Introduction The infamous rapper Kanye West has made a name for himself in the industry as a fashion icon. West was able to create trends from wearing the polo with the popped collar and backpack to the more slick look of all tonal outfits. It’s safe to say that West is someone to look to when it comes to what to wear.
While being a fashion icon, West was able to collaborate with numerous brands such as Bape, Ralph Lauren, Nike, Balenciaga and more. He was even able to secure a partnership with major sportswear brands like Nike and Adidas. West currently has one of the most lucrative partnerships with adidas…let’s take a look at how he got there.
West originally designed a shoe for Adidas in 2006 that was never released. This would lead to him getting his first official brand collaboration with Bape. Together, West and Bape released a pair of Bapesta "College Dropout" shoes, which are now quite rare and garner high resell prices. The Bapesta “College Dropout” sneaker came about while West modeled for Nigo, the designer of Bape, and appeared on Teriyaki tracks through the ’00s, Yeezy and Nigo officially collaborated in 2007 with the release of a Bapesta sneaker celebrating Kanye’s breakthrough album from 2004. The sneaker sported the Dropout Bear branding which amplified Nigo’s hip-hop flip on a Bruce Kilgore classic. This was West’s introduction to retail footwear as he merged worlds and eras.
Next West was able to snag a deal with Nike which led to the creation of the great Yeezy brand. In 1991, Mark Smith joined Tinker Hatfield on a mission to make a shoe built for balling on the blacktop which turned out to be the Nike Air Raid. Fast forward to roughly a decade and a half later, Mark Smith was able to work with West to create a shoe meant for “walking on a space planet” which gave us the first Nike Air Yeezy.
Worn by West during his futuristic 'Glow in the Dark' tour, the Nike Air Yeezy released in limited quantities in three different variations which included the ‘Blink’ fBlack/Pink colorway debuted on the feet of Kanye in a close-up shot in the video for Keri Hilson’s charting-topping single, “Knock You Down.” The success of the first Air Yeezy was unimaginable that West was able to secure the creation of the Nike Air Yeezy 2. Nike tapped in with Nathan VanHook who came together with West for a more technical follow-up to the space-age Air Yeezy 1. Molded from the clay courts Tennis player Andre Agassi set ablaze with his rock-and-roll style, the Air Yeezy 2 stole the sole of Agassi’s Tech Challenge 2. Although sales were going well, the relationship between Nike and West was not going well and they soon departed.
Months after his departure, the Red Octobers released randomly through a Nike tweet in February 2014, writing the last chapter of the infamous Air Yeezy saga. This also became one of the most sought after Yeezys to date and lead to what we now know as the modern relationship between West and Adidas. History of Kanye West and Adidas
The year 2015 during All-Star Weekend brought about the first release of the Adidas Yeezy Boost 750 as his first signature shoe from Adidas. The following months of 2015 also saw the retail release of the Yeezy Boost 350 ‘Turtle Dove’, which sold out to rave reviews. To tie all of that together, Kanye capped off the year by dropping the Nike diss track “FACTS” on Dec. 31.
In the years to follow, the Yeezy brand grew with healthy backing from Adidas and the immutable creativity of Kanye. Industry veterans like Steven Smith, Mark Miner, and Christian Tresser joined the booming brand, honing Mr. West’s off-the-wall ideas into market-ready releases.
Quickly, the word around new Yeezy footwear models grew as West’s family and friends promoted each new model ranging from the bulky Yeezy Boost 700 to the basketball inspired Yeezy BSKTBL. While Adidas’ Yeezy launches served as status symbols similar to that of his work with Nike, the new direction for West and the Yeezy Brand called for more releases and greater accessibility.
The idea that everyone should own a pair of Yeezys brought about what is now known as Yeezy Day. Although West has no affiliation to the Adidas launch of Yeezy Day it’s proven to be amongst the most talked about events in footwear since its 2019 debut. Like most things with West, the controversy that West had nothing to do with Yeezy Day only fuels the conversation and buzz around the brand. To this day, it seems that Yeezy Day was the beginning of what we now see as an unpleasant partnership between the German brand and West. However, the idea of bringing back beloved models and making pairs readily available for both access and profit is in line with what the artist and Adidas originally set out to accomplish.
In total there are around 22 different models from the Yeezy brand, below we will be going through some of the most popular models. .
Adidas Yeezy Boost 750 - The adidas Yeezy Boost 750 was the first sneaker released by adidas, designed by Kanye West. Debuting in 2015, they retailed for $350. The high-top sneaker features a full suede upper, dynamic mid-foot strap, full zipper running up the back heel, perforated vamp and a Boost cushioned sole.
Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 - The adidas Yeezy Boost 350 debuted in 2015 as the second sneaker released from the Kanye West and adidas partnership. The sneaker featured a Primeknit upper and a Boost sole and was designed by West and Nic Galway.
Adidas Yeezy Powerphase - The adidas Yeezy Powerphase "Calabasas" was originally set as a Yeezy Supply exclusive back in March 2017. Since then, Kanye West had popularized the model that is actually a retro adidas training shoe from the late 1980s. The sneaker features white premium leather with the Calabasas logo near the 3 stripes branding.
Adidas Yeezy 950 - The adidas Yeezy 950 extended the Kanye West and adidas partnership outside of the sneaker space with its military duckboot inspired design.
Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2 - The adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2 debuted in 2016 as the fifth piece of footwear from the adidas and Kanye West partnership. The second generation of the original Yeezy Boost 350, the V2 version featured a higher-cut and patterned Primeknit upper with a contrasting stripe that read "SPLY - 350." The reworked upper sat on a larger volume adidas Boost sole.
Adidas Yeezy Slides - The adidas Yeezy Slides debuted in 2018 as Kanye West version of an everyday practical shoe that had a simple design fit for comfort.
Adidas Yeezy QNTM - Kanye West's first performance basketball sneaker with Adidas dubbed Yeezy QNTM features a two-toned upper with a heightened ankle collar, suede overlay on the toe, and 3M hits throughout including on the heel counter.
Adidas Yeezy Foam Runners - Released in June 2020, the Adidas Yeezy Foam Runner is created with harvested algae that's blended with the Three Stripes' EVA materials. It features a slip-on design including a handful of oval cut-outs for ventilation.
Adidas Yeezy Boost 700 - Debuted during Yeezy Season 5, the Adidas Yeezy Boost 700, aka Wave Runner, is a vintage style model by Kanye West equipped with Boost technology. Adidas Yeezy Boost 700 MNVN - The popular Adidas Yeezy Boost 700 is received a new MNVN variation that features a nylon based upper with "700" branding on the sides along with a Boost midsole underneath. Adidas Yeezy Boost 700 V2 - The V2 version of the popular Adidas Yeezy Boost 700 features a mesh lowcut upper that sits atop a plush Boost-cushioned midsole underneath.
Adidas Yeezy Boost 380 - Originally rumored to be the popular Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V3, this model named the Adidas Yeezy Boost 380 features a midcut Primeknit upper with perforations on the midfoot and a bulkier Boost-cushioned midsole.
Adidas Yeezy 500 - The Yeezy 500 combines a suede and mesh upper with the tooling which first appeared on a past signature model from Kobe Bryant, the KB8 3.
Adidas Yeezy 450 - The Adidas Yeezy 450 was designed by Kanye West and released as part of the Adidas Yeezy line. It features a Primeknit upper that's paired with thick shoelaces, and an aggressive teeth-like design extending onto the upper. Adidas Yeezy 700 V3 - Another variation of the Adidas Yeezy 700 line, the Yeezy 700 V3 boasts a mesh-based upper surrounded by rubber-like overlays along with reflective 3M hits throughout the material. Unlike its predecessors, this version does not feature a full length Boost midsole. How much do Yeezys cost compared to Tradeblock? After learning about the popular brand, you are probably wondering about how much Yeezy cost. The models tend to be on the more expensive side when it comes to sneakers. Models range from $180 - $350 retail while on the resale markets such as Goat and Stockx, the sneakers can range from all the way upwards to $600 +. No worries though because that’s where Tradeblock comes in. Within the next section we will discuss the variations of places you can go to obtain the best model at the lowest price. How to buy Yeezys on Tradeblock Although Yeezy’s are expensive there are numerous ways to get your hands on a pair. The best way is to trade for them. Using our tradeblock app, you will be able to see exactly how many pairs we have available of every model. You can also search the app by size so that the exact size that you are looking for will pop up. Get this… the only thing you will have to pay is the shipping and fees which equal out about $50. By using Tradeblock to get your Yeezys you will save the hassle of having to bargain or bid on the shoe. Instead you are able to look through other users' closets and use your own sneakers as currency which will in the long run save you money. Other ways to get Yeezys for retail include raffles, the Adidas Confirmed app, yeezysupply.com and local stores. Aftermarket places include Ebay, Stockx, Goat and of course Tradeblock. Most Popular Yeezys in 2022 With all the models out there, the most sought after Yeezys include the “Red Octobers”, Yeezy Boost 700 “Wave Runners” , Yeezy 350 “Turtle Doves” and Yeezy slides.
As mentioned earlier the Yeezy 700 “Wave Runner” released as part of Yeezy Season 5 in February 2017, the Yeezy 700 "Wave Runner” came out at a time when the chunky sneaker dad shoe vibe was popular. West was able to use his family and friends to help promote the sneaker like style icons Kim K West.
Influenced by his ex-wife’s style, Kanye decided to take Yeezys in a different direction. The contrasting look of the 700s compared to previous silhouettes initially had the sneaker industry split about whether they were must-cop or not.
The tables turned when fellow rapper Chance The Rapper wore the sneakers while hosting SNL, causing hype for the fresh silhouette to build. Since then the sneaker has seen several restocks, along with switched up colorways.
Originally created as a way to express his creativity through fashion, Kanye West has been able to strategically move his way through the fashion industry first starting out as a style icon then becoming a designer himself. He was able to use his connections to create one of the most popular sought out brands in the sneaker industry.
Each model created has a different meaning behind it as West continues to make his way up the ladder. Although West has very controversial political views, it is safe to say that his stamp in the fashion industry is one that cannot be ignored.