West tries to reinvent the world of footwear with a trick the Japanese have been using for centuries, but his comments aren’t entirely accurate.

For all his fame and success, American rapper Kanye West receives a fair amount of criticism from his haters. And with his hand in so many pots, as singer, songwriter, record producer and fashion designer, there are millions of people waiting to critique his every move, down to the smallest detail.

So when the 41-year-old star stepped out in a pair of Yeezy slides from his hugely successful footwear collection, the photos snapped by the hungry paparazzi caused an online sensation. And while his footwear empire, produced in collaboration with Adidas, is so popular that styles sell out as soon as they’re released, these slides turned heads for an entirely different reason.

▼ The Yeezy Season 6 Slides first appeared in stores earlier this year.

West paired his new slides with a custom-made Louis Vuitton suit when he attended the wedding of 2 Chainz and Kesha Ward in Miami on 18 August, and while all eyes should have been on the bride and groom on their special day, the viewing public couldn’t tear their eyes away from the Yeezy slides on the singer’s feet, which appeared to be at least a size too small.

While some might argue that there are more pressing issues to discuss here, like “Should socks ever be worn with slides?” or “Should socks with slides ever be worn with a suit?“, the gripe that people have with these images is West’s ill-fitting footwear. It wasn’t long before the Internet lit up with heated debates and memes dedicated to the singer’s small shoes.

With the heels of his feet clearly hanging off the end of the slides, some suggested West might’ve borrowed the slides owned by his wife Kim Kardashian, who’d previously been spotted wearing a pair herself.

As people discussed the possible reasons for West’s heel-hanging style, the man himself finally attempted to silence the discussion and justify his actions with this simple tweet, saying “The Japanese way“.

According to the tweet, which was posted more than a week since the photos went viral, West appears to be likening his slide-wearing style to the Japanese way of wearing traditional geta sandals. Well, he does have a point: these wooden sandals are meant to be used with the foot pushed back a little so the heel hangs off the end. In fact, it’s a topic we dedicated an entire article to back in 2016, given that it’s a little known trick to making the shoes easier to wear.

▼ The proper way to wear geta sandals.

However, there’s one problem with West’s statement: “the Japanese way” of walking around with the balls of your feet hanging off the end of your shoes applies only when wearing geta, which are more like flip-flops than slides. The whole reason why the foot is pushed back in these types of traditional sandals is because the material that’s wedged between the toes at the top can cause pain and blisters, especially given that the wooden soles are heavy for the feet to lift when walking.

▼ It’s no good (“NG in Japanese”) to have the skin between your toes wedged up into the straps on a geta sandal.

To avoid pain at the back half of the foot, geta should be worn with a toe-to-heel stride as opposed to the usual heel-to-toe, and the part of your foot that hangs off the end is meant to help with balance as your toes pinch the shoes as you pick them up while you walk along.

So the reason why the heel hangs off the end when wearing geta is because of the style of the shoe itself. The thong section plays havoc with the toe area, the shoes are heavy, and it can be difficult to balance when you’re walking toe-to-heel. The Yeezy slides, however, are simple slip-ons that don’t cause any toe-pinching pain, and they’re not so heavy to require any special geta-wearing techniques.

▼ According to this owner of a pair Yeezy slides, the reason the heel hangs off the edge is due to slippage from the sock-and-slide combo.

While the jury’s still out on whether West simply wore a shoe that was too small or whether he was really trying to mimic the Japanese style of wearing traditional footwear, one thing’s for sure: the extra publicity it’s created won’t do anything to hurt his brand.

Personally, we’re hoping this all leads to a new line of Yeezy geta sandals. After visiting Japan and professing his love for the country, perhaps his new shoe collection can take its inspiration from this amazing geta-sneaker hybrid mashup. That would definitely have people talking!

Source: Twitter/@kanyewest
Featured image: Instagram/hypebeast_d Follow
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