June 9, 2012 — The fateful day that Ye released the successor of his signature shoe with Nike, the Air Yeezy 2. Knowing what we know now, it’s hard to believe that at the time Ye’s entrance onto the sneaker scene was hardly perceived with acclaim. Despite the fact that Ye has been a longtime trendsetter in a multitude of industries, his early days as a designer were met with a tinge of skepticism. While the initial Nike Air Yeezy was iconic in its own right, this sneaker didn’t turn heads as one would anticipate, leaving us completely unprepared for the frenzy that was caused by the Nike Air Yeezy 2.
The Nike Air Yeezy 2 felt momentous not just for its impact on sneaker culture, but for fashion at large. The revolutionary sneaker refined its predecessor by slimming down the silhouette and adding audacious details and conceptual elements. Coming in colorways of “Solar Red” and “Pure Platinum,” the Nike Air Yeezy 2 incorporated Egyptian mythology with intricacies like hieroglyphics, pyramids, and the falcon deity Horus. The rear overlay featured anaconda scaled-leather that complemented the silhouette’s monstrous ridges that extended off the back of the heel. With the attention to detail and finishing touches like the glow-in-the-dark outsole, the Nike Air Yeezy 2 made a statement in any space.
With June 9, 2022 marking the 10th Anniversary of the Nike Air Yeezy 2 release, Nice Kicks looks back at 10 memorable moments from the sneaker’s history. Check out the countdown below and follow @NiceKicksVault on Instagram for more deep dives and archives.
1. Kanye West and the Nike Air Yeezy 2 make an appearance in the short film, “Kobe Bryant is the Black Mamba.”
In one of the sneaker’s first appearances ever, Kanye West, AKA “The Boss,” is briefly seen wearing the Nike Air Yeezy 2 as he challenges the Black Mamba to a game of Basketball.
2. Ye debuts the Nike Air Yeezy 2 at Coachella.
Kanye confirmed the Nike Air Yeezy 2 speculations by debuting the sneaker at his iconic 2011 Coachella performance.
3. Kanye reveals an additional colorway of the Nike Air Yeezy 2 at the 2011 MTV VMAs.
For the first time ever we got a look at the Nike Air Yeezy 2 “Pure Platinum.” Ye also sported this sneaker while performing “Otis” with Jay-Z.
4. The Nike Air Yeezy 2 takes on the Watch The Throne Tour.
The Watch The Throne tour began in October of 2011 and wrapped up just after the Nike Air Yeezy 2 officially released in June 2012. Throughout the tour both Ye and Jay-Z were spotted wearing the sneaker, which continued to build momentum for its eventual drop date.
5. Release day recap at Next Cleveland.
The nostalgia hits extra hard with this one. A release day recap from Next Cleveland shows lucky shoppers picking up their pairs of the Nike Air Yeezy 2.
6. CNN covered the Nike Air Yeezy 2 release and reported the sneaker as “the most anticipated shoe ever.”
By now it was officially Yeezy season as the the Nike Air Yeezy 2 took the world by storm. Pairs were already being resold on eBay for an upwards of $90,000 at the time of release. Sneakerhead culture was in its final stages of transitioning from being a niche community to a force in fashion and pop-culture.
7. Nike Air Yeezy 2 trivia appears on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.
Once again Kanye West continued to tally up his cultural relevance as the Nike Air Yeezy 2 inspired a trivia question on ABC’s hit game show, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.
8. Kim Kardashian is spotted wearing the Nike Air Yeezy 2.
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian had started dating in 2011 but were keeping their relationship relatively lowkey. Kim’s style slowly started to change but by June 2012, it was apparent that Yeezy taught her as she headed to the airport in the Nike Air Yeezy 2 “Solar Red.”
9. Kanye West appears in 2 Chainz’s “Birthday Song” music video wearing the Nike Air Yeezy 2.
Just months after the sneaker’s release, Kanye West partied with 2 Chainz in the Nike Air Yeezy 2 “Solar Red” for the “Birthday Song” video. Around the same time, behind-the-scenes photos revealed that Ye wore the Nike Air Yeezy 2 “Pure Platinum” on the set of Fat Joe’s “Pride N Joy” music video.
10. Nate Robinson wears the Nike Air Yeezy 2 while playing against the San Antonio Spurs.
Yeezy was on its way to jump over the Jumpman and in an ironic collide, Chicago Bulls player Nate Robinson balled against the San Antonio Spurs in 2013 while wearing the Nike Air Yeezy 2 “Solar Red.”