What the new shoes from musician Kanye West mean for sneakerheads and the future of footwear design.

Photo Credit: Hoffer Adler LLP

After first debuting in 2019, the Yeezy Foam Runners have consistently made waves in the sneakers industry release after release, with the most recent drop occurring on May 29th.

So what makes the foam runners such a hot topic?

Firstly, there’s the star power imparted by the Yeezy brand and by Kanye’s name. The brand mania is inherent to sneaker culture paired with the Chicago rapper’s worldwide popularity set up his collaboration with German sportswear company Adidas for success since its inception in 2013.

But there’s more than just celebrity appeal: what sets the foam runners apart, even from other Yeezy products, is their eye-catching, outlandish design. The design is filled with curves and shapes that give the shoe a silhouette unlike any other sneaker on the market. The style is somehow both very natural, something like a plant or corral structure, yet also very alien-like something from outer space. Latticed on the sides with a web of oblong holes, the shoes have been compared online to everything from the working artist H. R. Giger did on the Alien film franchise, to a high fashion sort of croc or clog.

Photo Credit: Sneaker News

And yet despite the somewhat unorthodox look, Yeezy Foam Runners have kept fans and collectors wanting more. Beyond just its futuristic look, the forward-thinking nature of the Yeezy Foam Runners is more than just cosmetic. The whole shoe is a single piece, with no moving parts or laces. The chunky footwear is also constructed partly from algae, in line with Kanye’s desire to produce more sustainable products with his Yeezy brand. This was also a step forward for Adidas as a whole, which has been making great strides towards sustainability in the fashion and sportswear industry.

Another impressive feat is that these shoes retail for $75 USD, a very accessible price point for such highly demanded shoes (though this does drive the resale price up, sitting around triple their retail price on the reseller’s market). Not to mention that prices like this are not often seen on sustainably made items in an industry that’s still scrambling to catch up with the move towards sustainability. In this regard, Kanye seems to be living up to his promise of “Yeezys for everyone,” not just in taste, but in terms of access. And with a multi-billion dollar deal with GAP, his luxury shoes might become even more widely available in the coming years.