The Suicoke surge that is providing an alternative to YEEZY

Not many people can get away with wearing sliders to a wedding but Kanye West achieved just that when he wore Yeezy Season 6 sliders to 2 Chainz’s event. The rapper, who is now one of the faces of fashion, wore ill-fitting graphite sliders alongside a monogrammed Louis Vuitton suit from Virgil Abloh’s first collection with the French brand.

The decision to wear beach shoes to a formal dress code received a fair few critics, yet, it opens up a whole new realm in fashion, with it likely that more cross-contamination of the codes occurs. The unreleased sliders gained just as many comments as the outfit as a whole. Kanye not only managed capture all the headlines following the fallout from the wedding but also create exponential hype on social media for what is, essentially, a blank slider. While comfort is ensured, with an excessively padded sole, the velcro slider offers subtle branding that may not warrant its expected high price-tag.

Yet, there’s a brand providing an alternative to YEEZY. Suicoke, founded in 2006, has enjoyed a large surge in popularity in recent times due to notable individuals donning the sliders and collaborations with key brands.

Initially designing hand-painted Russian dolls in Japan, the brand transitioned into footwear and has gained an international following. The oddly creative sliders have led the way for Suicoke and their multiple use as a workwear/beachwear shoe allow it to be worn in many niches.

It’s found a place in streetwear, with Reddit blogs discussing how to style the shoe and often appearing alongside a pair of black or white socks. While Suicoke’s product isn’t cheap, as an alternative to YEEZY, it’s worth the price.

The surge in Suicoke’s popularity comes after famous features and collaborations. Tyler, the Creator has been one of the key figures in the Japanese brand’s growth in recognition, regularly featuring them on his Instagram and styling them perfectly. The rapper also released a ‘random song from the flower boy tour’ on YouTube where he shows off his very own ‘Tyler x Suicoke’ collab.

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A post shared by Tyler, The Creator (@feliciathegoat) on

Tyler often pairs his Suicoke sandals with socks, a look that splits opinion, and HighSnobiety put the question ‘socks or no sock?’ to Suicoke’s Jinichi Leung, who answered “It’s up to you, but we love to wear the finest socks like Corgi. Toward SS18, we are developing new products with them. We hope you like them!”. 

It seems a key decision for many, whether to wear Suicoke’s with socks or without, as Palm Angels decided to go for a barefoot approach during their collaboration with the Asian brand.

Early 2018, Francesco Ragazzi gave the world a proper look at the project with Suicoke during a runway show, where their iconic purple tracksuit worn by Smooky Margiela and ASAP Rocky was demonstrated as well.

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Time after time, the models wore their Suicokes sockless, a decision only collaborators HighSnobiety and P.A.M have backed in recent times. Others, like John Elliot, have opted for socks while Stussy, Bape and Brain Dead have avoided modelled pictures altogether, perhaps suggesting the indecision around socks and Suicokes.

While there may be uncertainty around whether the Japanese brand is best with or without socks, one thing is for sure, Suicoke has become one of the best alternative labels on the market. With a following of 60,000 on Instagram, Suicoke is subtle enough to avoid unnecessary hype, yet it’s unique enough to impress, if styled correctly, however that may be.

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