All BLACK Everything:

The genius of the triple black color-way.

Without fail the triple black sneaker always works. It’s always the color that you can fall back on no matter the situation. Whether you’re going to work, dinner or out with some friends, you can always “bet on black” (in my Wesley Snips voice). 


Let’s break this down, starting with the materials. Contrasting black materials look great together and is a combination that will always work together. Whether its patented, suede, leather, mesh, or micro fiber you can slap all these materials together and they always work even if the hue is slightly off. Now try the same thing with another color and you will quickly notice that contrasting materials do not necessarily work the same. 

Why is that? From my experience colors like red for example need to match exactly in order to look good together. The challenge with that is when you’re dealing with different materials they all absorb color very differently. Suede for example is going to absorb red much differently than a pig skin even though you may be using the same Pantone code (Trust me, I’ve learned this the hard way). It’s important for young/inexperienced designers out there to know to always color match using real swatches as opposed to depending on Pantone codes. 


When I was a young designer for RocaWear I would select my Pantone codes and add them to my spec sheets, then 1 month later when the samples would arrive to my surprise what I thought would be a monochromatic green shoe would have about 6 different shades of green. This is something you do not want to happen, especially when you had a very small window to get the confirmation samples correct the first time and the last thing the factory wants to do is remake pairs of samples because you (the designer) screwed up the Pantone colors. So, after being yelled at by the factory and your boss, you get back on the horse and do it again. 

As a young designer I always wanted to push the boundaries of creativity and go against the grain. I always hated using color-ways that I was told sold the best and did well in the market and I always thought that I could come up with something better. After being in the shoe business for almost 20 years I’ve realized there is a reason why certain colors do well on the market and no matter what, that will probably never change. 


Over the years I have purchased, been gifted and designed many different kinds of triple black sneakers, but one collection that has stood out to me the most is the approach that Yeezy has taken with this classic color-way. Black is not really a color that you see often in Yeezy shoes to begin with (which is why the re-sell is so high) so when that color does drop in any style the sneaker community generally gets excited. The 500 and 700 v2 utility blacks specifically are good examples. At first glance they do not appear to be black and some could argue that it’s not black at all. However, What I like most about these shoes is the way the base materials are dyed and almost has this burned charcoal and worn feel to it with bits of matching leather and suede. To Ye’s credit this combination of materials and colors works very well. 


In conclusion, the triple black shoe will always be a timeless classic and every-time I see that color-way for the first time in a new shoe style I will continue to get that “warm and fuzzy” feeling inside followed by the impulse to buy it immediately (I’m sure I’m not the only one that gets that feeling). 

Omar Bailey

Founder / Designer of Omar Bailey Footwear

Start the conversation