On Kanye’s Air Yeezy 2 And Missed Opportunities

Five years after the break-up that ultimately shook-up the shoe industry

Nike Air Yeezy 2 sketches by designer Nate VanHook

Penned some words for Complex Sneakers on the five year anniversary of the Nike Air Yeezy 2 release and the very public fallout between Kanye and the company. It all seems like a lifetime ago now considering the massive success ‘Ye’s managed to create with the help of adidas. But, what a lot of people may or may not be willing to admit is the rapper’s move to adidas hit the reset button on sneakers. Nike’s still the top dog in terms of value and market, but they don’t dominate the conversation like they once did. It’s all Boost this and Yeezy that. Buyers don’t really give a shit about tech specs or at least they aren’t buying into innovation like they once were, which was largely where Nike leads the market.

That said, Nike arguably hasn’t had any technology or new models that really caught on with the public besides maybe Tech Fleece. Flyknit got washed away in the Ultra Boost wave. All those limited releases only limit themselves to sneakerheads and can be viewed as self-defeating in that sense. Nobody buys basketball shoes. It’s all lifestyle and adidas has that lane locked. If you really think about it, if Kanye never leaves Nike, adidas maybe never has this massive resurgence like they’ve had and we’re also on like the Air Yeezy 7, putting him close to jumping over the Jumpman. That may have happened currently for the Yeezy Boost. Yet, the accomplishment would’ve been more celebrated had it been done with Nike because that’s just how shit is.

There’s a lot more to be said so feel free to go read, share, talk about it with your friends and shit like that.

John Gotty is the founder of The Smoking Section. He can typically be found musing over music, kicks and more on Twitter (@JohnGotty) and Instagram (@jgotty). Be sure to sign up for his newsletter, ‘The Bridge.’

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