There is no denying the global influence that Kanye West has. Whether it’s in music or in fashion, Yeezus’ is a muse for many around the world. His style has even garnered multiple fan accounts, giving fans a back catalogue of Yeezy outfits. Over the past two decades, Kanye has become a hot topic for brands to work with, covering everyone from Nike to Louis Vuitton. Of course, that also means that he has been rocking a number of exclusive sneakers along the way.
As you would expect with a man who’s fame is known around the world, Kanye has never had any problems rocking the latest sneakers. Sometimes, the man even starts sneaker trends. After all, the man is single-handedly responsible for kickstarting the adidas Ultra Boost hype. With Kanye West announcing his candidacy for President of the United States, we thought we’d take a look at some of his best sneaker moments.
It’s been an interesting ride for Kanye in recent years, but his sneakers have always been a talking point in the community. We’re going to showcase 10 of Kanye’s best sneaker moments, picking some of the best o the internet. Without further delay, let’s take a closer look at the best sneakers Kanye has worn.
Nike Air Max 90 “Independence Day” (2013)
Back when Kanye was still Team Nike, the rapper was given access to some of the most sought after sneakers the brand had to offer. As a key figure in Nike’s early non-athlete programme, Kanye was spotted sporting limited edition sneakers all the time. However, one moment, in particular, stands out for us here at KLEKT. In 2013, Kanye was spotted rocking the Nike Air Max 90 “Independence Day” in the eye-catching red colourway.
Released as a three Quickstrike pack, the Air Max 90 “Independence Day” came in three colourways reminiscent of the American flag: red, white and blue. The combination of hyperfuse mesh in an all-red finish made the sneakers a big hit for Yeezy fans. Featuring a small USA flag on the tongue, Kanye kickstarted the hype around this limited-edition sneaker. When the sneakers eventually released, they sold out almost immediately. The resale prices quickly topped €1,000 and took months to eventually drop (the Kanye effect.)
Maison Martin Margiela Future (2013)
Shortly after denouncing Nike, Kanye West started the Yeezus Tour. His love, or lack thereof, for Nike was made extremely public. In fact, Kanye was so upset by Nike’s decision to not credit or pay him for his work that he enlisted Ricardo Tisci of Maison Martin Margiela to design his entire wardrobe for the Yeezus Tour. In Tisci’s own words, West was given “10 couture pieces, 20 ready-to-wear pieces and an ’exclusive’ pair of trainers.”
Kanye West wearing Margiela became a fashion moment. The rapper was in dressed in head to toe Margiela, something that very few people on the planet can even get away with. However, the sneakers were the main talking point. Rocking the Maison Martin Margiela Future, Kanye had access to a number of colourways, including a pony hair version. It’s safe to say that Kanye’s love of MMM helped push his own designing even further, quickly joining adidas after the Yeezus Tour was over.
adidas Ultra Boost “Triple White” (2015)
Kanye West joining adidas is still arguably one of the biggest things to happen in sneaker history. After working with Nike for five years, the rapper had decided that enough was enough. After a highly successful sneaker release in February 2015, it was safe to say that the decision worked out well for both Kanye and adidas. Just as he had done for Nike, Kanye had created sneaker trends based on what the brand had to offer. One night in May that same year, Kanye would start a brand new sneaker craze.
Taking to the Billboard Music Awards stage, Kanye performed two songs. The music, however, wasn’t the key point of focus. Wearing a never before seen adidas silhouette, fans of Kanye wear quick to start scouring the Internet to find out what it was. It would be found and the sneaker name spread: adidas Ultra Boost. Taking adidas’ pioneering Boost technology, the Ultra Boost featured a white Primeknit upper and a comfortable sole. Five years later, this is still one of Kanye’s best sneaker moments.
Kanye West Louis Vuitton Don (2010)
By 2010, Kanye West had become a global superstar. His affiliation with brands like BAPE, as well as his love of Nike, had earned him a seat at the design table. Arguably his most overlooked collaboration of all time, however, is his Louis Vuitton. Revealed by Yeezus in a blog post in 2009, Kanye explained that “guess whose got two thumbs and just signed a shoe deal with Louis Vuitton? This guy!” Of all the designs to release, however, the Louis Vuitton Don was the most memorable.
After 2009’s infamous controversy with Taylor Swift, there was a lot of talk about how Kanye West would be. Performing his hit song “Runaway,” Kanye made sure that he was the key focus in his daring outfit. Taking to the stage in an all-red suit accompanied by his red Louis Vuitton Dons, Kanye had truly left his mark on VMAs history. Now, over a decade later, Kanye West Louis Vuitton sneakers sell for thousands. It’s easy to see why.
Nike Air Yeezy I Prototype (2008)
2008 was an extremely difficult year for Kanye West. Having lost his mother in 2007, the rapper was going through some tough times. During his 2008 Grammy performance, the clearly emotional musician performed “Hey Mama.” Rising to the occasion and making his mother proud, Kanye was spotted in an all-black ensemble. However, it was what was on Kanye’s feet that really got the fashion and sneaker worlds talking.
Rocking a never before seen pair of Nike’s, sneakerheads around the world spent days trying to find out what the sneaker was. Eventually, news emerged that it was in fact a Nike Air Yeezy prototype made exclusively for Kanye. The all-black leather high top featured a glow in the dark sole and combined elements from the Air Tech Challenge II. It would take another year for the Nike Air Yeezy line to release, but this shoe got Kanye’s relationship with Nike off to a great start. For that reason alone, this is one of Kanye’s greatest sneaker moments.
adidas Yeezy Boost 750 “Light Brown”
Is it ever an award show without some Kanye West drama? Exactly seven years after storming the stage for the same argument with Taylor Swift, Kanye was back once again. In 2015, Kanye West made headlines yet again for almost interrupting Beck during his acceptance speech for Album of the Year. Kanye made his feelings known later that evening, explaining that he felt Beck should have given the Grammy to Beyoncé. Although the interruption was a talking point, so was Kanye’s post-performance outfit.
In typical Kanye fashion, Yeezus revealed the the adidas Yeezy Boost 750. Bearing a striking similarity to the Nike Air Yeezys, many were left unconvinced if Kanye was a one trick pony when it came to sneaker designs. However, that didn’t stop from the hype being ignited. Not only did he debut the adidas Yeezys to the world, he also showed Nike that he was moving forward. Paired with a maroon velvet tracksuit and a simple gold chain, this is one of Kanye’s most historic sneaker moments.
Nike Air Yeezy II “Red October” (2013)
By 2013, Nike and Kanye West’s sneakers were becoming some of the most sought after on the planet. After the extremely limited release of the Nike Air Yeezy II in 2012, sneakerheads were left wanting more of the Kanye Nikes. However, it didn’t seem that there were any plans to release more. That was until the 2013 Governor’s Ball in New York City when Kanye took to the stage in an all-red pair of the highly coveted sneaker.
Unlike previous Nike Yeezys, this all-red pair used different materials entirely. The pair quickly gained the nickname of “Red Octobers”, a name that has since become synonymous with Kanye West. It’s all-red construction and made the Red October Yeezy 2s instantly recognisable. When Kanye’s relationship turned sour with Nike, many feared that the Red Octobers would never see the light of day. However, Nike put things in their own hands, shock dropping the sneaker on February 9th, 2014.
adidas Yeezy Boost 350 “Turtle Dove” (2015)
2015 was a landmark year for Kanye West and adidas. Since the two announced their relationship in 2014, sneakerheads had been left waiting to see what was to come. After the release of the adidas Yeezy Boost 750, many critics questioned whether adidas Yeezys would be any different to Nikes. The similar aesthetic left a lot of people underwhelmed by Kanye’s decision to leave Nike. That was, however, until the world saw a new Yeezy silhouette.
Dubbed the adidas Yeezy Boost 350, the sneaker was unlike any other Yeezy released before. For starters, it was a low top sneaker, something Kanye had not done before. It meant that it was a lot more wearable than previous Yeezy shoes, making it an option for the everyday. Furthermore, the combination of a simple black and white Primeknit upper meant that it could also be paired with any outfit. All of this only added to the mass appeal that the 350s had. There’s no question that this is one of Kanye’s greatest sneaker moments.
Air Jordan 1 “Bred” (2010)
Whilst Kanye West wearing Jordan’s may seem like an odd thing to see, it was a regular occurrence towards the end of the 2000s. Just like any native Chicagoan, West would have grown up watching Michael Jordan and the Bulls. It seems perfectly normal to think that a guy out of the Windy City would have a connection to the greatest basketball player of all time. Sporting the Air Jordan 1 “Bred” during Paris Fashion Week 2010, Kanye showed that high-end fashion and athletic sneakers could be a thing.
The unlikely combination of a black blazer and T-shirt paired with some leather pants and a pair of Bred 1s may sound crazy, but somehow it works. Spotted wearing the bold ensemble before the Louis Vuitton show, Kanye showed off his love of Jordans by picking arguably the most iconic colourway to ever release. Nowadays, Yeezy may be trying to jump over Jumpman, but a decade ago he was wearing His Airness’ signature kicks.
Nike Air Yeezy II “Solar Red” (2011)
In 2011, Kanye West and Jay-Z released their critically acclaimed album Watch the Throne. Instantly gaining recognition around the world, the collaborative project saw the Yeezus and Hove drop one of the most memorable albums in hip-hop. As you would expect, Kanye and Jay went on to tour the album around the world, creating a massive amount of hype wherever they went. Of course, this also meant that Kanye debuted his upcoming Nike Air Yeezy sneaker.
Spotted multiple times throughout the tour, the Nike Air Yeezy II was a big hit. Unlike the previous Nike Yeezy’s, the design was completely new, taking reference from Egypt and using animal-like patterns. This striking combination of bold design and features such as a glow in the dark sole only helped to sell the sneaker to the community. Unveiled during the Watch the Throne tour, this is without a doubt one of Kanye’s greatest sneakers.
That concludes our list of the best shoes that Kanye has worn. As you can see, the rapper has rocked a number of great sneakers. However, the best Kanye sneaker moments for us are the ones that have remained historical. From rocking Red Octobers to unveiling Louis Vuitton collabs, Kanye West’s sneakers have always been a big talking point in the community. As the 43-year-old rapper only grows in his sneaker empire, we can’t wait to see what else is in store.