Yeezy : Kanye West's pride and joy, an icon at Adidas!

December 08, 2019 9 min read

Yeezy : Kanye West's pride and joy, an icon at Adidas!

The Kanye West x Adidas union is one of the most symbolic in the streetwear world! Yeezy, the must-have sneaker for urban fashion addicts, is an invaluable branch of the sportswear giant.
Kanye West x Adidas

Daring, different, but above all controversial, the brand, like its creator, is always at the center of attention! One thing is for sure, the limited edition Yeezy Sneakers are Kanye's claim to fame, and a big part of his success as a designer.

Do you know how Kanye West's Yeezy sneakers got off the ground? Do you want to know the juicy details behind the scenes? If so, we urge you to read on. You won't miss anything about the rise of Yeezy!

History and origin of Yeezy sneakers

Since his early days, Kanye has made his interest in the fashion industry clear! He says he was the type to doodle sneaker sketches in class.

The American rapper didn't wait long to get out of his field, but let's just say it didn't work the first time. Or the second...

It is only after a series of unfortunate attempts that he finally found his way. It was Adidas, the famous German brand, that gave him the means to fulfill his ambitions.

Kanye West's footwear debut

Kanye has dabbled in fields other than music, including business and film, but what he was really passionate about was fashion and streetwear. In 2006, after winning a Grammy for his album Late Registration, he decided to fully commit to it. Kanye set out to launch his own clothing brand, Pastelle.
Kanye set out to launch his own clothing brand, Pastelle

The anecdote is that at that time, he had created a design for Adidas that never saw the light of day! No one knew that he would be touring the big brands, but it would be with them that his Yeezy sneakers would reach their full potential.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves! For now, we are in 2009, and Kanye West abandons his initial project that does not take. He drops the idea of starting his own business and decides instead to embark on a series of collaborations with influential names like :

  • Bape: their union is at the origin of the Bapesta College Dropout, retro style sneakers with a teddy bear sticker that refers to his album.

  • Louis Vuitton: with whom he signed up in January 2009. He had his first shoe line released at Paris Fashion Week with them

  • Giuseppe Zanotti: whom he considers his greatest source of inspiration after his internship at Fendi. He keeps saying it: they taught him everything he knows

  • Not to mention Nike and its famous Air Yeezy. This collab has really made his voice heard, and allowed him to assert himself as a modern footwear designer

Kanye and Nike: a one-night stand

We can say that the chance played in his favor for his partnership with Nike! Taking a plane with the brand's general manager, Mark Parker, he took the opportunity to show him his sketches. Needless to say, he was immediately seduced by them, marking the beginning of their collaboration.

The name of the collab, Yeezy, is none other than Kanye's nickname. At the time, it was fashionable for rappers to add the suffix - eezy to their nicknames. Jay-Z had nicknamed him Kanyeezy, Yeezy is just a more appropriate diminutive for a commercial brand.

He was the first celebrity outside of the sports world to work with Nike. It goes without saying that they took great advantage of his designer instincts. A great visionary, he precipitated the Hip-Hop trend for them.

Yet, it was his departure from Nike in 2013 that was the real turning point in his career. Right after the launch of his "Red October" Yeezy 2s Airs (which by the way were so late that they were sold out in February of the following year) he decided to step down.

 Airs Yeezy 2s " Red October "

The case was controversial because, according to him, he did not receive royalties for his projects with the brand. After the birth of North, being a father and wanting to keep the artistic ownership of his designs, he could not afford it.

The last straw was that he felt he wasn't valued enough. For a star who exploded their sales, he found it inconceivable that high ranking people at Nike would say they didn't understand the success of his Yeezy sneakers. With a snap of his fingers, he dropped everything and moved on.

Kanye and Adidas: an amazing duo!

We can say that Kanye West has not been idle after this incident! In the same year, he received offers from Puma and Adidas, the biggest competitors of the American sports brand.

With the promise of more freedom than at Nike, and a substantial pay raise, his choice was quickly made for Adidas. He contacted the German sportswear brand, and they signed his contract in December 2013. Kanye would take his Yeezy sneaker concept to shine under new skies.

Thanks to his manager's strings, he would have earned royalties of nearly 15% with Adidas in 2016: far more than Jordan was making with Nike! A great deal for the converted rapper. Beyond the financial aspect, Kanye felt more comfortable with them. He is super grateful to the CEO of Adidas who gave him the opportunity to create something of value according to his own vision, to build a fundamental pillar in Athleisure.

After 2 years of creative hustle and bustle, the Yeezy Season 1, so long awaited by the fans, was finally available. A bunch of celebrities like Rihanna and Kim Kardashian attended the launch of the Yeezy Boost 750 sneakers in New York.

 Yeezy Season 1

It was shown live in more than 50 theaters worldwide. Even the press had positive feedback! After so many years, Kanye finally had his moment of glory, and what was to come was even more promising!

Yeezy: a success signed by Kanye West

The switch from the Nike Swoosh to the Adidas three stripes went like clockwork. It was a win-win alliance, more popularity for Kanye, and a revival and rejuvenation for the sportswear brand.

The worldwide success of Yeezy sneakers

Even though Kanye West puts a lot of effort into apparel products, and a lot of big fashion figures see it as a hyper-trendy abstract concept, there's no denying it: it's Yeezy sneakers that are in the spotlight. They are coveted all over the world, the global reference in athleisure and urban fashion.

 Yeezy Season 1 boost 750

Its sneakers are as comfortable for everyday use as for intensive sports. For soccer, rugby, basketball, or simply to play it, they are approved fashion accessories! Finally, the NBA would not agree with the 3M reflective material of its brand, but that's another story...

What attracts most to Yeezy sneakers, beyond the controversies and criticisms, are the authenticity and originality of its designs. Workaholic and perfectionist, every detail counts in Kanye's creations. He has made them the "Lamborghini of sneakers" as he likes to say.

Avant-garde and very aware of the latest trends, no novelty escapes him. Yeezy are the first to have launched the trend "Dad shoes", well before the famous Triple S of Balenciaga which claims to hold this title.

His looks and styles are the most influential of the moment, and the most sought after by fans eager for new designs from the whimsical diva. With his bold sketches, he has been able to impose his dominance and even inspire smaller brands like Allbirds.

The marketing genius of Kanye West

As anarchic and chaotic as he is, Kanye West knows how to create a buzz. In addition to being one of the 10 most influential designers of the last 10 years, he's also a born marketer. He scoops his ideas while dropping teasers that entice his audience's curiosity. He also has a knack for unveiling them when you least expect it!

Years after he started to apply it, we finally cracked his magic formula, the secret of Yeezy: sneaker exclusivity. Typically, the same scenario happens every time: he produces an extremely limited quantity and stocks dry up in no time.

With Adidas, its limited editions of Yeezy sneakers sell for astronomical amounts of money. The initial launch of the first model, the Yeezy Boost 750s, included only 9,000 units, and they were available strictly through a smartphone app. After 10 minutes (surprise, surprise), there were none left! Ditto for the Boost 350s, which evaporated in less than an hour, even though it was 6am in some countries!

According to experts, his collection would be one of the most valuable in footwear. The rarity of the models and their lightning sale multiplies the value of Yeezy sneakers. Each shoe signed by Kanye becomes automatically a unique, timeless and timeless piece, no matter how many models will come after or how many times it will be revisited. Even though the basic price of the cheapest sneakers hovers between $200 and $500, it easily reaches triple digits on resale. The Yeezy Boost 750 in Triple Black would be estimated at 1876 dollars!

Yeezy Boost 750 Triple Black

The limited edition is far from the only trick Kanye has up his sleeve. He has an asset that many don't: his popularity on the networks. He escalates the tension until it's unbearable. Everything from sneak peeks of his upcoming sneakers to the actual previews he does at major fashion events are calculated to get people talking.

His secret weapon is Kim Kardashian who never stops promoting Yeezy sneakers to her millions of followers. Let's not forget that she wore the Yeezy Season 6 everywhere she went for almost a week. Nor the master stroke, when Paris Hilton imitated the poses of her former best friend to promote the new collection of Kanye.

How much is Yeezy valued at?

Lately, Kanye has been gaining confidence. He says he's become a billionaire from the sale of his Yeezy sneakers, and that the brand's value is reaching $1.5bn in 2019, and growing! He insists that he has made more money than Jordan at Nike, making him the highest paid person in footwear.

Kanye West forbes

After Kylie Jenner's gaffe with Forbes, which had finally declared her wrongly the youngest woman billionaire, better not believe everything that is said! Obviously, Adidas refuses to comment on this. Those in the know doubt that these figures are accurate, and claim that Kanye is exaggerating.

That said, all these stories do not reduce his merit. Even if he rounds up his income a bit too much, the success of Yeezy sneakers is undeniable.

Top 3 best Yeezy sneakers

There are so many models of Adidas Yeezys sneakers, it's hard to choose. Each one has its own unique charm.

With multitudes of covers, and a rich color palette, we had to pick the sneakers that have made the biggest impact on the streetwear world. Our three finalists are:

Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2

Still with the same aggressive shape and low cut of the Boost 350, the 2nd edition was more successful than the first. Kanye offers the perfect combo of impeccable design and trendy colors. The Beluga 2.0, Blue Tint and Zebra variations have generated the most sales.

The intrigue persists regarding the SPLY-350 side writing on these Yeezy sneakers. Far from being gibberish, two theories about it hold up :

  • It would mean for some Supply - referring to the army supplies, which fits perfectly with the military theme of Yeezy, which is sold on
  • For others, it means "Saint Pablo Loves You", inspired by the track Saint Pablo from the rapper's album The Life Of Pablo.

Adidas Yeezy Boost 700

The new Yeezys are just as stylish and imposing. The Yeezy Boost 700 Salt are the best example.
Yeezy Boost 700 Salt

We especially picked them up because of the mix of colors and finely chosen textile. Suede, leather and 3M reflective, dyed in dirty white and grey make up one of the best Yeezy sneakers we've seen.

Adidas Yeezy 700 V3

We all dream of owning a pair of Yeezy 700 V3 Azael! Kanye has gone beyond modern times and is heading straight into the future with the visionary design of these sneakers.

Adidas Yeezy 700 V3

The only common point of Kanye's sneakers was the famous Boost technology of Adidas. Azael escapes this rule: it is the only one without it! Hers is made of encapsulated PU and EVA to increase its longevity.

Other novelties are to be expected very soon. The Fall 2020 collection will be full of surprises. We do not have the exact date of the launch, but we already start to have teasers of Yeezy 2020 sneakers!

For the distant future, we feel that Yeezy intends to become more eco-friendly. Already using less leather, Kanye revealed that he wanted to create sneakers made of seaweed that would be entirely biodegradable! He is thinking of making shoes that decompose over time, or instantly if exposed to a certain bacteria.

In the end, it's the mentality of Yeezy and Adidas that makes them streetwear giants. They focused their efforts on the brand name and its notoriety rather than boosting sales just to maximize their profits. These are the values that make it a reference in urban fashion.

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