Adidas is introducing a new update to its sneaker-reservation app Confirmed, in hopes of giving people who actually want to wear replica Yeezy Boosts the chance to buy ’em. Of course, Adidas Yeezy Boost sneakers have been some of the most—if not the most—highly coveted sneakers out there ever since they debuted in 2015, which is why nabbing a pair at retail (and not for a jacked-up price on the after-market) requires Olympic-athlete-level shopping skills. You have to know which raffles to enter, when to enter them, and, if you’re lucky enough to add a pair in your size to a cart, you need have the data-entry skills of a professional to complete the transaction before they’re gone. That’s why many compete for a pair of replica Yeezy Boosts every drop, but only a small, small, small few emerge victorious.
The fake Yeezy Boost market is driven in large part not by fashion experts but by computer experts who develop “bots”—algorithms designed to enter credit card info and “complete purchases” faster than any human could. Because of this, resellers of in-demand kicks have been able to make small fortunes off the limited-edition releases while the majority of customers are left out in the cold (or to fend for themselves on Grailed and eBay).
With this latest update to the app—which already requires users to register for drops hours before they go on sale and to be physically present within certain GPS-located zones—users will have to answer questions to successfully reserve pairs of shoes. The way it works is simple: After selecting your size in a shoe, you will have to answer a multiple-choice question with nine potential answers before the reservation is complete. But rest assured, despite the Q&A format, we doubt Yeezy shopping is about to become Sneaker Jeopardy!
Rather, Confirmed will utilize a system many are already familiar with—in which you will be asked to select the photos that correspond to a question, a task easy enough to most people but hard enough to outsmart a bot. For instance, the software will ask, “Which of these photos is of a dog?” and of nine boxes, only one will be of a dog while the other eight are of cats, birds, and dragons. By answering the obvious (to a real live human), you will successfully pass the security checkpoint.
By creating an extra step to the process, Adidas hopes to make the playing field for Yeezy shopping a little more democratic. They’re right to fight bots because of the supply-chain nightmare they create, as well as the billion-dollar reseller market that already exists.
But the challenge they face is that the brands vs. bots battle seems to be nothing more than an arms race. When reached for comment, the guys at Yeezy Mafia, who run a controversial business of selling backdoor entry to Adidas’s online site, bluntly stated that this app update will only be a temporary measure. “It’s more or less a short delay, though. I’m pretty sure we will figure it out,” said Yeezy Mafia. But at least when it comes to this next drop (a restock of the Yeezy Boost 350 “Zebra” on June 24), know that buying Yeezys, for the first time in months, will be at least a little more fair.