Landing in 2019, Kanye West’s Yeezy Slide divided the internet. Three years later, it has secured its place as one of the adidas x Ye partnership’s most in-demand silhouettes thanks to its sustainable EVA-injected foam composition, neutral colour range and, of course, minimalist branding. Representative of West’s penchant for minimalism, the Yeezy Slide boasts an unbranded aesthetic, allowing the now-iconic silhouette to do all the talking. More than just a trend, minimalist branding has become a signature for designers like Ye, with heavyweights like Nike taking cues and incorporating minimalism into sneakers like the NOCTA x Nike Air Terra and the all-new Jacquemes collection.

Before the eruption of minimalism that was Yeezy, adidas heavily relied on its bold branding to push their designs. The 1984 adidas Forum showcases adidas at its finest, with its bold Three Stripe and Trefoil logos seen accompanied by adidas lettering featuring across the shoe. Even simpler, more timeless, models like the Superstar have multiple elements of iconic branding, which shows adidas’ clear focus on incorporating their identity into their products. adidas seemed to have their strategy sorted, that is, until Yeezy came storming into the picture.

In 2015, the very first adidas x Yeezy collaboration was born, with its focus being on minimalist branding. Yeezy sneakers showcased a refreshing lack of any logos, with the very first model of the Yeezy Boost 350 Turtle Dove only having the adidas name on the sole of the shoe. Yeezy has continued to go from strength to strength since, with collections still usually selling out in under a minute. This alone tells you all you need to know about the success of minimalist designs, with other brands taking a leaf out of Ye’s book and trying out this simple way forward for sneaker design. 

Even with this new minimalist wave of both releases and ways of thinking, some brands choose to always stick by their maximalist ways. Off-White takes pride in its maximalist personality, with its loud designs and regularly uses brand-name lettering on the majority of products. The Milan-based label does however have monochrome and neutral designs that calm their busy branding included, showing that this surge of minimalism reaches even the boldest of makes. 

From Yeezy to Off-White to middle-man Nike, brands offer a wide range of sneaker styles covered with varying levels of logos and lettering to suit any style imaginable. It’s pretty clear that the future of branding is in the hands of the big brands, but style popularity will always heavily influence what these designers choose to do next. Minimalist or maximalist, what style do you usually lean towards?