Yeezy Knit Runner: Here’s Kanye’s Weirdest Sneaker Yet
Kanye West is already responsible for one of the funkiest shoe releases of 2021. His Yeezy 450 pairs a knit upper with a toothed foam midsole, and not much else – the sole dictates the small. shoe shape. But for his last turn, Kanye flops even more. The new YZY KNIT RNR (Yeezy Knit Runner) is essentially fully knitted, a sweater for the foot. It might be Kanye’s weirdest shoe yet, but it’s entirely a part of his recent interests. The first colorway, a mustard-tan combination called “Sulfur”, is due out on September 23.
When images of the shoe first leaked, social media users accused Kanye of stealing Mickey Mouse’s kicks. And, of course, the Knit RNRs really look like high-end ankle boots. But there’s a little more going on here than it looks. Imagine the foam, cutout shoe with cutouts and you’ll see what I mean: The Knit RNR is basically the same as Kanye’s beloved Foam Runner, except, of course, that this shoe replaces the foam with the knitted material.
The shoe suggests that Kanye is increasingly losing interest in the design of what we perceive as traditional sneakers. Halfway through Project Yeezy, Kanye moved away from his early experiments to adopt more classic sneaker silhouettes: the three iterations of the 700, QNTM and 500, practically boring compared to the new Knit RNR. But it looks like Kanye has been working on a shoe like the RNR Knit since Yeezy’s very early days. What is the RNR Knit if not a stretched Yeezy 350 in its most shapeless form? The laces have been removed, the upper has been inflated and the sole is just a thin line. Same laces seems to be an excess that can be dispensed with. Recent shoes like the Slide, 450 and Foam Runner are paving the way for a future without rabbit ear lessons.
More generally, shapelessness seems to be the new aesthetic defining Kanye’s entire design vision. You know what else is blobby and lack of closure? The flagship product of the Yeezy x Gap collaboration, a jacket that has all the structure of a cloud. Thus, the Knit RNR is located in Kanye’s current wheelhouse.
It should be noted that the Amorphous Jacket was a bestseller for Gap. Even Kanye’s less traditional shoes like the Foam Runner and Slides have become surprisingly hot items in the resale market. When the 350 originally came out, it was an oddity in the sneaker world, and now it’s one of the top 10 selling shoes. While the RNR Knit looks (very) funny now, Kanye has a habit of changing the taste of the mace to match his own.