In mid-2021, rapper Cassper Nyovest launched his debut sneakers after having signed a deal with Lekau Sehoana, owner of Drip Footwear, earlier in the year. The collaboration spawned the Root of Fame sneaker brand. The first sneaker range to release as part of the collaboration was the Root of Fame 990.
Leading up to launch day, there was a lot of buzz around the release, with many South Africans excited about the partnership. When the lid was finally lifted on the new range, that heat transferred quite impressively for the launch of the first two colourways of the 990 sneaker – Black Salmon and Off-white. This led to the sneakers being sold out online within a few hours.
A few weeks ago, I received my first pair of the Root of Fame 990 sneakers, in the form of the Grey Wolfs colourway. With all the buzz around the sneaker over the past seven months, I was eager to put them through its paces. Here are my thoughts.
Design and Build
If you’re familiar with some of the previous Drip Footwear sneakers, then you’ll be familiar with the approach, especially on the upper. Similarly, to the Likwidz sneakers, the Root of Fame 990 features an all-mesh, grey upper. This time, however, they’ve removed the laces and gone with a sock-fit design instead. As such, it provides both breathability from the mesh as well as an easy slip-on design.
The mesh itself has a few different sections to it, despite being crafted as a singular cut-out. On the front and forefoot, you have the thinly perforated mesh, while on the toe-box and sides you’ll find much bigger holes in the mesh. It creates some contrast on the sneaker, even with the all-grey upper. On some of the other colourways, you’ll find that this segmentation is split with different colours, creating an even wider contrast of colours.
As with the Likwidz, the Root of Fame 990 features an elastic collar, which makes it easier to keep locked in place once you’ve slid into the sneaker. It also has the same pull tab on the rear to pull the sneaker up when you’re sliding into it. There’s also a heel counter halfway around the heel area, which provides support for the heel lock, as well as a decent location for the “990” text. This portion is made from a plastic polymer.
Likewise, there’s also a tab on the front of the collar, somewhat of a replacement for the missing tongue. Although I’ve not used this, it also serves the purpose of pulling the sneaker up when putting it on. And, as with the rear tab, there’s a plastic square in front of it which it leads into. This portion features the Root of Fame logo. The logo itself seems to be inspired by an upside-down Timberland logo, but reflects the roots of the brand, as well as the tree being the “f” from Fame. It’s quite a nifty interpretation of the name itself.
Finally, there’s the midsole. As with the upper, it is rather minimalistic, featuring clean lines in a single rubber frame. On the toe, you’ll find the “D” from the Drip logo and the Root of Fame text on the rear.
The design is very minimalistic on the Root of Fame 990 sneaker. That said, it’s part of the appeal.
Over the past three weeks or so, I used the Root of Fame 990 as sort of a daily driver. I’d wear it around the hours every day and also for those quick outings to the shops. At first, I wasn’t overly taken by the comfort, as the insole arches felt too high for my preference. After a few days of wearing it, however, this changed somewhat, to a point where it’s not that noticeable any longer.
It is very comfortable to wear around the house, there’s no doubt. Its sock-fit design makes it easy to move around while also not overheating the foot. However, if you’re expecting a lot of walking while running some errands, it may not be the most ideal. Even on the online store page, there’s a disclaimer that the sneakers are “not intended for heavy use.” I’d assume this meant no running in the sneakers or walking 5km in them every other day.
So, as an easy-going sneaker for light walking, or moving around the house, they’re quite comfortable after wearing it for a few days. However, they’re not recommended for anything beyond that.
Root of Fame 990 Performance & Quality
When it comes to the performance of the Root of Fame 990 sneakers, they do well for what it was designed for. With a snug fit of the sock-like, mesh upper, they’re comfortable to keep on for extended periods at a time. The foam rubber midsole is also super lightweight so it won’t keep you bogged down after some time.
Unlike other leather sneakers, you also won’t have to worry about bending them or creating creases around the toe box. This means you should be more than comfortable doing any chore around the house, knowing that the wear is quite low, and with the fabric upper, it’s also easy to clean. All you need to do is create a foam wash and give it a light scrub and you should be good to go again.
There is no outsole underneath the Root of Fame 990 sneaker, as it extends from the single-piece midsole. However, as stated earlier, you’re not going to be expecting to walk or run in these shoes across various terrain changes, so it isn’t necessarily needed either. On the tiled floors or carpets at home or that of the malls and similar places, they’ll do just fine.
After nearly a month of quite frequent wear around the house, they’ve held up sufficiently with no signs of deterioration thus far. I’ll give the review an update if anything changes on that front. However, for now, they’re quite well manufactured from what I can gather, even after a wash or two.
Final Thoughts on the Root of Fame 990
It’s great to see South African sneaker brands expanding on their vision. We’ve seen over the years that many brands often come undone when moving away from their signature range. This isn’t the case with the Root of Fame 990, however, which had sufficient marketing behind the campaign, which has led to phenomenal sales.
While the Grey Wolfs isn’t the most appealing colourway, the Root of Fame 990 is a good-looking sneaker. It’s also quite comfortable after a few wears and offers decent support for those with high arches. It’s a great step forward for the Drip Footwear range. You can purchase a pair for R1,000 online at Dripsa.co.za.
Root of Fame 990
The Root of Fame 990 is a good-looking, comfortable sneaker. With its sock-like upper, it is easy to slip on, while also having a good construction and build.
- Sock-like, mesh upper
- Minimalist design
- Solid build and quality
- Slip-on design
- High arch insole
- Not for heavier use