LeBron Imma Let You Finish, But Kanye Has The Greatest Nikes Of All Time

Is that anaconda skin? (Yes. Though it’s technically made from a cow.)

Most people won’t want to admit that Kanye West has changed the world, but the 2009 Air Yeezy was the first Nike shoe endorsed by a celebrity rather than a pro athlete. It was a honking big boot of a high top meant for form just a bit over function (that top strap probably weighed more than some of Nike’s running shoes!), but it was a shoe that fit a new kind of purpose for the company: to stand up to the antics of the most unpredictable character in hip hop.


Since 2009, Kanye has actually mellowed out–there haven’t been any more rants on Bush or Taylor Swift interruptions. (And who among us hasn’t had cell-phone shots of their junk leaked?) Even Watch the Throne is about as traditional as hip hop albums get, but his shoes haven’t backed down on personality. The newly announced Air Yeezy II hit store shelves June 9th, and by the 9th, these limited edition kicks will likely be sold out forever.

Just as I could never properly paraphrase the words or rhymes of Kanye, I’ll let Nike’s copywriter take center stage for this rundown:

A primal, tactile approach to technology runs throughout every element of the Nike Air Yeezy II. Armored animalistic forms imbue the upper. Hand skived anaconda textured leather quarter panels are embellished with a debossed Vac-Tech Nike Swoosh. The molded rear is sculpted with a reptilian inspired spike, while an engineered strap with scaled down spikes was developed to offer a greater sense of symmetry and [ed: love] lock down.

It’s like an ’80s running shoe mated with a European man bag, with a similar design to but more overt texture than the original Yeezy. Apparently the shoe has a snugger fit than the original Yeezy, too, tailored to Kanye West’s own foot, which I sure hope is shaped something like mine, rather than surgically shaped to leave KANYE prints on the beach.

In other words, just like Kanye, the Air Yeezy II is a step too obnoxious to take in public. And I totally love them both for that.

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started, a simple way to give back every day.