They weren’t too small—they were being worn the Japanese way.
Outside Michael Jordan, there might not be a celebrity more closely associated with sneakers than Kanye West. He helped turn retro Air Jordans into iconic grails. He designed sneakers for Louis Vuitton before that was a thing designer brands did. And he invented the beyond-hyped celebrity signature at Nike, and then again—on a pretty unbelievable scale—at Adidas.
But this summer, it seems like the only shoes Kanye wants to wear are sandals. Technically, they’re “nylon slippers,” from West’s own Yeezy line, in his preferred dystopian palette and crafted from sturdy-looking fabric.
Kanye being Kanye, even “wearing sandals” has not been as simple as it sounds. Here, an incomplete and annotated timeline of Kanye’s slip-sliding adventure.
“Yeezy slides on vacay,” Kanye tweets in early August, accompanied by a video of his feet, in the slides, chilling in some gentle surf. Kanye’s fans generally take great pains to keep their Yeezy footwear clean; seeing West trash his in the ocean is both perversely thrilling and a helpful reminder that shoes are, y’know, shoes. The clip also suggests that Kanye is into ASMR.
Suited and slided
You’re online, so you already know this one: Kanye shows up to 2 Chainz’s wedding in a not-yet-released suit from Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton—and a pair of Yeezy slides, worn with socks, that looked to be a good two sizes too small. The internet, unsurprisingly, has a field day.
A new fit
A few days later, Kim Kardashian West Instagrams a photo with her husband. He’s in a beach chair, drinking from a styrofoam cup and holding a cell phone; she’s in RoboCop shades. Blessedly, his slides now fit.
Back from vacation, Kim and Kanye take to their driveway; Kanye has purchased a lime-green Mercedes Lego truck for his wife. She shows it off as he pads around, still in his sandals, this time with a pair of white tube socks. They look a little snug, and Kim, speaking for all of us, asks: “The real question is, do those fit?”
The Instagram pranksters at @dietprada release a shirt depicting no fewer than six angles of Kanye’s wedding slides. Kanye tweets, approvingly.
The Japanese defense
Today, Kanye, mid-tweetstorm, happens upon a novel defense. “The Japanese way,” he writes, captioning two illustrations of traditional wooden Japanese geta that suggest the wearer’s heels hang a few centimeters past the end. In recent years, Kanye has leaned hard into fatherhood, wearing sweats and acid-washed denim and big ugly sneakers. But there’s nothing more fatherly than doing copious and poorly cited online research to prove that you’re extremely not mad.