Almost two years have passed by since Kanye West statements, made during the episode of the podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience” on 24th October 2020. In the interview the singer spoke widely about his journey in fashion, focusing in particular on his revolutionary vision and on the world of sneakers, discussing how the Yeezy Foam Runner would have represented a real innovation of the footwear field.
Ye’s goal was to create a shoe with a unique design, without laces, quick to produce and at low cost. “I’m going to make this to be twenty dollars […] money isn’t real, so that means the world should be eventually free” West said. For the realization of the Foam Runner he built a company in Cody, Wyoming, where the shoe can take shape in just 25 minutes.
The simple but futuristic design features a slip-on consisting of a single solid piece of a unique new material, a mixture of algae and EVA foam (ethylene vinyl acetate), designed specifically for the brand.
EVA foam was already used for the realization of the YEEZY Slides, launched in December 2019 and the brand was testing the design of the Foam Runner early as September of the same year. A care for details that required a lot of work, considering that the latter were then released on 26th March 2021 at $75, a little higher price than the one initially hoped by West.
Despite the great success achieved from the beginning, the design of the Foam Runner has also been widely criticized by an audience probably not ready for such an innovation. After all, during the chat with Rogan, Ye stated: “I’m not saying I want to get rid of laces, we still have shoes we sell with laces because this is a popular shoe and people love this shoe. And it hurts me. I feel like Steve Jobs trying to remove buttons off the side of the next Apple.”
However, time proved that the artist was right and it can be deduced from the numerous releases of shoes made by many famous brands in recent times. During the last autumn/winter 2022 collection by Balenciaga, in fact, we noticed a model, of which the name is still unknown, made with materials and lines very similar to the ones previously proposed by YEEZY. Even the “Space Shoe” presented by Demna in the previous season, spring/summer 2022, during the fashion week in Paris uses the same technology.
But, if the friendship and working partnership between Gvasalia and Kanye West is no longer a secret, we are certainly surprised by the luxury brand Givenchy that, under the artistic direction of Matthew Williams, created the “Monumental Mallow”, a sort of hybrid between a foam slip-on and an elegant shoe that, with the right styling, could easily look like a leather boot.
So, after a few years from Kanye’s statements we can surely say that the singer was right once again and that his eccentric vision revolutionized footwear’s world, inspiring a growing number of designers.
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