Nike Air Yeezy

He’s as polarizing as George Bush (this clip makes an equal case for both of them) but whether you love him or loathe him Kanye West can’t be accused of resting on his laurels. He’s a steadfast blogger, a Grammy Award winning artist, an alleged gay fish and after collaborations with Louis Vuitton and his own Pastelle clothing line – an accomplished designer. Now with the launch of his own signature Nike sneaker, West has cemented his place as the king of contemporary pop culture, and maybe, just maybe, all that chest thumping bravado is justified after all…

The Nike Air Yeezy (pictured above) comes off the back of West’s footwear collaboration with Louis Vuitton, a partnership which garnered interest from sneaker freaks and fashionistas alike. Now partnering with Nike Creative Director, Mark Smith, West has created a high top with a decidedly different visual aesthetic. ‘Kanye is a truly creative talent,’ said Smith. ‘He’s a natural designer—partnerships like this always enhance the creative experience and the end product.’ West agrees that the partnership with Nike has been exciting. ‘Nike is such an important brand to me,’ said West. ‘Whether you are on the court, in the street, in the club, at school, Nike represents excellence, the standard in design. Growing up, we looked forward to the release of new Nike’s the way we would an album by our favorite artist. So the opportunity to collaborate on a design with Mark Smith and Nike Design has been a dream come true, and a great experience.’

Much like his music career West has been waiting for this opportunity his whole life ‘I’ve been designing Nike’s in my sketch pad since the fourth grade,’ he said. ‘So to say I’ve been prepared for this would be an understatement. The really fun and challenging part for me was learning about Nike’s design process, learning more about fabrics and functions and colorways, and all of the details that go into designing a shoe of this quality.’

The Nike Air Yeezy will release in Spring 2009 and was launched officially in Sydney and Melbourne earlier this week. Three colorways will be available. The first in April 2009 will be the Zen Grey/LT Charcoal color way, followed this will be followed in May by a Black/ Black version, and in June with the final Net/Net color way.

What do you think? Do you like them or are they completely whack? Unwarranted hype or justified praise? For now I’ll perch firmly on the fence, but like his music I’m sure Kanye’s signature shoe will have the lovers and haters battling.

Title Image by Dimitrios Kambouris via Getty