By: Yamilex Mendoza
The Nike Air Yeezy is an official sneaker collaboration project between Nike and Kanye West.
The Nike Air Yeezy, named for Kanye West’s "Yeezy" nickname, was developed from 2007 to 2009 by rapper Kanye West and Nike Creative Director Mark Smith. Despite later qualms with Nike, Kanye has spoken very highly of Smith as both a collaborator and designer, and Smith has said the same of Kanye, stating that he is "a truly creative talent" and a "natural designer."
The first installment of Kanye West’s sneaker projects, the Nike Air 180 “College Dropout” celebrated the success of Ye’s lauded debut album and was available only in his own size 12 as a highly exclusive friends-and-family release. The shoe sported a playful mishmash of bold colors and leopard print upon the upper, with the record’s bear mascot branded on the tongue and insole.
The Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 is approaching fast. This simple and tan sneaker will hit stores and is expected to sell out within mere minutes at a retail price of nearly $350 and resell prices potentially hitting over $3,000, a hefty price tag for a simple shoe that does nothing but copy the success of Nike's newest in-style shoe, the Roshe Run. This shoe is everything, until we take away the Yeezy name soaring it to popularity. Then, it is just simply another shoe on the market begging to be competition to the untouchable popularity of Nike. Having Yeezy is a triumph for Adidas that can't be matched, because like it or not, Yeezy has impact.
The design process for the Nike Air Yeezy was long and features dozens of sample colorways and silhouettes. The early prototype of the Air Yeezy had many features that greatly differ from the release version of the shoe. For instance, the midsole and outsole featured what the shoe’s creators referred to as "Death Star" tooling, named for the large spherical shape on the back half of the midsole. The outsole also featured the "Y-print" that was used on the toebox of the three release versions. Also, on the very early prototypes, the shoe used LED lights implanted in the outsole, but after issues with low battery life and cost evaluation, production staff at Nike came to the conclusion that phosphorescent rubber would be used in place of the LED lights.
While several color and wear test samples of the Nike Air Yeezy were made, some are more widely known and discussed than others. West wore an all black suede pair during his 2008 Grammy Awards performance of "Stronger" and "Hey Mama."
“There were slim leggings and body-conscious tops, along with cropped shearlings, giant sweatshirts and skinny knit dresses. The shoes are the big sellers and there were desert boots as well as snug-fitting, booty-style heels. And it was all shown in a warm palette of saffron, cayenne and coco. Fine. Wearable. Nice job.” said, Robin Givhan.
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