The Nike Air Yeezy is an official sneakers collaboration mission between Nike and Kanye West, launched in 2009.[1] Notable because the shoe model’s first non-athlete full collaboration, the mission has launched two editions: the “Air Yeezy” (2009) and the “Air Yeezy II” (2012 and 2014).

Design course of[edit]

The Nike Air Yeezy was developed from 2007 to 2009 by rapper Kanye West, Nike Inventive Director Mark Smith and later Nathan Van Hook. Kanye has spoken very extremely of Smith as each a collaborator and designer, and Smith has mentioned the identical of Kanye, stating that he’s “a really inventive expertise” and a “pure designer.”[2]

The design course of for the Nike Air Yeezy was lengthy and options dozens of pattern colorways and silhouettes. Inspiration behind the road notably embrace the Air Tech Problem II, Jordan III and IV. The early prototype of the Air Yeezy had many options that enormously differ from the discharge model of the shoe. For example, the midsole and outsole featured what the shoe’s creators known as “Dying Star” tooling, named for the massive spherical form on the again half of the midsole. The outsole additionally featured the “Y-print” that was used on the toebox of the three launch variations. Additionally, on the very early prototypes, the shoe used LED lights implanted within the outsole, however after points with low battery life and value analysis, manufacturing workers at Nike got here to the conclusion that phosphorescent rubber could be used instead of the LED lights.[3]

Whereas a number of shade and put on take a look at samples of the Nike Air Yeezy had been made, some are extra extensively identified and mentioned than others. West wore an all black suede pair throughout his 2008 Grammy Awards efficiency of “Stronger” and “Hey Mama.” Up till after his efficiency, the general public was unaware {that a} collaboration between Nike and Kanye West was within the works[citation needed]. This pattern was later bought by way of a web based charity public sale to learn the sufferers of the Doernbecher Kids’s Hospital alongside an unreleased prototype of the Nike Air Yeezy that includes the tooling used on the favored Air Jordan VI.[4] Mark Smith acknowledged that Kanye needed to make use of Jordan tooling on the Air Yeezy, however that Nike wouldn’t permit it, and due to this fact, earlier than the date of the public sale, Kanye was unaware that the “Jordan VI” Nike Air Yeezy pattern existed.[5] The opposite pattern that was met with a lot dialogue amongst followers of the shoe was the “Hearth Purple” Nike Air Yeezy, which was named for the intense purple shade on the midsole. This colorway was first worn by Kanye throughout his “Glow within the Darkish” Tour and has been worn by the rapper a number of occasions since. In keeping with business rumors, this colorway was strongly thought of for launch alongside the opposite three launch colorways, however was scrapped on the final minute.[6]


After the lengthy sampling course of, three colorways of the Nike Air Yeezy had been chosen for public launch; a “Zen Gray” colorway that launched on April 4, 2009 and was the colorway that was created after nearly equal enter from Smith and West, a “Black/Pink” colorway (generally known as the “Blink” colorway) which was extra the brainchild of Mark Smith and launched on Could 4th, 2009, and eventually a “Internet” colorway that mirrored extra of Kanye West’s design tastes and launched on June 1, 2009.[7] Every colorway had a recommended retail worth of $215 and bought out nearly instantly.[8][9]

In early 2020 whereas talking to GQ Journal, West acknowledged that he was open to the concept of a retro launch of the Air Yeezy line. [10]

Nike Air Yeezy 2[edit]

Design course of[edit]

Anticipation across the launch of the Nike Air Yeezy 2 began after a Advanced Journal interview with Mark Smith and Kanye West about designing the Nike Air Yeezy, whereby Kanye acknowledged that there have been a number of designs left over from the Air Yeezy design course of that would ultimately turn out to be the Nike Air Yeezy 2.[11] Regardless of this assertion, none of those designs had been used for the Air Yeezy 2, and as an alternative, Nathan VanHook sat down with Kanye to design the Yeezy 2.[12] The shoe options far more of an animalistic design inspiration than the unique Air Yeezy, sporting a ridged, reptile impressed heel counter and a snake pores and skin impressed design on the quarters. The shoe, like the unique Air Yeezy, borrows tooling from different Nike fashions. The Air Yeezy 2 borrows its sole unit from the favored Nike Air Tech Problem II tennis mannequin. The shoe additionally options a number of references to Egyptian tradition, that includes depictions of the god Horus on the tongue and insole, and utilizing Egyptian hieroglyphics that spell out “YZY” underneath the strap.[13]

There have been additionally a number of design choices through the making of the Nike Air Yeezy 2 that had been a direct response to a few of Kanye’s points with the preliminary Nike Air Yeezy. Firstly, pointless padding alongside the higher was eradicated, and the shoe was made shorter for larger mobility. Additionally, the shoe was purposely slimmed down, to create a thinner look on ft and higher match Kanye West’s foot.[14]

As with the unique Nike Air Yeezy, a number of pattern colorways had been created, essentially the most well-known of which was the “Kobe” or “Cheetah” Nike Air Yeezy 2 pattern which was based mostly on a well-liked Christmas colorway of the Nike Kobe VII. Other than the rumored three pairs in existence and the photographs of the aforementioned pattern that unfold by means of varied sneaker media sources, little or no is thought concerning the pattern.[15]


Following a sequence of high-profile teases of the shoe (together with rapper Jay Z exclaiming “Shoutout to my Yeezys, Yeezy 2s” throughout a March 2012 SXSW efficiency), Nike introduced the Air Yeezy II sneaker on Could 29, 2012.[16][17] Rapper Macklemore was additionally seen carrying the Nike Air Yeezy 2’s throughout his efficiency in Occasions Sq., New York on New 12 months’s Eve. Macklemore was additionally seen throwing the uncommon sneaker into the gang.[18]

Amid huge anticipation, the shoe was launched with 5000 of every shade manner on June 9, 2012. Whereas bought for a retail worth of $245, the shoe gained notoriety for its wildly inflated resale worth upwards of $4,000. The Air Yeezy II featured two premier shade methods, Photo voltaic Purple, Pure Platinum, and a 3rd shade manner of the Air Yeezy II sneakers, dubbed the “Purple Octobers”, which underwent a shock launch on February 9, 2014. The “Purple Octobers” launched solely on Nike’s web site, and bought out inside seconds.[19][20][21][22][23][24][25]


  2. ^ “Nike Air Yeezy – Sneakers by Kanye West.” Sneaker Information. 18 Apr 2008: n. web page. Net. 5 Mar. 2014. .
  3. ^ Hundiak, Ian. “Each Unreleased Yeezy and the True Tales Behind Them.” Sneaker Information. 6 Mar 2014: n. web page. Net. 6 Mar. 2014. .
  4. ^ Hundiak, Ian. “Each Unreleased Yeezy and the True Tales Behind Them.” Sneaker Information. 6 Mar 2014: n. web page. Net. 6 Mar. 2014. .
  5. ^ Hundiak, Ian. “Each Unreleased Yeezy and the True Tales Behind Them.” Sneaker Information. 6 Mar 2014: n. web page. Net. 6 Mar. 2014. .
  6. ^ Hundiak, Ian. “Each Unreleased Yeezy and the True Tales Behind Them.” Sneaker Information. 6 Mar 2014: n. web page. Net. 6 Mar. 2014. .
  7. ^ “Nike Air Yeezy – Sneakers by Kanye West.” Sneaker Information. 18 Apr 2008: n. web page. Net. 5 Mar. 2014. .
  8. ^ Roberts, Steven James (2009-04-06). “Kanye West’s New Nike Air Yeezys Hit The Streets”. MTV. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
  9. ^ “Nike Air Yeezy”. Good Kicks. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
  10. ^ “Kanye West Is Cool With Nike Re-Releasing His Air Yeezy Line”. Highsnobiety. 2020-04-17. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  11. ^ “Air Yeezy Interview Outtakes: Kanye & Nike’s Mark Smith.” Advanced Journal. 03 Apr 2009: n. web page. Net. 5 Mar. 2014. .
  12. ^ Lin, Albert. “NIKE AIR YEEZY II DESIGNER NATHAN VANHOOK TALKS METHODS OF MAKING.” Good Kicks. 2012: n. web page. Net. 23 Mar. 2014. .
  13. ^ “THE NIKE AIR YEEZY III.” Nike Inc.. 30 Could 2012: n. web page.134
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  15. ^ Hundiak, Ian. “Each Unreleased Yeezy and the True Tales Behind Them.” Sneaker Information. 6 Mar 2014: n. web page. Net. 6 Mar. 2014. .
  16. ^ Parker, E. (2012-03-28). “Kanye West’s Air Yeezy II Sneaker Delayed”. CBS Radio. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
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  18. ^ “Individuals Stuntin’ With//Purple Octobers”. Air//Million. 2014-04-04. Retrieved 2014-05-19.
  19. ^ Hasan, Heba (2012-06-12). “Kanye West’s $245 Air Yeezy II Sneakers Promote On-line for $90,000”. Time Journal. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
  20. ^ Manfred, Tony (2012-06-01). “Video: Kobe Bryant and Kanye West Star in Nike’s ‘The Black Mamba“. Enterprise Insider. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
  21. ^ “Nike Air Yeezy II Sneakers Had been Tailor-made To Kanye West’s Toes”. Huffington Publish. 2012-05-30. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
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  24. ^ Fitzpatrick, Tommye (2011-05-30). “Kanye West’s New Nike Shoe in Shops June 9”. Elle Journal. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
  25. ^ O’Toole, James (2012-06-08). “Sneakerheads’ go loopy for Kanye West’s new kicks”. CNN. Retrieved 2013-02-02.