Cookie banner

This site uses cookies. Select "Block all non-essential cookies" to only allow cookies necessary to display content and enable core site features. Select "Accept all cookies" to also personalize your experience on the site with ads and partner content tailored to your interests, and to allow us to measure the effectiveness of our service.

To learn more, review our Cookie Policy, Privacy Notice and Terms of Use.

or
clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Yeezys, As Explained to Two People Who Have a Lot of Questions

Welcome to Yeezy 101.

Racked has affiliate partnerships, which do not influence editorial content, though we may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. We also occasionally accept products for research and reviewing purposes. See our ethics policy here.

Photo: Adidas

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Hi Cam! So you know quite a bit about Yeezys, and pretty much all we (Alanna and Tiffany) understand is that they are… sneakers? Could you enlighten us re: their cult appeal? Why do people want them so badly?

Yeezys have a cult appeal because Kanye has cult appeal. He’s about to have thousands of kids — and at least this one adult male — lining up to buy sweatpants that say “Calabasas” on them. That’s just objectively dumb, and it’s what makes his power so mystifying. He can make anything cool, including the Yeezys, his incredibly desirable sneaker. He’s lifted up the shoes not only by being his own best brand ambassador, but also by releasing them in extremely limited clips. It creates a ton of hype and makes people lose their minds.

I know this because I have seen it.

This is a great story: Turtledove 350s were dropping at a bunch of different retailers that didn’t have the server power to handle the glut of people trying to buy Yeezys. One of them, JimmyJazz, was so bad you couldn’t even get on the site, but neither could anyone else, so it kept alight this flicker of maddening hope.

Some rando Twitter user with, like, 50 followers started tweeting advice as if he were somebody. Stuff like, I just spoke to a JimmyJazz rep who says there are still pairs left — be patient.

The power went straight to his head after gathering a couple dozen desperate followers. He even changed his bio from something about his music — he had mocked up these humiliating fake DMs from Drake that said “I want to collab with you” and then a reply from him that said “No, I would never work with you, you suck” — to a line about being a source for sneaker news.

Of course, everything he was saying was completely false (JimmyJazz’s website never worked out), but we needed something to believe in, even if it was this Drake-hating false prophet. So yeah, people want these sneakers. Bad.

So exactly how hard is it to get a pair?

One thing to note is that these aren’t like the Hermès Birkin bag, where even if you have the cash you still might be forced to exercise patience. If you want Yeezys and don’t want anywhere from $500 to $1,600 anymore, you can easily get them — they’re always getting resold.

But trying to buy them at retail is downright impossible. The founder of a sneaker shop that’s sold the Yeezys in the past estimates, based on supply and demand, that prospective customers have about a .25 percent chance of getting a pair. They’re gone almost immediately, and there’s lots of cussing done by Internet kids.

How much do they cost at retail?

A lot. $200 for the 350s, $220 for the 350 V2s, and $350 for the 750s.

What is the current Yeezy?

The Yeezy 350 V2 “Zebra” is the next release. Some things to decode here: The 350 denotes the low-top model. The 750s are the high-tops. The V2s typically have a colored stripe and the signature “SPLY-350” on them that the original 350s didn’t have. There are also several other more technical and less obvious differences.

Do they, like... expire? Like, is it only desirable to buy the new ones, or is it cool to also have the old ones?

They definitely don’t expire. They’re all so fucking hard to get, buying any pair is really an accomplishment worth celebrating. With that said, there are definitely more desirable colorways. The original models of the 350 (“Turtledove”) and the 750 (“Light Brown”) still fetch the highest prices on the resale market.

If one of us wanted to go buy Yeezys right this minute, could we? In a store? On the internet?

The only store would be one that resells sneakers, like a Flight Club in NYC. Online, Grailed and eBay always have ‘em. But no, you can’t go to like... Adidas. You can stare at this splash page the brand’s specifically set up for the Yeezys, though.

Do you have a pair? If so, how do they make you ~ feel ~ ?

No, and that makes me feel bad. Sad. Annoyed. Angry. But also I’ve come to accept it because, like, 1) Kanye, wyd? and 2) I acknowledge they’re propelled more by hype than, like, actual aesthetic splendor. Owning them doesn’t make you stylish — it makes you rich or lucky, but aren’t those two things pretty much inextricable?