The Foam Runner Is a Cosmic Masterpiece
Sometimes, it takes something truly eye-watering to really disrupt the status quo. Finally entering earth’s atmosphere during the Innovation Festival in late 2019, the adidas Yeezy Foam Runner struck our retinas like a foreboding alien relic.
What was it?
The physical manifestation of Kanye West’s spiritual salvation? A disfigured Croc wheezing under a mysterious ailment? A rare space barnacle captured for posterity? An unidentified object stolen from Stanley Kubrick's interstellar reveries?
In a year defined by perpetual Dunk collaborations and always-bankable silhouettes, the Foam Runner is blowing-up the predictable with the kind of maximalist bravado that only Kanye West can muster.
Yes, ‘Ye saw the Foam Runner, and behold, it was very, very good.
Are You on the Ultralight Beam?
‘The Foam Runners remind me of when Tinker Hatfield was making all the crazy Jordans’, A$AP Ferg told us while stunting molten Foam Runners in March. ‘The sneaker world fell in love with these spaceship-looking sneakers.’
It’s common to see new objects as extraterrestrial when we first lay eyes on them. Remember the initial reaction to the Air Yeezy?. After all, the truly experimental will always be met with raised eyebrows, because we don’t yet have the vocabulary to truly articulate what we’re seeing. The Foam Runner is expanding the sneaker space to its avant-garde edges, and some of us just aren’t ready.
Dubbed ‘barnacles’, ‘glorified Crocs’, ‘grilled cheese’ and, perhaps most succinctly, ‘utter shit’, the Foam Runner is bringing in a tide of commentary online.
But we need to take a look at the real impact Yeezy are manufacturing in the sneaker industry.
By pledging to move their operations to a 4,000-acre ranch in Wyoming (with its own hydroponic farm), the Yeezy label are also developing the Foam Runner with foam made from algae, ensuring that waterways stay much cleaner, minimising the impact on ecosystems along the way.
‘We’re going to be farming and going seed-to-sow, and have our own cotton hydroponic farm and our own hemp farm and our own wheat farm so we can see every element and get into how we can have less impact with the dyes,’ West told the crowd at Fast Company’s Innovation Festival. ‘Our colour is a big signature of the brand, but also dying is one of the main things that’s impacting the planet in the fashion industry . . . so we’re just being responsible from A to Z.’,
Green Thumbs Ain’t So Dumb
By having complete control of his company, Kanye West is able to navigate his all-conquering Yeezy empire with total autonomy. It’s a business contract that other artists would salivate over. But even if similar contracts were handed out, would other company directors be willing to reorchestrate the modes of sneaker production so drastically?
The Foam Runner’s genius lies not only in its design (the silhouette stands head-and-shoulders above the competition when it comes to pure, unadulterated artistic expression in 2020), but also in what it signals for the sneaker industry more broadly: ethical manufacturing and more sustainable practises.
Ironically, the Internet trolls that are rinsing the Foam Runner right now will most likely be the very same people decrying the salty taste of Ls when it washes up on shore later this month.
So, get on the ultralight beam or get out of the way.
In the word’s of our sneaker lord and saviour Steven Smith: ‘We’re here to fuck shit up’.