself trying to hit my goals for the day, it was easily manipulated simply flipping the FuelBand around in your hands. Oh, and there were studies that showed that the Nike FuelBand was the least accurate fitness tracker on the market at the time.

As a part of the marketing for the FuelBand, Nike created a 6-inch figurine named “Fuelie” to help promote the FuelBand. He even had on some tiny little Air Max. The little character never amounted to much but it was a cool way to try and get more people to buy the FuelBand.

Despite the inaccuracy and other shortcomings, I loved the FuelBand. It made me think about exercise and encouraged me to stay active, much like closing my rings on the Apple Watch does today.

Fuelie Nike
Fuelie – Nike FuelBand

You can find these guys on eBay pop up on eBay from time to time but if you’re looking for the Nike FuelBand, Nike discontinued the technology and support for the software users was officially discontinued in 2019. Is the FuelBand the biggest flop for Nike?

Forgive me if there are typos, I’m typing this post on my phone and my thumbs are known to get a little out of hand at times. If you’re enjoying reading my posts, you can buy me a coffee to support.


Nick Engvall

Nick Engvall is a sneaker enthusiast with over 15 years of experience in the footwear business. He has written for publications such as Complex, Sole Collector, and Sneaker News, helped companies like Eastbay, Finish Line, Foot Locker, StockX, and Stadium Goods better connect with their consumers, has an addiction to burritos and Sour Patch Kids, and owns way too many shoes for his own good.

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