Can you actually walk in these?
The controversial art collective MSCHF surprised the sneaker industry, and arguably all of social media, with teased photos of their upcoming footwear project back in March. First seen on the feet of Hip Hop artist Tyga, the sneaker quickly made waves across the globe. Upon officially revealing the sneaker to be an independent “knock-off” of the iconic Vans Old Skool, opinions were mixed.
Sneakerheads know how risky these emulated designs can be (just ask Warren Lotas about his take on the SB Dunk Low), so it seemed like a project destined to fail from the beginning. Nevertheless, the sneaker’s design was so extraordinary, yet so familiar, that fans immediately fell in love, and begged for an actual release.
The interesting and disruptive design of this shoe (read more about it here) made potential coppers curious as to how comfortable and wearable the shoe actually is. It’s advertised to be handled with caution, and puts wearers at their own risk. However, with low stock numbers and a high retail price, the sneaker is difficult to obtain, even on second-hand markets. Therefore, many of us are wondering whether it is really worth the investment, whether the sneaker can go beyond a quick fit-pic, and is actually wearable and comfortable on the streets. With few hands-on reviews and honest opinions available, it just seems right to provide an honest, hands-on review of the MSCHF x Tyga Wavy Baby sneaker.
Any person who has ever looked down in a crowd of people will probably recognize the main design inspiration of this shoe. The iconic Vans Old Skool – one of the most popular sneakers of all time – served as a template, distorted to the maximal capacity. The upper features the signature sidestripe, converted into a curvy snake-like line, the first nod to the sneaker’s name. The sole, however, is probably the most striking element of the shoe. A thick solid platform sole is molded into a wavy design, resulting in a contoured outsole.
This controversial take results in highly mixed opinions… some perceive this sneaker as a cheap and easy knock-off without any design inspiration, others feel that the shoe is way too much and fails to conform to what footwear is meant to be. These polar opposites are difficult to align, but one thing is clear. The shoe is more than an aesthetic piece of footwear, it’s a statement and a work of art. A means to disrupt the conventional “innovation” of just adding different colourways to a 30-year old sneaker.
Is It Worth It?
You will be catching eyes, that’s guaranteed. It’s a salient and noticeable shoe, the perfect ice-breaker, a cool way to show others that you’re more than just a Dunk-Hypebeast. Nevertheless, prepare yourself for some uncomfortable situations with people who question your taste, or generally don’t understand what innovation in the sneaker industry means.
The design is a statement, a satirical take on the industry, an embodiment of defiance.
This is where it gets a little more difficult. To answer your question right away: no, the insole is not wavy, it is flat. Your foot won’t have to bend to fit into the waves. The shoe has a flat platform above the wavy outsole that enables you to still walk normally.
That being said, the designers could have put more effort into the sturdiness and resistance of this insole. After walking a few steps, the waves do become more noticeable, and you definitely notice the curvy aspect of the shoe. The sneaker is definitely not made to be walked in for hours, your feet will hurt, you will quickly be annoyed and in discomfort.
The Wavy Sole
Further, while trail-outsoles have become more popular to ensure grip in all terrain, the wavy outsole is made of more than just some protruding rubber elements. If you make a small mistake in your steps, the outcome may be fatal. Stairs are a no-go for a newbie of the Wavy Baby, and it takes some practice to walk without looking like a clown. Wearing this shoe requires constant vigilance not to trip or slip, and if you have sensitive ankles, I highly recommend choosing a different shoe.
If you’re just planning to walk around in a flat environment to flex your latest kicks, it’s a definite yes. However, if you’re planning to cop a go-to everyday shoe, the Wavy Baby just doesn’t do it. You’ll soon regret sacrificing comfort just to get some cynical boomer to criticize your choice in footwear.
The original Vans Old Skool is made to skate. It features durable nubuck on the upper, qualitatively stitched and glued to ensure maximal durability. You can kickflip all you want, your shoe will be okay. This take on the Old-Skool, however, results in a somewhat different finish. Since the sneaker is (obviously) not made for skateboarding, there was also less emphasis on prioritizing durability here.
The leather feels cheap, the stitching is somewhat off, the sneaker won’t last too long. Nevertheless, since you won’t be walking much in these shoes anyway, they will probably last a while in your display shelf without showing deterioration. For the high retail (and even higher resell) price, it would have been nice to see an enhancement of the Old Skool also in terms of quality, but low production numbers probably made it difficult to achieve the quality.
Plus, all the money went into sending literally every social media influencer a pair. The campaign was too costly to still achieve a qualitatively good shoe, so it’s another sacrifice in this dimension.
Don’t get me wrong. The MSCHF x Tyga Wavy Baby is one of the most interesting and innovative takes on footwear we have seen in the last year. Finally a sneaker that goes beyond just changing some materials or colours, it’s a shoe that demonstrates the creative and artistic potential of the sneaker world. It gets people talking, it criticizes the big players of the industry, it makes waves non-stop.
Nevertheless, the quality and comfort are unfortunately not en par with the high retail, which is an absolute pity given the potential this shoe could have had. Perhaps MSCHF will recognize this and scale up production to improve quality… but maybe they will just put human blood in another shoe and carry on their path of disrupting convention.
What’s your opinion of this shoe? Are you looking to cop the most talked-about sneaker of the year? Let us know in the comments below.
by Freddy Schwoerer of Drip Drops