If you're a sneakerhead, you're probably well aware of the infamous, record-setting Yeezy drops.
Case in point, last year Kanye's 450s sold out in less than one minute after dropping.
Besides their striking silhouettes, Kanye West Yeezy sneakers have gained a place in history for their sell-out times. In true, iconic sneaker culture style, sneaker collectors all over the world have lined up and even camped, in kilometer-long queues in an attempt to get their hands on the latest pair of Yeezy kicks.
We're the last set of people to question kick-related fever—but what is behind the Yeezy hype?
Whether you're an aficionado collector or just someone who enjoys rocking the latest fresh pair of kicks, you definitely want to know the fascinating backstory behind the Kanye Yeezy sneaker phenomenon, and how these futuristic shoes became some of the most iconic kicks of our time.
Keep reading to get the lowdown on how Kanye Yeezy sneakers gained notoriety and icon status.
Kanye’s Style Evolution
One of the reasons why Kanye West Yeezy sneakers have achieved undisputed icon status is Kanye West himself. Kanye West is one of the most famous rappers of the early 21st century, but he didn't achieve this through dropping rhymes alone.
Since the beginning, Kanye has been a style aberration. Back in the day when he was mixing beats for Roc-A-Fella, Kanye was already a fashion outlier. While just about every other rapper was rocking over-sized tees, matching denim sets, and ultra baggy jeans, Kanye was already setting himself apart with Polo shirts and popped collars.
Any of you remember the popped collar trend from the mid-to-late-2000s? It's probably Kanye we have to thank for it.
Besides being a trendsetter, Kanye is also a master marketer. Even back then, Kanye West leveraged his style choices to boost his career. At the time, Kanye was busy releasing College Dropout. His slightly prepping, smooth style dovetailed perfectly with his album and the aesthetic he was portraying.
Since these early days, Kanye has gone through multiple style transitions, channeling everything from a reinvented take on 70s style to loud street fashion. Fast-forward a few years and a fair amount of fame, fans saw Kanye brushing shoulders with some big names in fashion, such as Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs, and Taz Arnold.
Not all of his looks translated into trends, but there's no denying that Kanye has had a sizeable style influence from the get-go.
It's no surprise that a couple of years after his first contact with some of the world's most renowned fashion designers Kanye went on to release his first sneaker, the Nike Air Yeezy.
The Tea: Nike vs Adidas
Nike wasn't Kanye's first sneaker collab, but the partnership didn't last long.
Before Nike, Kanye collabed with A Bathing Ape, worked with Louis Vuitton on a high-end luxury sneaker line, and even allegedly had a hand in designing Balmain and Giuseppe Zanotti’s sought-after high-top sneaker styles.
Kanye's relationship with Nike was the first time Nike had even worked with a celebrity who wasn't a sports star or athlete. This is probably the underlying cause of the tensions that developed between Kanye and Nike.
The first release of Nike Air Yeezy I was an undeniable hit. In response, Nike decided to develop the Nike Air Yeezy II with Kanye.
After this, things got to a head with the release of the Red October Yeezies. Kanye reported being frustrated with the postponing of the release dates and the limited supply. He voiced this at the MTV music awards, stating that he wanted there to be enough pairs for everybody, at a decent price, and that he would go on to create more shoes than any musician "in the history of time ever could have."
This was a pretty bold statement, but Kanye followed through by breaking ties with Nike and signing a deal with Addidas.
Before we get into the birth of the Addidas Yeezy lines, it's worth mentioning that the collaboration between Nike and Kanye wasn't a failure for anyone. Although Nike came under fire in Kanye's lyrics, they gained a huge amount of publicity.
Kanye got his foot in the door of big league sneaker design, and also garnered a reputation out of the collab. Not to mention, the world got some a-class, OG kicks out of the partnership—and history was made. Recently, the Nike Air Yeezy sample made for Kanye West that he wore to the 2008 Grammys sold on auction for almost $2 million.
The History of Addidas Kanye West Yeezy Sneakers
Once Kanye partnered with Addidas, the game was on. Unlike Nike, Addidas recognized the pop culture and style influence that Kanye brought with him.
Thanks to this, they let him have free reign with the designs, and that's when we started to see the most potent Yeezy magic happen.
The first drop was the Yeezy Boost 750. These high-tops veered closer to OG sneaker style, featuring full suede uppers and a cross-strap. However, even in these early days, the Yeezy Boost 750s came out the gate with the Boost sole.
These first Yeezies were inspired by UGG boots, which were hot at the time, and the design was allegedly styled for Marty Mcfly. This imbued it with a futuristic twist that we were to see a lot more of in the subsequent Yeezy drops.
After this came the militaristic Duckboot, then the Yeezy Boost 350, which was the first Yeezy sneaker to feature the Primeknit upper.
Hot on its heels (pardon the pun) came the Yeezy Boost 350 V2. With a higher sole, this was the first drop to also feature a patterned design, which has since become a staple of Kanye West Yeezy sneakers.
Thanks to Kim's penchant for rocking the dad shoe trend, Kanye took his next drop in a slightly different direction. In 2017, the Yeezy ‘Wave Runner’ hit shelves, featuring a fresh, chunkier silhouette that split sneakerheads' alliances down the middle.
After this came the Yeezy 500. These were in line with the chunkier shoe trend, but in true Kanye style, they still threw a curve ball thanks to the fact that they didn't incorporate the Boost sole.
The Boost sole wasn't gone for long though. The very next Kanye Yeezy sneaker drop boasted the innovative sole in the Yeezy Boost 380, which marked a return to the iconic Yeezy 350 silhouette.
Soon after this came Kanye's minimalistic slides, the Yeezy Quantum drop, and the launch of the futuristic Yeezy Foam Runner.
The Kanye Adidas Synergy
There's no doubt that Kanye's kicks are crisp, but this isn't the only reason behind their rise to icon status.
Kanye and Adidas are a little bit of a dream team when it comes to marketing and launching product.
Kanye Knows How to Network
First off, Kanye knows how to leverage his renown and network to generate hype for his drops. Not only does he rock his own kicks before they launch, but he also makes a habit of gifting pre-launch pairs to his celeb connections.
Kylie, Kim, and the rest of the Kardashian Jenners have been spotted sporting his new designs before drop dates. Kanye even went so far as to send President Obama two pairs of Yeezy Boosts to Obama himself back in 2015.
Adidas Knows Knows How to Drop
Kanye knows how to market and create demand for his lines. But this isn't the only success factor. Adidas has a tried and tested method for launching new lines and growing a market for them.
They have deployed this strategy to perfection with Kanye West Yeezy sneakers. During the first drops, numbers were limited. This scarcity helped to fuel the hype. Once Addidas was assured sales numbers, they started doing bigger drops, increasing supply.
This allowed them to build a sustainable market for Yeezy sneakers.
Why Kanye West Yeezy Sneakers Are Fire
Kanye might be a smart marketer, and Addidas knows how to build markets behind the scenes—but this isn't the only reason Kanye Yeezy sneakers fly off shelves.
At the end of the day, Kanye West Yeezy sneakers are a solid addition to any sneaker collection. Here are some of the reasons we think Yeezy sneakers are so fire.
Yeezy Sneaks Are More Than Just a Collab
One reason why Yeezy sneakers have such unique profiles is that they're more than just a collab. Most collabs don't involve anything to do with shoe silhouettes.
Instead, they take an existing, top-selling silhouette, and do something interesting with the colorway.
In contrast, Kanye Yeezy sneakers are something completely their own. Kanye personally funneled his passion for style into their designs.
They’re Unlike Anything Else on the Market
Another reason why Kanye West Yeezy sneakers are so hot is they're totally unique. Kanye has a knack for breaking the mold, and he's definitely injected this quality into the Kanye Yeezy sneaker line.
If you're rocking a pair of Yeezys, you're sure to make a style statement. Their unique lines will add some attitude to any outfit.
Yeezy Sneakers Are Ultra Comfortable
Besides making a statement, Yeezy sneakers bring what just about all of us want in a kick. They seriously deliver on the comfort front, with the Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2 being arguably one of the most comfortable shoes in existence.
They’re Surprisingly Durable for Such a Lightweight Shoe
Not only are Kanye West Yeezy sneakers ultra-comfy, but they're also surprisingly long-lasting for such lightweight designs.
Of course, these aren't the shoes to wear on a Bear-Grills-type expedition, but if you treat them well they'll grace your sneaker collection for years to come.
Are You Looking To Pick up a Pair of Kanye West Yeezy Sneakers?
Kanye's trendsetting style sense paired with his promotional acumen, advantageous partnership with Addidas, and eye for design all make for a winning recipe. There's no denying that Yeezy sneakers have achieved iconic status.
Are you looking to pick up your own pair of Yeezy kicks?
If yes, you've come to the right place.
Here at Kickscrew, we stock a huge selection of Kanye West Yeezy sneakers, ranging from new releases to limited edition rare finds.