No one can accuse Kanye West of keeping his opinions to himself. This is the man who peed on his Grammy award, remember. But who could've expected the man behind YEEZY to take aim at his business partner, adidas?
In mid-June, Kanye made one of his (mercifully) rare Instagram appearances, calling out adidas for copying YEEZY designs.
He didn't mince words: the adidas adilette 22 slide sandals are "a fake YEEZY made by adidas themselves," Ye said.
YEEZY or not, the adilette sandals made big money for adidas so it had to find a way to balance its cash flow with the complaints of its cash cow.
Not that Kanye's complaints were entirely out of line, either. I didn't see a direct influence between the YEEZY Slide sandals and the adilette 22 but it's not far-fetched to claim that there was at least a halo effect from YEEZY to mainline adidas.
adidas didn't immediately respond to Highsnobiety's request for comment about Ye's statement and Ye deleted his own Instagram post shortly after.
But I'd wager that someone reached out from adidas to smooth things over with Mr. YEEZY.
Who knows if there was or wasn't fallout, but it seems like adidas' internal marketing teams took notice: on June 28, adidas Originals tweeted out a comparison between the forthcoming adiFOM Q sneaker and the old-school Quake, its supposed inspiration.
The tweet itself didn't mention Ye but, if you read between the lines, it does feel like a pre-emptive deflection of any further Kanye outbursts.
adidas even poked the bear by uploading a TikTok video of the adiFOM Q, again getting up close with the shoe that is definitely not a YEEZY please don't ask or post on Instagram about it thanks.
I wonder if the adiFOM Q is the true form of the first-look foam shoe we glimpsed at the beginning of the year, because the end result certainly does resemble Ye's Foam Runners with a dash of Wave Runner.
But, at the end of the day, these are all adidas products. I can't say who is and isn't sharing design notes or production details behind the scenes at adidas — certainly, Kanye isn't sketching silhouettes, experimenting with textiles, or overseeing samples directly — so a little creative overlap ain't a big deal.
At the end of the day, Kanye is a very, very, VERY rich man from this YEEZY deal and receives plenty of (well-deserved) credit for revolutionizing the footwear game with his adidas deal.
His beef with record labels is well-observed but who knows what adidas could do to keep him happy. Dude is still wearing Nikes, even!