At this moment, Yeezys are the most sought-after sneakers in the world. In fact, last year, GQ called Yeezys the most “influential sneaker of 2016.” With each release, the Kanye West-designed sneakers sell out online in minutes, and resellers put up pairs of Yeezys for thousands of dollars.
If you’re new to sneaker culture, you’re probably thinking: What’s the big deal with Yeezy sneakers? Why are they so hyped? Or, even, who makes Yeezy sneakers?
From their exclusiveness, to their unique trend-setting design, the feverish Yeezy following hasn’t been seen since Air Jordans first came on the scene decades ago. There are numerous aspects of the Yeezy sneaker — i.e. a collaborative design process, proprietary materials, super-limited production runs — that make these currently the world’s most sought-after shoe.
Who Designs Yeezys?
Yeezys refers to adidas (or Nike) sneakers designed in collaboration with Kanye West. Originally, Kanye had partnered with Nike, but the rapper split with Nike in 2014 due to a royalty dispute and him wanting to have more creative control over the design.
Since joining adidas, Kanye has served as chief designer for the sneaker. This collaboration, for example, is different than most athlete/celebrity and shoe company partnerships, because West has almost complete creative control in the design process.
For adidas, West designs clothing and sneakers, which are released under the umbrella of the Yeezy Supply label. West has complete creative control. West created the unique Yeezy silhouettes, chose the bold colorways, and signed off on other unique materials.
People have taken notice too. The latest Yeezy sneakers — Yeezy BOOST 350 and 350 Boost v2 — have been praised for their unique design. Featuring unique knit-top patterns and bold, yet simple colorways, the Yeezys may be the most fashionable running shoe in the world. They’ve even inspired imitators. For example, Steve Madden’s Baldwin sneakers share a striking resemblance to the BOOST 350 line-up.
Since partnering with adidas, the Yeezy sneakers’ design has become much more minimalistic. Nike Air Yeezy collaborations, for instance, like the ultra-rare Red Octobers, feature many pieces, intricate design work, and bespoke appointments. The Boost 350 and Boost 750, though, have more classic colorways, and a pared down design aesthetic.
Where Are They Manufactured? By Whom?
Adidas manufactures Yeezy sneakers in their factories in China. In fact, Kanye has talked in the past about going to China to work on new Yeezy models. Overall, the manufacturing process has developed depending on the type of model.
For example, the earliest release, the Boost 750, featured a simplistic manufacturing process, with minimal stitching. With the release of the Boost 350 sneakers, though, adidas had to develop special machining and new processes.
The 350’s unique patterned tops are made from sheets of woven yarn. The large sheets are then cut with a laser machine cuts. Both the Boost 350 and Boost 350 v2 utilize the adidas Primekit technology, which means the entire upper portion of the shoe is made from a single piece of woven yarn. A specialized weaving process ensuring the fabric is both flexible and sturdy.