June 12, 2012 BY John Kim / 50
The gap between signature shoe 1 and II is most often the widest among all others breaks between volumes. The Air Jordan, Zoom LeBron, and Zoom Kobe, etc. have all withstood that extra distance in the evolutionary jump, with the respective sequel taking on a much more distinct persona of the individual it was designed for. The Air Yeezy, however, is the exception to that rule; the first Yeezy, which officially released back in 2009, had some heavy expectations on its shoulders as it would represent the entire ‘sneakerhead’ constituency into one design. A bulky strap, a mega-high ankle cut, custom-designed lace-locks, an all-over ‘Y’ Yeezy press-mold print, glow-in-the-dark outsoles – it was the perfect sneakerhead’s shoe designed by perhaps the exemplar of the sub-culture in Kanye West. The Air Yeezy is also credited as the first signature shoe for an influential non-athlete, so the finished product was certainly an enticing news story for media outlets outside the bounds of the sneaker culture; the biggest pop culture superstar is getting his own Nike sneaker – this we gotta see.
The public outcry for a sequel followed not much after the mid-2009 release of the Air Yeezy, and since we first spotted it with our own eyes during the February 2011 world premiere of Kobe Bryant’s ‘Black Mamba’ short, the Air Yeezy 2 was a massive ongoing headline over the last sixteen months. The sneaker was kept under heavy wraps, with Kanye himself acting as lone ‘trailer’ as we witnessed him rotate a variety of different colorways on the street and during live musical performances. Eventually (in a long and dragging saga), Nike unveiled the final release information and the Air Yeezy 2 released globally this past Saturday, but what was already considered to be one of the toughest sneaker acquisitions of the year turned out to be much more difficult due to a variety of factors, with many pointing to the overall mainstream movement of ‘sneakers’ being the primary culprit. The landscape of the Air Yeezy 2 release was in clear contrast with the original Air Yeezy release; while many stores – official Nike retailers included – celebrated the momentous Yeezy occasion with themed in-store events, the dangerously high demand and ultra-low supply raised major concerns for Nike and ultimately forced the release to take on a ‘quick and painless’ approach; the Twitter RSVP took center stage (with controversial results) while other stores depended on controlled raffle/lottery arrangements, and a massive chunk of the hungry were left un-fed. The demand remained, and so the resale market value of the Air Yeezy 2 eclipsed that of the original Air Yeezy at its highest point, reaching jaw-dropping amounts in a short period of time.
The design contrast between the Air Yeezy and Air Yeezy 2, displayed in the following gallery, also speaks on Kanye West’s changing tastes in fashion and style, but surely Kanye’s own sneaker obsession played a major role in the design concept as the base of the shoe is shared with one of Nike’s most revered designs – the Air Tech Challenge. Above it is a slimmer, sleeker, and more luxurious build, opting for extravagant tastes like anaconda-skin and intricate details like the hieroglyphics and Horus logo on the tongue. The Air Yeezy 2 certainly met Nike’s fastidious demands of a signature shoe, as the overall design exuded Kanye’s more recent fascination with high-end luxury and fashion and grandiose self-imagery. The Air Yeezy 2 was a clear overlap of the sneakerhead community and the pop-culture/contemporary fashion circles, becoming a must-have item for a much larger population of fashion-forward, but Kanye’s ongoing relationship with Nike, based not only on this release but his participation in Kobe Bryant’s ‘The Kobe System’ ad campaign, will always be on the sneakerhead’s radar – regardless of where (or when) fashion trends evolve. Will there be an Air Yeezy 3? Kanye’s already hinted at that a few months back, but for now, let’s enjoy the Air Yeezy 2 for what it is and see for yourself just how similar and different the Air Yeezy 1 and 2 truly is by flipping through the gallery below.
Filed under: Air Yeezy
These shoes almost remind me of electronics. They make one version and just continuosly upgrade it. When i look at these pictures i do like the 2's more. They seem more futuristic most likely because thats what an upgraded shoe should look like based on the first one. IMO there both nice, but i do prefer the yeezy 2's for now. Who knows maybe in the future i will prefer to get the 1's just like how i wish i never sold my nintendo 64. I miss that thing.
Both shoes are very distinct in their own right, but the design cues are pretty much the exact same. The toe panel is still suede and is still in the same place. The ballistic mesh replaces the perforated upper. The strap, though slimmer and reduced on the YII, is in the same position as before. The heel panels of both shoes rise vertically from the midsole to meet the ankle and are both brought back to a unifying design aspect. In the YI, it was the heel tab. In the YII, it's the speed curves. Both shoes have an elephant-print-esque pattern. Snakeskin replaces the Y's and are placed in the back instead of the front because you can't pattern snakeskin on suede or on the YII's strap. And it doesn't take a genius to know that the a lot of Nike air bubble soles are aesthetically similar in many respects. Even the Horus symbol is in the same place as the lacelock.
Great article SneakerNews! Really shows the details in texture and materials. I love em both; but each has dominating elements. Yeezy II = great sequel and worth the wait.
i honestly like both, i rather have a pair of 1s over a pair of 2s. they are two different types of shoe tho, the Y1 is more basketball built n inspired the Y2 is more casual made. so for what each one truly is they're both good shoes. but i still take 1 over 2
Can we stop talking about these shoes, to be honest I have the yeezy 1 in Zen grey but I am still salty over this unattainable shoe. Just make more, it makes the game better for all of us ...15 years strong in the game! On to the next one.
can someone sell me a pair!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! twitter @p0lod0n or email me email@example.com not looking to pay $2k for these not worth........ so please come correct if your looking to make fast money.......
IIs are my favorite & IMO better than the 1s. There's so much more detail & creativity in the shoe that the 1 doesn't have. All the one has is a Air Jordan 3 midsole & outsole & they basically jocked the whole elephant print but made it it's own. Only thing the Yeezy 2 took from another shoe was the sole. Which I can understand. But from the heel to the toe...the Yeezy 2 is def a better sneaker.
yo i got a pair of the black/solar red sz 10.5 holla at me..... no lowballers!!! ..... firstname.lastname@example.org
YEEZY 1's are way better to me. I have the Zen's and i love them things. They YEEZY 2's were just straight ugly to me. I liked a few small things about them, but overall they were ugly to me. When i heard rumors of the yeezy 2 not too long after the yeezy 1 came out (kanye video in hawaii) i was hype and knew i would cop, but then i seen the pics and it was a fail in my eyes. The shape of them is the major thing i dont like, then the height. And when i seen pics of them in sizes 10 and up, the shoe looks long as hell like a clown shoe. I knew from the jump i was passing on these. This shoe was over hyped to me, but then again what shoe isn't these days
Got the Black/Solar pair here in New Zealand walking in the afternoon of release day..Not a hard cop for me at all
I agree. The Yeezy II are a unique shoe but were built off the success of the Yeezy OG. Anything Kanye stamps his name on will turn gold because of his popularity. As long as he stays relevant, it wont matter what he endorses...we will buy!
i prefer the 1s. just because overall, the shoe is what started it all, not to mention the shoe wasnt just built on pure hype but also for a unique design. the 2s are great, but appear as a mere reduced form of the originals. the 2s are basically for the individuals who werent able to pick up the 1sr pair. but all in all, both models are on equal grounds in terms of overall looks, but with the 1st yeezys slightly ahead, due to it being a modern classic that has broke down many boundaries in our culture.
at first i didnt think that there was that big of a difference from the yeezy 1s and 2s but holy shit there way different and the yeezy 1 is fucking huge