There’s little doubt that Kanye West is the most influential fashion icon in hip-hop right now. While he’s frequently, loudly, and lengthily detailed his struggle to earn respect in the fashion world, he’s succeeded in turning legions of fanboys into couture-loving goth ninjas and minting fortunes for labels like Hood by Air and Been Trill in the process. His shoe fixation has resulted in one of the few big successes he’s had in his pursuit of a career as a fashion designer: the Nike Air Yeezy, which has become the center of an entire cult of fervently devoted sneakerheads.
West ended his relationship with Nike earlier this year on not-so-great terms. On much of his tour behind Yeezus, he hasn’t been sporting Yeezys but custom kicks from the avant-garde-leaning label Maison Martin Margiela. Now civilians can buy a pair of the same furry space shoes, which MMM is offering for just under a grand. They feature a pony-hair upper and Velcro enclosures and overall look like the result of a collision between ’70s sci-fi movie styling and a taxidermist.
Kanye’s protege Kid Cudi revealed his own signature sneaker earlier this week. Designed by Giuseppe Zanotti, whose crazed twists on high-top basketball shoes have had a big impact on hip-hop style in recent years, the red leather sneaks boast an overstuffed tongue and Velcro straps that also have a sci-fi flavor, like they were somehow grown rather than simply manufactured.