Classic or Trash: Yeezy 350
Classic or Trash: Yeezy 350
- Words Grailed Team
- Date April 17, 2019
”Classic or Trash” is a recurring franchise highlighting a specific item and asking exactly that question: is it classic or trash? Granted, each member of the Grailed community is entitled to their own opinion, and while the Grailed editorial staff does its best to judge items objectively, we more than encourage you to disagree and sound off in the comments below.
Today, few figures are as divisive as Kanye. From his fashion choices to his political opinions and disruptive album roll outs, the cultural juggernaut is sure to stir controversy with every move he makes, sentence he utters and person he surrounds himself with. Six years ago, however, that was not the case. In 2013, when West’s relationship with adidas was formally announced, the rapper/designer was still very much on top of the world. The man was worshipped, and those who disagreed were simply disregarded as non-believers.
After departing from Nike following a very publicized dispute over sales royalties, West inked a deal with adidas, which at that point included both footwear and a full ready-to-wear line (Yeezy eventually cut ties with adidas and became a free standing entity). While the first release was—like all things with West—insanely hyped, the highly limited nature of the Yeezy 750 coupled with numerous reports of faulty construction led the two to abandon the silhouette. The next release, however, changed everything. Dubbed the 350, when the shoe finally dropped in June of 2015, the sneaker world collectively exploded. Featuring a prime knit upper atop a one piece rubberized sole, the “Turtle Dove” 350s merged comfort, aesthetics and technology in a way few shoes had prior. One of the first sneakers to utilize adidas’ patented Boost technology, the 350 paved the way for sneakers moving forward, in large part responsible for the move away from cumbersome high-tops towards minimal, performance driven lows. Although the shoes debuted at $200, they were quite literally impossible to purchase, and in the summer of 2015 resale prices hovered somewhere near $1000. The same was true for the “Pirate Black” and “Moon Rock” follow-ups. Yet, with each release, the sneaker landscape was beginning to shift.
It’s impossible to untie the sneakers from West himself. As 2016 came and the sneaker’s second incarnation—the Yeezy 350 V2—released, West’s promise to make “Yeezy’s for everyone” was beginning to come true. Over the past three years and more than a dozen colorways, each release increased in quantity hitting an apex with a purported million pairs of “Triple White” 350 V2s in September of last year. Like with any hyped release, artificial scarcity drives demand, and West’s insistence on allowing every potential customer the opportunity to cop was an immediate financial boon, however no doubt diminished any sort of brand cache. Today, Yeezy 350s resell for little over—and sometimes under retail—and while models like the “Static” have dropped in limited numbers and attempted to recapture some of that lost hype, the damage is arguably done.
While there is some excitement bubbling around the imminent release of the third generation 350 V3, both the sneaker world, and quite frankly the public, has moved on. The idea of a “good looking shoe” has dramatically changed in the past four years, and West is no longer the cultural figure he was in 2013. While newer silhouettes have proved successful—and the 350 no doubt is a monumental shoe—as we shift away from joggers and athleisure is all but dead, the silhouette feels stale. As the hype subsides, the Yeezy 350 may not be long for this world. Yet, leave it to West to prove us wrong, as he has time and time again.
Now, we ask you, classic or trash? Let us know in the comments below.