VERSUS: Yeezys for Everyone

Kanye Versus Yeezys For All

Back in 2015, Kanye West made one of the most notorious sneaker statements. ‘Everybody who wants to get Yeezys will get Yeezys!’

Given the entire sneaker game is based on limited supply, this was a high risk strategy. After years of constantly copping Ls, everything looks set to finally change in 2018. Trefoil CEO Kasper Rørsted has said that adidas are going to ‘democratise’ the brand. The Wave Runner is already back and the ‘Cream’ 350 v2 restock has been officially acknowledged as the biggest Yeezy release of all time.

  • Gabe
  • M.W.

Sneaker Freaker HQ is divided, so we sent our resident Ye-heads into the ultralight beam (aka the internet) to duke it out. Here’s how the argument went down...

M
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Gabe
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What’s the point of having Yeezys for everyone? If everyone caught a Mewtwo it wouldn’t be a Mewtwo anymore, it’d be a fucking ... Squirtle. What’s next, 2 Chainz rapping about Hyundai and Kia instead of Rolls Royce?

M
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What’s wrong with Squirtle? If you actually appreciated your Squirtle, instead of chasing after rarer Pokémon, then you’d realise it could be the most powerful monster in the game.

Gabe
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So what’s the Squirtle? The NMD?

M
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Pffft... No! More like the UltraBOOST. Nobody cared about the UltraBOOST until Kanye started rocking them, and then suddenly everybody realised they were the epitome of comfort. The UltraBOOST is Squirtle and the Yeezy BOOST 350 v2 is the fully evolved Blastoise!

Gabe
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So everyone gets a BOOST 350, you think that’s a good thing?

M
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Good or bad, ‘Ye told us it was going to happen ‘eventually’…

Gabe
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Yeah, but we honestly have to protect ‘Ye from himself. Man’s exercising so much free thought he’s threatening the whole fabric of Yeezy.

M
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He’s an artist, first and foremost. And we all know the best artists are a little eccentric. You need to think outside the norm to push boundaries.

Gabe
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For sure, and that’s why when I see boys and girls wearing Wave Runners at least I know they’re fans, people that actually attempt to follow his line of thought and appreciate his style/shoes/music ... politics?

You line up, you enter raffles, you cop, or maybe you don’t. But it feels like something, y’know ... special. In an age of instant gratification, is there really something wrong with waiting for something? Maybe even forever (I’m still waiting on my Wave Runners). I think our culture actually NEEDS to practise a little patience.

M
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Seriously?

If you want to talk about people coming on to a trend late, why didn’t you get your 700s the first time they dropped? I copped my pair from that original drop, and still had to wait half a year to receive the damn things.

Gabe
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LOW BLOW DUDE!

M
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But you don’t see me complaining they got rereleased AND are getting rereleased again. Sometimes it just takes time for people to appreciate something new.

I remember the first time I saw Kanye live back when College Dropout just dropped. It was just him and a dude playing beats through a laptop at some small venue, and absolutely no one I knew would go to the show with me. Times change.

Gabe
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That’s the problem, though, there’s going to be a lack of innovation, a lack of new builds and colourways. I can see them getting lazy. Remember the first drops of the original 350?? Fire! Now?

M
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The people like what they like, man. Let ’em have that. Sneaker collecting is built on rehashing the old. I’m wearing ‘Laser Blue’ Air Max 90s as we speak for Christ’s sake!

Gabe
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But if you continue to restock and restock you’ll kill it.

M
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But sometimes driving something popular into the ground is the only way to push trends forward and force fashion to evolve.

Gabe
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You want to drive Yeezy into the ground?

M
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I want everyone who wants Yeezys to get Yeezys — to get their fill.

Gabe
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... til they get so bloated it makes them sick?

M
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Exactly. They get that thrill of capturing Mewtwo. And then soon they’ll realise their Blastoise was better in the first place … But for a brief moment they’ll feel on top of the world!

Gabe
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I think I follow …

M
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Then they are never left wondering what might have been. At that point, everybody will be ready for something new.

Gabe
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Let’s not forget what ’Ye did for adi... man single-handedly saved Three Stripes.

M
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… and he’s still continuing to!

People are still riding the 350 v2 wave and loving it.

There’s no need to go and pull a ‘New Coke’ just to be different.

Gabe
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What about all the kids that are getting a retroactive burn to their wallets? People that bought sneakers under the assumption that they were worth something. Then you just go and saturate the market.

M
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We’ve all been there. We’ve all overpaid for a sneaker at one time or another only for it to get rereleased to the masses. Unless they come laser-engraved with an edition run right on the shoe, there’s nothing stopping a brand from rereleasing them down the track.

You should buy what you like and what you want to wear... Not what’s potentially going to make you a profit in the future.

Gabe
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I’m at the whim of the company, I have no agency. I find that fucked. I bought an ‘Open Edition’ KAWS figure for $370. As a consumer, I feel like Im being shafted. Can’t I make a purchase that I like AND is an investment?

M
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Are you kidding me??? Come on, man, you know most of my paycheque goes towards art toys ... No art thats classed as an ‘open edition will ever really be an investment!

Gabe
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Yeah, but we dont even get told whether something is ‘Open Edition or not in the sneaker world, do we?

M
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Like I said, unless it comes numbered, you should always consider it an open edition. Even then, that hasnt stopped brands in the past. Nike auctioned off 1510 Mags for charity back in 2011, and that was supposed to be it.

Tinker Hatfield and Tiffany Beers said in an interview … and I quote …

'To preserve the value of what people will spend for these shoes… we’re not going to rerelease this shoe and we’re not going to commercialise it any further.'

And then 4 years later they go and release another version. A BETTER version. WITH Power Laces!

Look at their smarmy faces — they lied to us! And, yeah, maybe Im mad cause Im one of those suckers they fooled ...

Gabe
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For charity?

M
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Last I checked, Robin Hood was still a criminal ...

Gabe
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Yeah, I mean this is the problem. Theres no integrity anymore. ‘Democratising’ Yeezy? Democracy doesnt fucking work. People need to be told whats good. The lobster was food for the poor before it was rebranded for the rich, ya feel?

M
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Democracy doesnt work? Happy to help you make the move to North Korea if you prefer …

Gabe
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M
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Its only the resale and resellers trying to make a buck off the poor saps that miss out that will be affected. adidas are just disrupting the secondary market, and you have to agree that thats good for everybody else.

Gabe
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Not everyone is exploitative though, some people just like owning something rare or actually worth something. People talk about reselling like its a war crime.

M
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If you want to own a truly rare gemstone, you know to steer clear of white diamonds. Theyre dime a dozen. The supply is just heavily throttled.

But, adidas aren’t pretending Yeezys are in short supply. Production HAS caught up to a capacity where it can finally meet demand, so theres no need to hold it back.

Gabe
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Sometimes people need to be told that something is ‘limited’ in order to appreciate its true beauty.

M
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Whether we’re talking about diamonds or sneakers though, fakes will always be an issue. For every person that wants Yeezys and forks out thousands on resale, theres another 100 that take the easy route and just go and buy up knock-offs.

If theres a product that everybody wants and will get by one means or another, just make a legal option accessible to all. Like California and weed. The public save money, adidas make more profit, theres no money going towards unsavoury sources, etc. Should I go on?

The only ones that miss out are the resellers. (aka the drug dealers in this situation)

Gabe
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WOW DUDE. I wasnt too far off with the way you brand resellers. (war criminals vs drug lords) Resellers are the ones defining how much anything is worth.

M
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Lets be real, resellers are vital to the collecting scene. Hell, it wouldnt exist without them! But, back in the day, copping a pair to resell meant you had to earn your stripes... so to speak.

Gabe
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^ First pun, congratz.

M
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You had to put in leg work and run around town to snap up sought after pairs. You had to camp out on the streets for days at a time. Just to take home one pair! On the Wild Wild Web, its the quick or the dead... and if you havent got yourself the latest bot, youre six feet under before you know it.

Gabe
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I mean, the bots are def an issue …

M
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The only way to win nowadays is to give in and fight fire with fire.

Gabe
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Theres always a way around the bots though. You saw what Kith did with the Off-White Presto drop

M
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Man, whatever makes things fair for the general consumer is a good thing! You gotta remember that millions of people out there after Yeezys arent even sneakerheads. We should be welcoming them to the culture, not sending them off to purchase fakes from some dodgy website or pay through the nose for a legit pair.

Gabe
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You still think people will value Yeezy once they become the cheeseburger of the sneaker world?

M
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Are you knocking the humble cheeseburger? Im pretty sure the ‘Semi Frozen Yellow’ 350s already ARE the cheeseburger of the sneaker world!

Case in point:

Gabe
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You know that burger is going to taste better if you really worked hard to get it. You saved your pennies, travelled, lined up. Doesn’t it make that first bite a little more rewarding and satisfying?

M
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I actually did line up all day for a pair of ‘Moonrock’ 350s and, when push came to shove, I couldn’t bring myself to wear them. They just didn’t feel like a four-figure shoe to me.

But, I can’t even remember the last Yeezy that commanded the insane resale we saw in the early days of ‘Ye’s adidas contract. At best, you can double your money on the resell market nowadays. I’ve seen Powerphases, 500s and 350 v2s all changing hands for RRP or even less. People just can’t seem to remove themselves from the idea that Yeezys = profit.

Gabe
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Yeah, steady lift ...

M
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... And that doesn’t even factor in all the restocks!

Gabe
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Well, it doesn’t look like we’re going to stop him. The brave new world of Yeezy has arrived. And I’m running in the other direction.

Enjoy your democracy... I’m out.

M
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You do you, man. You don’t need Kanye to tell you what to wear. Virgil Abloh is happy to take his place.

Who took the w?

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