The Italian shoe brand released the trainer, a bright green fashion shoe with a 3D snake detail that wraps around its body, in the metaverse and as NFTs as part of the inaugural Metaverse Fashion Week.
The digital Cobras trainers were developed in collaboration with metaverse brand DeadFellaz and digital fashion marketplace Neuno marketplace. They will be sold in the metaverse, a parallel virtual world where people interact with each other through digital communications.
"This experience allows us to open to a whole new interesting audience, people who love luxury and want to experience it through all possible means and realities," Giuseppe Zanotti, founder of the eponymous brand, told Dezeen.
"Furthermore, it’s interesting for us to explore new possible interactions between physical and digital realities."
A limited-edition run of 1,000 digital trainers will be purchasable for use within online gaming and the metaverse, where users will be able to dress their avatars in the digital Giuseppe Zanotti trainer.
"We are so excited to work with such an iconic fashion brand leading the luxury industry since 1994," said DeadFellaz co-founder Betty.
"We connected immediately to the Cobras sneaker design as it is highly represented throughout our art and brand ethos, visually inspired by textures and colour. We’re thrilled to see Giuseppe’s tremendous effort to transform and adapt fashion in the digital era."
Zanotti, which is best known for designing contemporary leather goods including jeweled and studded heels and shoes, released the original physical version of the Cobras trainers at the tail-end of 2021.
"To be part of such an innovative project, I immediately thought of Cobras, our brand-new style of sneakers with such a visionary aesthetics, which we launched recently with American hip hop artist Young Thug," Zanotti said.
"The 3D snake that wraps around the body of the shoe is a symbol of power and transformation, so it perfectly embodies the spirit of this collaboration."
As well as the shoes being available to purchase digitally, holders of a neuCard – a VIP membership on the Neuno marketplace – will receive an entirely digital outfit designed by Neuno and DeadFellaz.
This will comprise a green bucket hat, two shirts, a bomber jacket and the Cobras trainers.
When asked if this venture marks the beginning of Giuseppe Zanotti's expansion into the metaverse, Zanotti simply stated: "I say why not?"
"We are just moving the first steps in this field, so it’s early to talk, but we cannot really exclude any hypothesis at this moment," said Zanotti.
"When I listen to people talking about metaverse, I remember the first conversations we had about e-commerce: it was like a taboo and the first experiments were not really successful," he added. "Now we cannot live without it."
"E-commerce saved our businesses during the lockdown periods. Metaverse seemed so distant from us just a few months ago, instead, now it’s the present."
Many brands, including Nike, The Fabricant and Balenciaga have recently begun exploring digital fashion. These brands have released clothing that users can only experience in gaming and the metaverse, which has been tied to the conception of Web3 – the next generation of the internet and world wide web.
Architecture studio Voxel Architects also designed a rocket-shaped virtual building in the metaverse to host the closing event of the Metaverse Fashion Week.
Metaverse Fashion Week took place on Decentraland on 24-27 March. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.