Kanye West has established himself as innovator and influencer in the footwear industry, but his latest offering might just test the loyalty of even his most ardent fashion followers.
On Thursday (December 28), the embattled mogul officially unveiled the Yeezy Pods, a $200 sneaker that more closely resembles a long-sleeve sock than an actual shoe.
Available in three sizes, the black kicks feature an all-black, one-piece design that goes all the way up to the calf. There’s also what looks like a traditional rubber sole that offers some level of protection and grip.
The Yeezy Pods are available to pre-order now on the Yeezy website, although it’s unclear when they’ll be shipped.
“I can’t wait for the day that you choose to retire your stuff/ Taking off the sneakers ’cause you tired of tying ’em up/ That one day you wake up and tell ’em, ‘Enough is enough’/ That’s how you gon’ find out you not Kobe Bryant to us [laughs]/ Man, you not Kobe Bryant to us… at all,”Drake rapped on “Stories About My Brother.”
The Yeezy Pods also mark West’s first sneaker release since the termination of his lucrative adidas partnership in October 2022 following the rapper’s string of antisemitic comments.
“adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech,” the sportswear giant said in a statement at the time. “Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness.
“After a thorough review, the company has taken the decision to terminate the partnership with Ye immediately, end production of Yeezy branded products and stop all payments to Ye and his companies. adidas will stop the adidas Yeezy business with immediate effect.”
The company later U-turned on that last part, off-loading their stock of Yeezy shoes and generating hundreds of millions of dollars in the process — a portion of which was donated to anti-discrimination organizations.
Still, Kanye West’s net worth has struggled to bounce back from its $1.5 billion peak, with Forbes currently estimating him to be worth around $400 million.
The massive dent in his bank balance only seemed to fuel Kanye’s antisemitic feelings, with the Chicago native spewing more anti-Jewish remarks at a listening party for his joint album with Ty Dolla $ign, Vultures, earlier this month.
“It’s 60 million of us in America and 60 million Jews in the world,” he said in a lengthy and unhinged rant. “50 percent of our deaths is abortion, 25 percent of us go to prison … Who make the hospitals? These are Zionists, n-gga! This is what I’m trying to tell you. Jesus Christ, Hitler, Ye. Third party, sponsor that, n-gga.”
Earlier this week, however, West appeared to finally repent by issuing an apology written in Hebrew on social media.
“I sincerely apologize to the Jewish community for any unintended outburst caused by my words or actions,” the apology reads in English. “It was not my intention to hurt or demean, and I deeply regret any pain I may have caused.
“I am committed to starting with myself and learning from this experience to ensure greater sensitivity and understanding more in the future. Your forgiveness is important to me, and I am committed to making amends and promoting unity.”
Kanye’s apology has been met with skepticism, though, with the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) saying they “welcome” this first step but believe more needs to be done to mend the “untold damage” caused by his previous comments.
“After causing untold damage by using his vast influence and platform to poison countless minds with vicious antisemitism and hate, an apology in Hebrew may be the first step on a long journey towards making amends to the Jewish community and all those who he has hurt,” the activist organization wrote in response.
“Ultimately, actions will speak louder than words but this initial act of contrition is welcome.”