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Yeezy season is here.
What started unofficially with a string of Ibn Jasper Instagrams ‘bout a week ago blossomed with yesterday’s adidas Yeezy runway show and Roc City Classic performance. The notifications from adidas’ Confirmed app have grown more frequent, and on Saturday the new system will be put to the test when the Yeezy 750 Boost finally releases. Even at $350, one assumes the 9,000-pair initial run will sell out immediately. That’s $3.15 million in a weekend.
The Kanye West that made Yeezus wouldn’t have made Yeezys like the previous ones.
What’s been most interesting to me has been the initial reactions to the shoe, and how they’ve changed as time has passed and more images have appeared. There are, of course, those whose initial disdain will instantly morph into an insatiable desire to own a pair, both for potential resale profit and Instagram fame. This is—unfortunately—perfectly normal. There are others who will pass on the shoe just because it’s an adidas. This isn’t particularly unusual either, as some sneaker enthusiasts show more brand loyalty than those who are paid to wear a particular brand (the triumph of love over money, I suppose). And then there are those who won’t buy this Yeezy because it’s not like the other Yeezys.
It’s this last group that I’m the most curious about. Because, to me at least, the Yeezy 750 Boost is the kind of Kanye sneaker we should have all been expecting. After all, it’s 2015, not 2007. Sparse DONDA album covers replaced the color-splashed Murakamis, he’s been wearing Bottega Veneta Chelsea boots, not Bapestas. The Kanye West that made Yeezus wouldn’t have made Yeezys like the previous ones, and the one who made “Only One” absolutely wouldn’t have. One could make the case that he’s grown—well, maybe Beck can’t—and that this is a grown-ups shoe.
The first two Yeezys were like kit cars, new bodies on vintage underpinnings. Taking the Air Jordan III (or Air Revolution) and Tech Challenge II as starting points, Kanye and Nike’s designers built from there. So while this Yeezy might appear more subdued and less out there, at the same time it’s a from-the-ground-up design that owes nothing to previous models. There aren’t even the familiar adidas Three Stripes visible on the shoe unless the straps are undone, which in and of itself makes it a more daring production. It’s adidas Originals in the other sense of the word.
The story doesn’t end when the shoe releases, of course. There is the resale market to consider—one that granted preposterous prices to the initial Yeezy drops and made the red Yeezy 2s one of the most anticipated releases in sneaker history. And that market has already seemingly materialized as soon as people were able to secure reservations. Then there are the eventual follow-ups to the 750 Boost, whether a low-cut version, a takedown of some sorts or the inevitable sequel. Maybe all of the above.
What seems almost assured is that Kanye’s adidas line will be much more accessible (from an able-to-be-purchased point of view) than his Nikes ever were. Which will answer one of the most pressing questions in sneaker history—do people just want certain shoes because other people can’t get them? Guess we’ll know soon enough.
Russ Bengtson is a senior staff writer at Complex and still does not own a pair of Yeezys. You can follow him on Twitter here.