The hype is still pretty crazy about the Yeezy Boost, and generally I try to abscond from covering subjects that are as over saturated in the media as they currently are. However, Yeezy’s beef is strong, and his impact on the sneaker culture right now is undeniable. Opinions have been varied, but I think it’s fairly safe to say that the general consensus (at-least from the hypebeast elite) is that they’re on point. But what do actual footwear designers really think about them? The so-called, ‘people in the know’? To answer that question to some degree, I thought it would be good to reach out to some of the design homies to get some unbiased, designer perspective’s on the Yeezy Boost.
What do designers really think about Adi’s first Kanye release? Some think it’s a veritable Ugg boot, others think they’ll alter footwear for the foreseeable future…
Check out Javier Laval’s, David Whetstone’s, Brett Golliff’s and my own thought’s, below.
Image via @MSTRPLN
I can appreciate a totally new silhouette that is instantly so widely accepted. Today’s footwear trends are based on exactly that…trends. The Yeezy Boost bucks all trends and decidedly stands alone. The cool grey colorway and runner inspired toe box is dope. The boost outsole with the unique molded midsole is what sets this apart in my opinion. The hi top is not trending as much as it was in the past few years but none the less Kanye can do what he wants and literally can make open toe crocs with a strap trend up! More power to him!
I’m interested in the fit and how they are constructed so I would probably buy them from a technical perspective but I’m not a hypebeast so I’m not standing in line or making calls to get them. I will do what I usually do and just wait until I can get them organically without much strain or effort. Hopefully they will become a wider release as he said and everyone that wants them can get their hands on them.
I’ve always appreciated Kanye’s creative efforts, particularly his ability to surprise and push experiential expectations. Weather his full-album music video for “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” free “G.O.O.D. Music Friday” releases leading up to “MBDTF,” or the Twitter prompted, global projections for the release of his “New Slaves” single, I’ve appreciated the efforts to support a story across secondary mediums.
With the Yeezy 2, Kanye and Nike pushed aesthetic expectations of lifestyle footwear and provided an aspirational piece that streetwear could follow. It set the groundwork for shoes like the Nike Free Orbit, Nike Free Mercurial Superfly, and the Y-3 Qasa, all shoes that re-imagined where footwear could go.
The Yeezy Boost continues to give Kanye a platform to express his view on what’s next in streetwear while serving as a representation of where he’s at currently. Before the Yeezy Boost, performance was slapped onto casual footwear as a bold read. It felt like a walking marketing campaign. I appreciate the Yeezy Boost’s approach of re-imagining casual footwear by seamlessly integrating performance elements. People want to feel sophisticated and comfortable; the materials used on the Yeezy Boost and the color palette used in the Yeezy Season 1 collection will lead casual-performance for years to come, replacing the days of Galaxy Foams and loud graphic prints.
I was excited for the Yeezy Boost to be more widely available. If this really is adidas’ proposal for the future of casual-performance, I’m interested how people in both global cities and small towns receive the proposition.
I’d like to get my hands on a pair; their sophistication and nod to performance seem to make them an easy wear.
I love Kanye and what he brings to culture. Simply put, creativity is better when Kanye is actively participating and providing his vision to the world. Whether you like the man or not, he has a way of executing art and getting a strong reaction from it. Good design is just as much emotional as it is functional and it shouldn’t make everyone feel comfortable, which is an area Kanye thrives in.
With that said, I am torn about the adidas Yeezy. I think from the hype side of things it’s a good shoe. The design is straightforward with good materials and good color blocking. But from a design critique standpoint, I was left really unimpressed and disappointed honestly.
Adidas’ recent struggles have been highly publicized and it’s documented how they’re losing global market share, particularly in the US. By the grace of god, they land this polarizing cultural icon that brings not just a fan base with him but a brand of who Kanye West is. They’re setting themselves up to take the customers that are spending high money on the limited Yeezy, get them to buy in and become lifelong adidas consumers, which over time will solve their market share issues. It also leads to why I’m disappointed.
The only success adidas the brand had with this shoe was getting Boost on the model. That should have been a huge win because it’s currently the best midsole cushioning in the industry. But, on the Yeezy, it’s completely hidden and not a single person knows it is Boost if they don’t already know the specifics of the model. On top of that, the branding is so subdued and hidden, they let Kanye take too much of what makes adidas out of an adidas product. Sure it’s his line, but does he even respect your brand or what you have crafted in the past 66 years?
When adidas works with other creatives with strong visions, such as Raf Simmons, Rick Owens, Pharrell Williams, Jeremy Scott, Stella Mccartney or Nigo to name a few, those individuals incorporate their inspiration with adidas heritage. Kanye did none of this. So the following of his brand that he brought with him learned nothing about Adidas and only experienced more of what they already know: Kanye. Why would adidas not make sure that more of their identity was at the forefront? How do they expect to keep these new consumers if the customers don’t know who adidas is?
But that is not what I’m most upset about. I don’t understand how anyone at adidas or Kanye and his team for that matter, would let him create a shoe that even remotely resembles his Nike line. For as much shit as he talks about Beaverton, why would he even want to create a shoe that barely evolves where he has been with his two Swoosh models? I’m not being dramatic when I say the Yeezy Boost easily could look like an early wear-test sample of the Nike Air Yeezy 2.
As I stated, I love Kanye and his creativity but I feel he needs to find a footwear designer that challenges him to think differently and push further, similar to how various artists have pushed him musically throughout his career. Because right now his latest footwear interpretation looks like nothing more than a well-executed sample.
Would I buy it? No, not at that price point. I am too educated in footwear development to know that a shoe doesn’t warrant $350. Past that it doesn’t feel iconic to me. If I am going to spend $350 on a shoe, I want to be confident that not just six months but five, ten, fifteen years down the road it still represents a good purchase. Now, the low top Roshe looking shoe really grabs my attention but that is for another conversation. And from a design critique standpoint, I was left really unimpressed and disappointed honestly.
Yeezy (Sales) Booster – I think these are a pretty safe, money making shoe for adidas. Adi can line it’s pockets and boost their sales with this shoe. Though the shoe has a noticeably different last shape, the design has a lot of the features from it’s Nike predecessors. The shoe itself, though super clean, isn’t really that interesting design wise to me. It would have been a great third shoe from Nike, as it follows on from what they were doing over there. But I can’t lie, I was expecting something little more fresh and new. This was a fresh new beginning for Ye and Adi. However, they (adidas) know that Ye’s vast fan base is going to cop, and that’s obviously what matters most to them.
What I do find very intriguing though is the whole mind-set and system that’s being built around the shoe. The app for example, is probably the most creative, innovative aspect about the shoe. I can appreciate (and even respect) that Kanye is trying to make the shoe available to everyone that wants it. It’ll be interesting to see how that actually works out. Anything that curbs re-sellers selling these things for thousands and/or prevents these kids waiting in line outside a store, weeks before a release sounds good to me. The ‘reduce supply, increase demand’ model has been squeezed the fk out of in the footwear (and product/fashion) industry, so it would be refreshing to see a different system applied. Also, let’s not forget it makes better business sense for Adi to make sure every kid that wants a pair is actually able to get their hands on them (even though they’re $350). If they can alter the model and still keep the shoe’s ‘cool’ factor I think they’re setting themselves up for success.
They’re cool, but nah. I really like the low’s though, maybe I’ll make a sample of my own version.
Product Designer + Footwear Architect | Founder of @ConceptKicks | Instagram @MrBailey_ | www.MrBailey.co.uk
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