The shoe of all shoes: the Nike Air Yeezy 2
Look above and behold: the Nike Yeezy Red October, or officially known as Nike Air Yeezy 2 Red October. It was (and perhaps still is) one of the most important shoes of the history of the footwear industry. No, that is not overstating it.
In fact, that status quo comes not only from the shoe itself, the “material product”, but also from what it ultimately represented. The overall and worldwide boom of hype culture, the passage of what was cool and underground to an overwhelming economic and social phenomenon.
Yeezy wasn’t always an adidas fixture. In fact, it was Nike that gave us our first taste of Kanye sneakers. Of course, there were previous efforts. But, Nike claims the one that really made a cultural impact.
After shocking us all to our relative cores, the Nike + Yeezy team came out with the most hotly anticipated follow-up: the Nike Air Yeezy 2. Beyond all of the fanfare – and vitriol – this model is an interesting study all its own.
Image Credit: Nike
It’s in 2012 when Yeezy hype reaches perhaps its most emphatic high. But, the significance of this doesn’t quite hit as hard unless we consider the previous release.
As it turns out, the Air Yeezy 1 was dropped three years prior. Think about that for a second.
Nike gets together with West, releases a sneaker that (somehow) is largely seen as gorgeous by the community and then… makes you wait three years. It’s the sort of excruciating shrewdness that makes Nike the marketing juggernaut that it is.
But, how about the shoe itself? Well, in a word, it’s special. This is when we get a good preview of a few design details that Kanye obsesses over. For example, the midfoot strap. We see that aspect make itself evident on the adidas line, via the 750 BOOST model.
Additionally, the Nike Air Yeezy 2 just brought out the flair we always associate with the artist. One of the first iterations of the Yeezy 2’s involved the use of hieroglyphics and obelisks.
This comes as no surprise from the man who quite literally considers himself a god. Other remarkable design cues involve reptilian spikes on the heel and a shape that is molded specifically to West’s foot.
Image Credit: Flight Club
Though it isn’t a functional shoe by any means, the Nike Air Yeezy 2 found itself on the basketball court a few times. Thanks to features like surprisingly solid traction and Air Zoom cushioning, NBA players like Nate Robinson and PJ Tucker have played pro games in them.
Sure, it was mostly for the purpose of styling on competition, but the fact that it was on a pro basketball court at all matches the wild nature of this design. It was a symbol of someone who did what they want, when they want, simply for the pleasure of it. You can be sure Kanye would identify with this.
After the release of the incredibly popular “Red October” iteration, the Nike Air Yeezy 2 persists as a legend. To this point, all most of us think about are the adidas gems. But, it’s always worth remembering the Swoosh days, when it was all new and we never, ever, saw it coming.
Image Credit (Featured): Sole Collector