Sportmaster, the leading Russian sporting goods retailer, has agreed to become one of the six companies participating in a pilot project of placing RFID tags on shoes sold in the country, showing the origin of the goods and certifying that they are not counterfeits.

The retailer has already registered itself in a specially established federal database in which all tags must be recorded, allowing them to be easily traced by customers with the use of a mobile device. After the pilot phase, from July 1, 2019, RFID chips will become compulsory for all shoes sold in the Russian market.

Five major Russian shoe retailers - Kari, the Moscow Shoes Factory, Paris Commune, Zenden Group and Analpa – have also confirmed their participation in the project alongside Sportmaster, according to the Center for Advanced Technologies Development (CATD), the government agency appointed to manage the project.

Today every other pair of shoes on the Russian market is sold in violation of existing regulations. One out of three shoe stores in the country sells fake shoes under the labels of well-known brands. In this regard, tagging footwear seems to be the only way to combat fraud in Russia.

Sportmaster said it realizes the importance of traceability of the products' origins and plans to prepare and set up all business processes required to widen the introduction of RFID tags on the market.