On June 24, 2021, Kanye West and his multi-billion dollar fashion brand, Yeezy LLC, filed suit against Walmart Inc. for allegedly imitating the design of Yeezy’s Foam Runner shoes. The aesthetically controversial footwear was first debuted on West’s daughter, North, in 2019 before hitting the runway at London Fashion Week in February 2020. When officially released by Yeezy during June 2020, the Foam Runners retailed for $75.00, but sold out almost instantly–they now sell for nearly quadruple the original price on reseller websites. Fans of the Yeezy brand anticipate that the Foam Runner will be released again later this year in new colors.
In their Complaint, West and Yeezy allege that “Walmart is flagrantly trading off of West’s and the Yeezy brand’s popularity by offering for sale an imitation version” of the Foam Runner. The Grammy-Award winning rapper and his fashion brand further claim they are “losing market share” for the authentic Foam Runner, and that their reputation and goodwill are being harmed given the “subpar quality” of the Walmart product. The causes of action include: (1) unfair competition under California Business & Professions §§17200; and (2) quantam meruit.
After news of the lawsuit broke, a spokesperson for Walmart stated that the alleged imitation shoes were being sold by third party marketplace sellers as opposed to the retail giant itself. Walmart has since removed the items from its website.
Yeezy Foam Runner shoes (left) and Walmart shoes (right). Image provided in the Complaint.
This case is Kanye West and Yeezy LLC v. Walmart Inc., Case No. 21STCV23514, filed on June 24, 2021 in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles, Central District.