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Behind The HYPE: How YEEZY, Crocs and Balenciaga Innovated the Future of Footwear

Brands in today’s sneaker market are constantly in an all-out footrace to create the most innovative designs. While classic Jordan retros, New Balance dad shoes and signature basketball models are still popular, there’s no denying that clogs and mules continue to reign supreme. And if there’s one technology out there that is constantly being looked at as the reliable go-to for these types of silhouettes, it’s none other than Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate aka EVA foam. The latest installment of Behind the HYPE explores the genesis of the ultra-plushy material and how it has transcended the fashion industry as we know it today.EVA foam has been injected into sportswear products for the past century. It dates back to the days when Bill Bowerman engineered the first Nike Waffle sneaker in 1974 and has been utilized in other items such as fishing rods, boxing gloves and ski boots. Until recently, the tech material was solely viewed as a means of support as opposed to the primary aesthetic component. In 2001, Crocs made the decision to integrate the fabric on the uppers of their Classic Clogs to provide a more durable and functional option for boating, but the model swiftly became a hit as people started to sport them in their own homes, in hospitals and everywhere in between.Fast forward to the past decade, EVA has become way more omnipresent as various brands like Balenciaga and YEEZY have revolutionized the industry with new culture-shifting products. The luxury fashion house joined forces with Crocs to create a divisive platform and Kanye West, Steven Smith and adidas shook things up when they introduced the sought-after YEEZY FOAM RNNR in 2020. In addition, Crocs has tripled down on its initiatives by aligning with various high-profile celebrities and streetwear brands and designers for special projects. Team-ups with the likes of Justin Bieber, Post Malone and Bad Bunny as well as Salehe Bembury, BEAMS, Palace and others have resulted in an overwhelming demand for the imprint’s products.The stigma around EVA-infused footwear is almost non-existent at this point and much of that can be credited to the way brands can toy with the material to in turn pump out minimalistic and monolithic offerings. EVA footwear has undoubtedly reached a new peak in terms of mainstream appeal, and it doesn’t look like it will be going anywhere anytime soon.For a deep dive into the history of how EVA footwear went from controversial to a hot commodity, check out the above episode of Behind the HYPE. Previous installments of the series have covered other products such as Salomon’s uprise and Porsche’s journey into luxury lifestyle.Read more at HYPEBEAST

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