A Look At Kanye West’s Sneaker Journey: Throwback Thursday

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Kanye West is arguably the most influential figure in the sneaker industry today. While plenty of people will continue to argue against that notion, his uncanny ability to sway the market in his favor is downright spooky and awe-inspiring. Such is seen with his latest venture through adidas hitting retailers this weekend in the form of the adidas Yeezy 350 Boost.

In fact, we devoted an entire Nice Kicks Throwback Thursday episode in which we document Kanye’s elaborate sneaker journey throughout the course of his iconic career.

After the video above, slide through the page below view Mr.West’s stellar footwear journey.

Young ‘Ye

Rumor has it that Kanye West has always been forward thinking in his profound claims of his rarified talent. Hailing from Chicago, Kanye would begin to make waves throughout the music industry during the late ’90s as he’d provide ancillary work for Bad Boy Records and noted producer D-Dot. Continuing to bolster his respective catalog, Kanye would begin to work with Roc-A-Fella records during the early 2000s in which he garnered placement on Jay-Z’s monumental The Blueprint album. With his star on the rise, Kanye West had dreams of solo stardom rather than playing second-fiddle behind the boards.

Creative Control: KANYE WEST “OTHER OTHER BENZ” from Creative Control on Vimeo.

College Dropout

Fast forward nearly three years later and Kanye West made his solo debut with his debut LP entitled, The College Dropout. Making light of his collegiate shortcomings, this album would cement Kanye as a viable industry superstar, as well as kick off his sneaker design debut, no pun intended.

Distributed only to friends and family, Kanye and Nike partnered to unveil the Nike Air Max 180 “College Dropout” in which this nostalgic model took on an eclectic design featuring animal print and black hues throughout the upper.

2008 Grammy Performance

After two niche retail releases with BAPE and Reebok, Mr. West gave the world a glimpse of what he had in store with Nike during the 2008 Grammy’s. With the recent passing of his Mother, Donda West, Kanye provide a memorable performance in which he sang his hit “Hey Mama,” along with sporting a prototype of the highly anticipated Nike Air Yeezy 1.

Featuring a mostly dark aesthetic, this model would fused accents of black and grey throughout upper and outsole.

Louis Vuitton Venture

Although the growing sentiment is Kanye’s venture with Louis Vuitton was his introduction into the sneaker world, that’s not entirely true. However, during 2009, building upon his remarkable Grammy performance honoring his mother, Kanye and Louis Vuitton unveiled three distinct silhouettes in which ‘Ye lent his artistic talents.

Featuring the “Don,” “Hudson” and “Jasper” models, these silhouettes would pay homage to his close friends as well as take the high-fashion world by storm and further cement Kanye’s status within the sneaker marketplace.

Kanye & Nike

With the release of the Nike Air Yeezy 1, it was easy to see how Kanye’s innovative designs could influence the industry. However, it wasn’t until the second silhouette and second iteration of the Nike Air Yeezy lineage in which ‘Ye’s impact could be felt exponentially with the release of the Nike Air Yeezy 2.

Extrapolating features from a variety of notable Nike models such as the Nike Air Tech Challenge II, the “Red October” colorway sported a tonal “infrared” type of hue in which every entertainer, ballplayer and sneakerhead alike went to extreme lengths to procure a pair.

New Beginnings: adidas Partnership

After disputes in which Kanye felt as though his creativity and business acumen were being stifled to an extent, the stellar artist made the lateral switch to adidas in which he set out to develop his own signature line under the Three Stripes insignia.

With the initial debut of the adidas Yeezy 750 Boost being unveiled during Grammy Weekend, ‘Ye’s adidas signature line has already garnered exponential mass appeal as a variety of celebrities have been spotted in the model such as his wife Kim Kardashian, label mate and artist Big Sean, and others.

Going forward, it’ll be interesting to continue to witness Kanye grow and evolve as a designer and entertainer, nonetheless, if we judge off of his past work – the sky is the limit for ‘Ye.

Select Images via People Magazine, Sole Collector and Just Jared

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