BAPE to adidas: The History of Yeezy Sneakers

From design outsider to fashion mainstay, how Kanye West changed sneaker culture forever.

WRITER: IAN STONEBROOK
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In the year 2000, a relatively unknown beat-maker named Kanye West became the go-to producer for the powerhouse Roc-A-fella Records.

Similarly, Kanye’s ability to produce smash hits for the likes of A Bathing Ape, Louis Vuitton, Nike and adidas defines his ability to trailblaze and redefine the meaning of signature sneakers.

With the help of fellow sneaker trailblazer and industry veteran Steven Smith (notable for cult designs, including the New Balance 997, Reebok InstaPump Fury and elusive Hello Kitty x Nike Air Presto) the Yeezy design team created innovative and influential silhouettes, such as the Yeezy 700 and Yeezy Foam Runner.

The two first met in 2016 when West flew Smith out to New York during the 'Saint Pablo' tour.

While on stage, West took a moment to acknowledge Smith joining the Yeezy team, stopping the show to proclaim, "I got the master futurist—right there. He and I are going to fuck shit up and show you stuff from the future."

Today the line is a staple in the global sneaker community, a notion Kanye West and adidas commemorated with Yeezy Day 2021, a one-day event celebrating all things Yeezy with new releases, restocks and more.  Held on August 02, 2021, explore Kanye West’s sneaker history as we break down essential standouts from the Yeezy catalog.

HISTORY OF YEEZY