- Kanye West sued Walmart on Thursday for selling a lookalike of his Yeezy Foam Runner shoe.
- The Yeezy shoes initially sold for $75, but Walmart’s similar version from a third party sold for around $20 to $30.
- The lawsuit comes just months after Walmart and West feuded over a new Yeezy logo.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Kanye West sued Walmart on Thursday, accusing the retail giant of selling knockoff versions of his Yeezy Foam Runners.
The billionaire’s lawsuit alleges that Walmart has been profiting off his name by selling foam sliders that look “virtually indistinguishable” from his Yeezy Foam Runners. West is suing to have the shoes removed from Walmart’s site, as well as for monetary damages. The suit said the Yeezy brand is worth ‘billions’ of dollars and the company believes it has suffered damages in the “hundreds of millions of dollars.”
When West’s slip-on foam sneakers were introduced in 2019 for $75, they garnered some ridicule, with some people comparing the shoes to Crocs on social media. Nonetheless, the shoes quickly sold out and have since been resold for up to three times there original price, while the Walmart shoes were selling for around $20 to $30, according to documents filed in a Los Angeles court.
The lawsuit said that West has built the Yeezy brand off of his success as an American icon and Walmart is profiting off his image, pointing to celebrities, including his former wife Kim Kardashian and other public figures like Justin Bieber and Snoop Dogg, who have been photographed wearing Yeezy shoes.
The Yeezy brand said in the suit that the shoes caught its attention when posts on numerous social-media sites started taking off by advertising that people could buy the shoes, that some users called “budget Yeezys,” on Walmart’s website. The lawsuit argues that the Walmart shoes would not have sold if they had not been recognized as similar to Yeezys.
The Yeezy brand initially reached out to Walmart on Wednesday to pull the shoes from their online marketplace, but said as of its court filing date on Thursday that Walmart had failed to pull the product.
A Walmart spokesperson told Insider the company is actively reviewing the claim. An Adidas spokesperson declined to comment.
“The product referenced in the complaint is not sold by Walmart, but rather by third-party Marketplace sellers,” the Walmart spokesperson said.
As of Friday, Insider was unable to find the foam runners on Walmart’s website that were pictured in the lawsuit, as well as the initial TMZ report. The shoes were be sold by third-party sellers, including sellers listed as Daeful and LUXUR. The lawsuit said Yeezy had identified up to 10 sellers on the site, but had not been able to ascertain their identity. Insider has attempted to reach out to Daeful, and was unable to find contact information for LUXOR.
West said the “subpar” Walmart shoes have not only cut into Yeezy’s market share, but have also impacted the brand’s reputation, pointing to reviews on the site that say the imitations shoes are “garbage” and “ripped after 20 minutes.”
Thursday’s suit comes a few months after a dispute between West and Walmart over a logo that the rapper wants to use for Yeezy. Walmart said it had reached out to the Adidas brand five times over concerns that Yeezy’s new logo was too similar to Walmart’s own logo and would “create a false affiliation” between the two brands that could damage Walmart’s “goodwill.”
At the time, a Yeezy representative did not respond to a request for comment from Insider, but people close to West have said it is unlikely that Yeezy would try to affiliate the brand with Walmart’s image.