NZXT is a hardware manufacturer that makes cases, components, and accessories for the PC gaming market. RTKFT makes "virtual and physical next-gen collectible sneakers for the best esports, gaming, and entertainment celebrities." Each is a powerhouse in its own field, but when they come together like the proverbial chocolate and peanut butter, the results are... well, kind of confusing, really.
SNEAKERS MASTER RACE, @NZXT DRIP 💧 pic.twitter.com/OuNrEA6j4RJanuary 20, 2021
Is it a shoe that looks like a PC? Or a tiny PC that looks like a shoe? Or is it just a weird piece of ridiculously expensive swag to put up on your shelf between your Assassin's Creed statuette and GTA coffee mug? At first glance, I honestly couldn't tell, and neither RTFKT—that's "Artifact" phonetically, by the way—nor NZXT were very helpful in clarifying.
The shoe-system was initially teased on Twitter as a sort of surprise for NZXT, although RTFKT later confirmed that a partnership with the hardware maker is in place, "empowering RTFKT and our creator community to create the future of fashion and collectibles, powering our vision, community and crazy ideas with their awesome builds and love of gaming."
I like entertaining the idea that these might be actual shoes, with a fake fan attached to the sole and a battery-powered holographic window revealing all sorts of techno-innards that aren't actually there. I know, I know—it's a wee little PC and there's no way anyone could possibly stuff a foot in there without stomping who-knows-how-much expensive hardware into pieces, and shredding some toes in the process. They're definitely not real shoes. I mean, they can't be. Right?
(I've reached out to RTFKT to ask. Just to be sure, you see. I'll let you know.)