Nike Face Mask Causes Aftermarket Frenzy

Mask off.

Nike Face Mask Causes Aftermarket Frenzy

Kevin Durant celebrates after Team USA win the gold for the men's basketball at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Image: IOC

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games certainly generated a lot of surprises – beyond the fact that it went ahead in the first place.

From Italy’s Marcell Jacobs unexpectedly winning the men’s 100m sprint to weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz securing the Philippines’ first-ever gold medal and Australia’s absolute dominance in women’s swimming, it was a truly exciting competition.

One standout news story of the Games, however, was the bizarre-looking face masks that Team USA’s competitors were seen wearing. Highly distinctive, ribbed and protruding, they were compared to everything from Hannibal Lecter’s muzzle from The Silence of the Lambs to Batman villain Bane’s mask from The Dark Knight Rises. In short, there was no missing them – they were easily the biggest style story of Tokyo 2020.

Developed by sportswear giant Nike, the mask’s official product name is the Venturer Performance, and its design inspiration didn’t come from any sort of screen villain – instead, the 3D-structured design was actually inspired by origami (now that’s some lovely marketing for a Tokyo Olympics). Machine-washable and highly comfortable, the design is in pursuit of maximum breathability – making it ideal for usage during athletic activities.

Naturally, their distinct look, technical superiority and that association with the Olympics has made these masks extremely hot property – including Down Under.

Team USA swimmer Kieran Smith, on the podium with his bronze medal for the men’s 400m freestyle, wearing a Nike Venturer Performance face mask. Image: Getty

The masks retail for $60, but they’re sold out everywhere. Naturally, there’s a booming aftermarket for the things: DMARGE has seen scalpers selling the things for as much as double the retail price online (in both Australia and America).

Anything with that Nike swoosh is already hot property for hypebeasts – and considering that here in Australia, most of the population is still suffering under severe lockdowns and the like, the allure of a highly functional, highly distinct, highly cool mask is obvious even to the most fashion-phobic.

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Interestingly, Nike has already taken down its product pages for the Venturer Performance on both their Australian and US online shopfronts. Common reseller platforms such as StockX and the influential Australian buy/sell Facebook group Underground Society also seem to be scrubbing any listings of the sold-out mask.

A product shot of the Nike Venturer Performances in their travel case. The mask features a quick-change strap system so you can alternate between a tough anti-slip strap for working out and a more comfortable strap for more casual usage. Image: Nike

Why all the smoke and mirrors? Maybe it’s because these groups don’t want to be seen to be enabling resellers profiting off masks. That said, we’re more than eighteen months into this COVID reality; that argument may have made more sense last year when there weren’t enough masks to go around.

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Still, three figures for a face mask seems a little punchy – even if they’re Olympic-grade. And especially if they’ve already been used… Eurgh.

Instead, why not check out DMARGE’s guide to the best face masks on the market (that don’t make you look like a psycho).

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