Kanye West has been under the spotlight for quite some time- his rap songs have given him critical acclaim, his marriage with then-wife Kim Kardashian bought him unprecedented media coverage and he is quite known for his outspoken views on a range of political and social issues.
Above all of this, it is his design collaborations with sportswear fashion brands like Nike and Adidas that made him super famous. His current creative collaboration with Adidas for new Yeezy slides and other Yeezy sneakers has made him a multi-millionaire.
Nevertheless, in this post, we’ll see how Kanye West grew his shoe empire and why his Adidas Yeezy shoe range is so popular worldwide.
Kanye West has had an affinity with the arts since childhood. An exceptional singer and designer, he first started as a rap producer in the 1990s before becoming a rap artist and earning numerous accolades.
He launched his career in fashion designing with the launch of his Pastelle Clothing line in 2006. However, the clothing line didn’t see the light of the day despite West himself teasing some of the outfits.
The start of his success, however, came with the launch of his own shoe line ‘Air Yeezys’ in 2009 in collaboration with Nike. West was the first non-sportsman to have a footwear collaboration with Nike.
Kanye’s stint with Nike
The Nike Air Yeezy was developed and designed by Kanye and senior Nike Creative Directors Mark Smith and Nathan Van Hook. After two years of hard work and multiple iterations, they came up with a unique sneaker design that has become so famous that people spend hundreds of dollars even for an original used version of the Nike Air Yeezy. Earlier versions of the Nike Air Yeezy came with LED lights. Later, these were replaced with phosphorescent rubber.
Kanye himself endorsed the Nike Air Yeezy during his performance at the 2008 Grammy Awards. The black suede Air Yeezy shoes he wore were auctioned for charity subsequently. In fact, Kanye still considers these shoes close to his heart and wears them regularly at various public appearances.
However, after many prototypes and 2 editions (The Air Yeezy in 2009 and Air Yeezy II in 2014), Kanye eventually left Nike for Adidas. He complained that Nike didn’t allow him to release newer versions of his shoes and that he did not get his share of the royalties. There were rumors that Nike didn’t want a non-athlete to be the face of their sports-oriented brand.
It was in 2013 that Adidas swooped in, offered Kanye a fixed share of royalties, a $10 million deal, and full creative control over his work that resulted in people eventually buying Adidas shoes for men online over Nike’s sneakers. Kanye took over the Yeezy brand with him to Adidas and took the popularity of the Yeezy shoes to a whole new level.
Adidas Yeezy Sneakers: The catapult to Kanye West’s billion-dollar empire
German sportswear brand Adidas offered Kanye West almost everything he needed to make his Yeezy brand a force to reckon with. Under the deal with Adidas, Kanye retains complete creative control over his Yeezy sneaker brand.
More than a year after the deal was signed, Kanye and Adidas launched the Yeezy Boost 350. These sneakers under retail distribution by Adidas were a massive hit, encouraging Kanye to offer newer versions of the shoes that people can buy Adidas shoes online for Yeezy and other sub-brands of Adidas.
Here are some of the most notable Adidas Yeezy sneakers which had popularity akin to the iPhone.
Adidas Yeezy Boost 750 - This was Adidas-Kanye West’s first launch. Launched in 2013, initially, only 9,000 pairs were released. Though this was 2013 and many people were hesitant to buy sneakers online, these 9,000 pairs sold out online within 10 minutes. In February 2014, these shoes were subsequently available through a wide network of retailers and boutiques.
Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 - This shoe bought with it the latest primeknit technology where synthetic yarns were knitted with flat knitting machinery. The first version launched in June 2015 while the second, known as the Yeezy 350 Boost V2, launched in September 2016. Subsequently, many versions of the Yeezy Boost 350 were launched with various innovative design styles and colors.
Adidas Yeezy Foam Runner Series
These innovative shoes are known for the use of eco-friendly algae in their production. First launched in September 2021, these shoes now come in various color schemes to match individual tastes. They also come in various sizes for men, women, and kids.
Kanye West has worked his way up the ladder- as a rapper, music producer, and shoe designer. Though he has won many Grammys and other awards, it is his Yeezy shoes that have made him a household name.
The goodwill he earned over the years and his successful collaboration with the best online sneaker store and manufacturer- Adidas has helped his designer shoes to become so famous they sell as quickly as they are launched, sometimes within seconds.
Kanye has also worked hard to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged people with his various donations and is co-parenting his 4 children with Kim Kardashian.