NOTE: here is the video on the same subject on my youtube channel. this blog is no longer active. subscribe to my channel for more sneaker history
Adidas has for some time now been challenging Nike for the spot as Top Dog in the sneaker game. With their realeses of Ultra boosts, NMDs, and maybe the hottest shoe in their line right now the Yeezy Boost 350 many people begin to think that they might just do it. As Kanyes signature shoe keeps on pooping up in different colourways or with just different coloured stripes alongside the “Saint Pablo Loves You” acronym and the number 350, people keep fighting for the chance to cop them at retail instead of paying the ridiculous resell prices. And because of the Hype surrounding the 350’s I thought it would be time to talk about the first shoe to ever bear the Yeezy name. And with the Yeezy Boost V2 Cream Whites just around the corner, what a better time to talk about the shoes that started it all. The Air Yeezy 1.
Before we get started I got to admit that i don’t understand what people see in this shoe. I don’t know if they really like the way it looks or they just like it because it has Kanyes name slapped on it. But while i may not ever understand the hype surrounding this shoe. At the very least i can respect people who do.
(The Three Nike Air Yeezys)
The Air Yeezy project was a collaboration done between Kanye West and Nike. In 2007 Were Kanyes fame were on an all time high. The CEO of Nike called Kanyes manager Mike Smith to help create a shoe for Kanye. Since Kanye didn’t only have his presence in the music business but also in fashion this seemed as the perfect idea and the Air yeezy project was born. Unlike other collaboration this would be Nike’s first ever shoe line for a non-athlete.
Kanye had a lot in the say of how the shoe should look and even brought in some of his own sketches to create an idea of the overall look. One of the things Kanye sat as a primary goal for the shoe was that it should feel retro and to make sure it did just that, he wanted to combine different aspects from the Air Jordan Shoes.These included, The silhouette of the 2, the toe cap of the 3’s, the molted colour of the 5’s and the extended tongue of the 6’s.
The whole project took way longer than they first anticipated. They thought they could be done with the project in the span of 3 months but it took them a whole year to finish everything up. I guess when you are working with Kanye West there are bound to be some delays.
(Kanye Wearing A Nike Air Yeezy Sample)
But at the 2008 Grammies, the whole world was finally presented to the Air Yeezy’s which Kanye wore on his feet while performing “Stronger” and “Hey Mama” during the award show.
And while many were excited for when shoe would get a realese date, now that it had finally been finished. People had to wait another year before the shoe came into production, which lead to a high number of samples being produced in different colourways and even a model were the sole was meant to light up.
(Air Yeezy 1 Zen Grey)
But in the spring of 2009 the very first pair of Air Yeezys in a Zen grey colourway dropped. And just like with every hyped Jordan realese, people were camping out for hours just to get a hold of this shoe. Never had there been so much hype regarding a shoe that was not a Jordan, a point that Kanye loves to bring up from time to time whenever he is asked on why he left Nike. The following months would see the realese of the Black/Pink colourway and the Net colourway, each of them having the same if not more people, waiting outside to be the first line to buy the shoe.
Shortly after the project Kanye went on to design another shoe with Fashion brand Luis Vuitton but came back to Nike to realese another Air Yeezy but that is a story for another time
Even though i may never understand why people would get so hyped over a shoe like this. I got to respect the dedications people have to this shoe. whether it’s because they are actually so comfortable or it’s just because it carries Kanye name i will never know. But i do know that people today are still camping out for his shoes. Waiting, raffling and just hoping that they get the chance to cop a pair. And while most Yeezys get copped just so they can get resold to ridiculous prices which is a topic i will tackle in another post. as long as people keep on doing them. I will keep on doing me. But seriously paying up towards 1000$ for a shoe is kind of ridiculous. Think of how many Jordans you could cop for that money!