Aglet, a Pokémon GO for sneakerheads, is a great fit
Words: Daniël Geldenhuys | Images: Instagram
For proof that Aglet is an authentic “by sneakerheads for sneakerheads” app, look no further than its language. You’re greeted by a splash page with the tagline “Rock ‘em and cop ‘em”. When consulting the map to plan a walk, you’re reminded to “stay safe, playa”. Repair stations give you the opportunity to “make ‘em shiny”, to acknowledge a notification you tap “aight”, and if that notification happens to be that the treasure stash you walked to is empty, acknowledgement takes the form of a “d’oh” button.
Aglet, marketed as a Pokémon GO for sneakerheads, is the brainchild of Ryan Mullins, former head of digital innovation strategy for adidas. It merges the health and fitness benefits of step counting with the fun of sneaker collection and maintenance. The goal is to walk as far as possible to collect enough points in order to shop a fantastic offering of digital footwear: the store is stocked with everything from limited-edition New Balance to Vans, Yeezy, Fenty, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Bape… you get the picture. There’s also original footwear designed by the Aglet team. Mullins envisions the app becoming a design studio where users can conceptualise footwear to be produced in real life.
At the time of writing, this reviewer had walked 36 thousand steps on Aglet. At cumulative milestones (5k steps, 10k, 20k, 50k, all the way to 5 million) you’re rewarded with a sneaker box containing a fresh pair of kicks. Opening the box is a fun ritual of taps and swipes – it’s little details like this that make the app fun. The main difference between Aglet and Pokémon GO (as long as we’re comparing) is that it feels like Aglet is on your side: sneakers don’t run away, you’re never scavenging for supplies and you don’t get kicked out of gyms. During setup, you link the app to your phone’s pedometer, so you don’t have to keep the app open for it to count your steps. Should you choose to run it in the background, it will notify you when you’re near a significant area in your town, approaching a step milestone or wearing out your sneakers.
Yes, sneakers wear out in Aglet, much faster than in real life. You can purchase cleaning products in the store or walk (or drive) to a repair station to give them a 10% condition bump. Deadstock stations are the rarest hotspots on the app map, offering a 100% condition boost. The only catch is that they take seven days to reload after use, so you might end up having to take a drive into the suburbs to find another.
My 36k steps amounted to 1.67k Aglet (the basic form of app’s currency, which you earn as you walk; there’s also Gold Aglet). I spend a mere 120 on a pair of green and brown Vans that feel very me. I’m going to have to do a lot more walking to afford the 60k Chanel Pharrell sneaker I like. So far, I haven’t earned a single Gold Aglet – it appears you have to purchase those with Rand. I have my eye on the Louis Vuitton Jasper Kanye Patchwork high tops. Their 799 Gold Aglet price tag translates to R1249.99, which I’d much rather spend on a sensible pair of real-life Converse, but hey, I’m still new in the Aglet universe.
I may not be a big enough sneakerhead to understand what d’oh means, but with the amount of walking I do in life and so little to lose, I’m not about to delete this app any time soon. After all, I can now claim to be wearing two pairs of shoes at any given time: the ones I have on IRL and whatever I’m currently rocking on Aglet. Insert sneaker emoji. Insert nail painting emoji.