Kanye West and his Yeezy sneaker brand are suing Walmart for allegedly selling fake versions of his Yeezy Foam Runner shoes on their website.
The rapper’s specific complaint, stated in the documentation obtained by the New York Post, claims the discount retail giant “is flagrantly trading off of his and Yeezy brand’s popularity by offering for sale an imitation version of the Yeezy Foam Runner.”
The lawsuit also claims that Yeezy had sent previous demands for Walmart to remove the footwear from sale, but no action was taken.
According to legal documents, obtained by The Blast, “Walmart’s conduct is harming, and will continue to harm, West and Yeezy, leaving them no choice but to stop Walmart’s unfair competition and profiting from the popularity of the success of West and Yeezy,”
The suit also claimed that Walmart’s cheaper versions run Yeezy, a brand worth “billions” of dollars, the risk of losing “hundreds of millions” in revenue.
They went on to highlight Kanye’s influence and importance in the fashion world, claiming, “He sets trends for everything he touches.”
They continued, “Simply put, Kanye West is a household name, and the Yeezy brand, which has been synonymous with West, has become one of the most influential and successful brands in fashion”.
The lawsuit went on to list a multitude of celebrities that had been seen wearing the brand, including ex-wife Kim Kardashian, Justin and Hailey Bieber, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Ariana Grande, and Snoop Dogg.
Kanye West claims Walmart’s imitation sneakers are ‘of subpar quality’
The suit also claims that consumers are associating what West calls a “sub-par product” with the Yeezy brand.
They highlighted one customer review which said, “My son has been wanting these Yeezy slides but these look similar and are much more affordable.”
The complaint noted, “Consumers likely would have purchased the Yeezy Foam Runner were it not for the cheaper, knock-off imitation shoe.”
The suit alleged, “Not only are West and Yeezy losing market shares for their authentic Yeezy Foam Runner, but also their reputation and the goodwill of the Yeezy brand is being harmed by the association with the Imitation Shoe given its subpar quality, as evidenced by the consumer comments shown from the Walmart website.”
They went on to offer evidence which they said backed up their claims of inferior quality by including reviews form Walmart’s own website.
“Fit is bad and foam broke while wearing. They come off as you step and lean forward. The real ones are so worth it for retail. Don’t buy this garbage, said one review.
In the documents, they insisted the Yeezy Foam Runners are “virtually indistinguishable” from shoes being sold on Walmart.com.
Walmart responds to claims
Following the allegations, the retail giant said in a statement, “The product referenced in the complaint is not sold by Walmart, but rather by third-party Marketplace sellers.”
They continued, “We take allegations like this seriously and are reviewing the claim. We will respond in court as appropriate after we have been served with the complaint.”
Walmart appear to have distanced themselves from the product as they have since removed the Foam Runners from their website.