THE DEFINITIVE RANKING OF KANYE WEST’S SNEAKER COLLABS
Maybe you love him. Maybe you hate him. Maybe you think he’s a genius. Maybe you think he’s a blithering idiot.
Yes, we’re talking about Kanye West here, more specifically the shoes that he’s designed. His influence reaches far and wide over the sneaker landscape, and every single shoe that he’s put out has sold out almost instantly. There’s few others that have the level of sway (YOU AIN’T GOT THE ANSWERS!!!) Yeezy has in the sneaker game, and as so, it’s only right that we rank his sneaker collabs (no boots on this list), from worst to best. We’ll even provide a little background info on each shoe for those who might not know their stories. Keep in mind we’re ranking the individual models, not their specific colorways. Let’s get it!
10. Reebok S. Carter CL Low
First shoe, worst shoe. Remember Jay Z’s S. Carter Reeboks? Didn’t think so. Back in the 00’s streetwear was all about bold and bright colors and that combined with patent leather … yuck. This shoe is a reminder that even legendary creatives like Kanye don’t hit the nail on the head every time with their designs.
9. Louis Vutton Mr. Hudson
The LV “Mr. Hudson”, named after G.O.O.D. Music signee Mr. Hudson took all the accents a classic high-end loafer was known for and added the heavily padded heel Kanye threw on all his LV collabs along with a flamboyant colorway that was in tune with his preppy style at the time. These haven’t aged as well as most of the other models on this list in terms of wearability, but are still a unique and highly collectable shoe.
8. Nike Air 180 “College Dropout”
Did you know that this Air 180 was Kanye West’s first ever sneaker project? Have you ever even seen these before? A whimsical mishmash of colors and patterns (a well-done nod to Kanye’s personal style at the time) and Dropout Bear branding on the tongue and insole make for a very solid (if not groundbreaking) first sneaker project.
7. Nike Air Yeezy 1
Few shoes threw the sneaker world into more of a frenzy in the late 00’s than the Air Yeezy 1. When Kanye debuted a sample colorway at the 2008 Grammys (and performed a heartfelt rendition of Hey Mama to honor his recently deceased mother), sneakerheads went crazy, and when the shoe released in 09′ it was absolute pandemonium. The shoe managed to build on what Kanye had accomplished with Louis Vutton but step away into new and uncharted territory at the same time. Although it’s not nearly as groundbreaking today as it was when it released, you’ve still gotta respect the impact the Yeezy 1 had on the sneaker game as a whole.
6. Bapesta FS “Dropout Bear”
Right time, right place. Kanye collaborated with Bape for this “Dropout Bear” colorway of their classic Bapesta at the height of the Bape craze in the mid 00’s. Although not as innovative as his later releases, when two movers and shakers in street culture come together to create something dope, you’ve got to pay homage, and a classic album combined with a classic shoe silhouette is a winner in our book.
5. Adidas Yeezy Boost 750
Kanye’s first signature model with Adidas garnered mixed reviews when the first images released, but the hysteria surrounding it was just as real as it had been with any of his other releases, and now the 750 has firmly established its place in street culture. Although some may say they look like an overdone cross between a sneaker and a boot, it’s really a clean high top with no branding that looks like it could have come from one of the high-end designers that Kanye draws inspiration from.
4. Louis Vuitton Jasper
Named after Kanye’s barber and good friend IBN Jasper, Kanye’s final collab sneaker with Louis Vuitton was everything a luxury high-top sneaker should be, with a super-premium suede and leather and the first sighting of the large straps that would go on to be placed on several of his other signature models.
3. Louis Vutton Don
The Hudson was named after Mr. Hudson. The Jasper was named after IBN Jasper. Give yourself ten points if you figured out that the Don was named after Don C, he of luxury snakeskin-brim strap back fame. The design is fairly straightforwards compared to the other two sneakers Kanye designed with LV, but sometimes simplicity is key….and this was the first sneaker Kanye released in the infamous all-red colorway, which has since changed the sneaker world.
2. Yeezy Boost 350
This minimal (one piece Primeknit upper) and comfortable (full length Boost foam) low-top sneaker is everything that’s right about sneaker design in 2016. It takes a trend and pushes it forwards (remember when people used to say it looked like a glorified Roshe? They’re quiet now) while remaining true to the designer’s core aesthetic. What more can you ask for? Every colorway released so far has been a hit, and the recently-released V2’s keep it rolling. Some of Ye’s best work to date.
1. Nike Air Yeezy 2
Nothing else could have taken the top spot. You could find several people that would argue the hype surrounding the Yeezy 2 catapulted the sneaker game’s popularity skyward. From 2012 when the first two colorways dropped to 2014 when the “Red Octobers” finally released, there was no more popular shoe on the market. The shoe would be #1 based on its pure cultural impact alone, but the design (an Air Tech Challenge 2 sole combined with a technical mesh toe box and reptilian-textured paneling) stands up to the test of time and still looks just as fresh today as it did back when the shoe originally dropped. #1 with a bullet.
How would you rank Kanye’s shoes? Did we get it right, or would your order be different? Hit us up on Twitter or Facebook and let us know, and be sure to follow us on Instagram for all the dope photos you can handle!