If you like sneakers, you saw them. They had so much hype that even if you can’t tell one pair of Jordans from another you still probably recognized that they’re those shoes from ‘Ye.
But the shoe that everyone wanted was also the shoe everyone wanted to get rid of.
The Yeezy Boosts were by far the most hyped shoes in 2015. Every drop was a can’t miss and sneakerheads the world over lamented missing out on them.
The feeling was that at a time when Nike has ruled the sneaker world, the Yeezys were a breath of fresh air.
They came with a back-story: Kanye West’s discord with Nike CEO Mark Parker led to the rapper leaving the swoosh to join the three stripes at Adidas. Just as talks were at a fever pitch, Nike released the hottest shoe of 2015 with West’s Air Yeezy “Red Octobers.”
All of this together created a storm of hype to see what Kanye and Adidas would come up with.
Keep in mind, this comes at a time when Kanye and his extended family have made news at every turn. Consider that his sister in-law Kendall is one of the most high profile models in the world, or Kylie’s coming of age in the tabloids is water cooler fodder. Also, you might have heard about his mother in-law (kind-of) Caitlyn Jenner.
Kanye had his Grammy fiasco with Beck, albeit this time he at least let the winner finish their speech. His Michael Jackson Video Vanguard acceptance speech at the VMAs over the summer got enough attention that the media has continued to harp on the statement that he intends to run for President of the United States in 2020.
This brings us back to the Yeezy Boosts. The first iteration were the 750’s that released on February 14. The reaction was mixed. They were different, which in all honesty is very Kanye. However, the high-end fashion look of the shoe made them hard to wear in most settings.
Quite simply, people thought they were ugly.
None of that mattered toward the Adidas bottom-line, sneaker heads, collectors, and celebrities alike all came out in force to turn the drops into an extravaganza. In a year where Jordan brand looked to improve the quality of their retroes, it was the Yeezy’s that were the must-have/can’t get shoe of 2015.
But, there were two big stories that surrounded Yeezys: How many people didn’t get them, and the creative ways people destroyed them.
Every drop was seemingly punctuated by how people went on to ruin their Yeezys. For example, the skater who took the sneakers for spin. Mind you, it wasn’t just a three block trip to the grocery store. The man took them for a YouTube worthy run that shredded through them.
There was also the sneakerhead who took the Yeezys and other grail worthy kicks and dipped them in red paint for “art.” The dollar value went down the drain for one of the most shared pictures of the sneaker Instagram world.
And there were plenty more: Yeezys were burned, shot by paint-ball guns, stomped on, frozen then shattered by a sledgehammer, etc.
But hands down, the worst moment for Yeezys and sneakers this year in general was this moment. ***NSFW NSFW NSFW***Viewer Discretion Advised
What made the Yeezys the most hyped shoe was everything people already knew. What turned them into THE shoe was how people used them as a message to state their opinion. Whether it’s anti-Kanye, anti-capitalism, anti-Kardashians, anti-sneaker culture, the shoes were the outlet for negative energy for people.
The shoes can fetch thousands of dollars on the re-sell market on sites like eBay and Flight Club. Pairs that fans have been lucky enough to get signed by West are down-right untouchable. Yet this shoe that everyone seems to want is also the shoe everyone loves to hate.
Going into 2016, “Yeezy Season” is starting look very cold. While the shoes haven’t lost their drawing power, the accompanying apparel is another story. The collection is notable for baggy and stressed clothing. The point that has fans turning heads though: the price tag. Even the more subtle pieces in the collection fetch several hundred dollars with jackets upwards of a thousand.
This brings the most obvious issue to the forefront. Adidas is not a distributor of high-end fashion. People who are used to buying Adidas gear are not used to paying more than $40 for things that aren’t shoes or jerseys. Fans of Kanye are not opening wallets that wide for things that aren’t Yeezys and Adidas is taking notice.
Yeezy Season 2 is reportedly not being distributed by Adidas, which means that the entire collection from start to finish is all coming from West’s own pocket.
Despite the number of destroyed shoes, the Yeezys are far and away Adidas most premium shoe and sneakers like the Ultra Boosts have seen an increase in sales due to a “Kanye-effect.” It’s the world’s most passionately hated shoe, and people will keep buying them to keep it that way.