Kanye West is an enigma, whose mystery (and drama) extends to his relationship with Nike.
Everyone knows about his time at Nike, which birthed two of his most iconic and sought-after sneakers: the Nike Air Yeezy 1 and the Air Yeezy 2. The latter’s Red October release sent the sneaker world into raptures and chaos when it was dropped without warning on Twitter. That drop came when ’Ye’s relationship with Nike was already fractious and, after several successful years with the Oregon-based brand, Kanye left the Swoosh for the Three Stripes in 2014.
What followed was a fairly one-sided beef, with Kanye often taking shots at Nike in the press, through his music, and via his new adidas YEEZY releases. This well-documented beef has apparently come to an end over the past few years, as ’Ye has been seen wearing Nike products more frequently. That would have been unthinkable from around 2014 to 2017, when it seemed Kanye’s sole mission was to make YEEZY’s partnership with adidas bigger than anything he had ever done with Nike.
In a series of Tweets last year, Kanye appeared to finally bury the hatchet, boldly proclaiming that he’d wear Jordans until he was on the board at adidas. He also tweeted: “Jordans need to be part of reparations. You can’t tell a Black man not to wear Jordans. It should be in any deal. And also, you can wear your friend’s clothes.”
After seeing Kanye in a pair of COMME des GARÇONS HOMME PLUS x Nike Air Foamposite this week, we decided to round up every time Kanye West wore Nike after signing with adidas. Not only is it sacrilege for normal employees of both brands to wear products made by their fiercest rivals, given Kanye’s history with Nike it’s a borderline shock every time we see him lace up a pair of Swoosh-clad shoes.
Every Time Kanye Wore Nike After Signing With adidas
Nike ISPA Air Max 720
In 2019, ’Ye was spotted on Thanksgiving wearing the Nike ISPA Air Max 720. It was the first time Kanye had been seen wearing a pair of Nikes since his exit from the brand several years prior. Kanye was reportedly shopping with his nephew, Mason, when he tried on a pair of the shoes in a store. It’s unclear whether he ended up buying them or was just enamored by the sneaker’s wildly futuristic design.
Nike ISPA Road Warrior
Last year, Kanye West tweeted his appreciation for Nike’s recently-released ISPA Road Warrior. West posted the same picture of the sneaker twice, writing that the sneakers “take me back to my childhood,” that he needs a pair, and to tell Nike to keep innovating as “the world needs it.” This was the first time that Kanye openly praised Nike’s work and, while he didn’t post a picture of himself wearing the pair, it’s hard to imagine he didn’t slip them on at least once to try them out.
Nike Vandal High
Earlier in 2021, Kanye was spotted in Los Angeles wearing a pair of Nike Vandal Highs. The pair in question is inspired by a one-off from the 1984 film The Terminator. While the film's version was never actually released, a slightly modified iteration dropped in June 2015 as part of promo pairs for the release of Terminator Genisys. While it's not nearly as rare as the original version, the 2015 “Terminator” Nike Vandal High is coveted in its own right. Even before West recently rocked them, a pair would go for more than $500 on sites like StockX, with several sales even hitting closer to the $1,000 mark.
Nike Socks at the ‘DONDA’ listening party
Shortly after the sighting in the above pair of Vandals, Kanye shared a picture of his outfit grid ahead of the Atlanta listening party for DONDA. Keen observers quickly spotted a pair of Nike socks among all the Bottega and Saint Laurent. It wasn’t as major as the other Nike moments on this list, but it was definitely something that made waves at the time. Around the same time, Kanye combined his Foam Runners with a pair of white Nike crew socks at the Balenciaga couture show. That was the first known time that ’Ye mixed his adidas designs with a Nike product (though for all we know, he could have never stopped wearing Nike crew socks).
Heron Preston Nike Gloves
Just a couple months a go, when Kanye was starting to make public appearances with his face covered in various masks, he was seen hanging out with Heron Preston rocking a pair of the designer’s Collaborative Nike gloves.
COMME des GARÇONS HOMME PLUS x Nike Air Foamposite
Most recently, Kanye West was photographed wearing a pair of the upcoming COMME des GARÇONS HOMME PLUS x Nike Air Foamposite, which many have dubbed the shoe of the year already. Kid Cudi was also seen wearing a pair courtside at the Lakers game, with more and more instances of celebrities wearing the shoes popping up on Instagram recently. It almost feels like a concerted seeding effort on Nike’s part, though it’s highly unlikely that Kanye would be part of any such strategy. Much more likely is that he vibes with the shoe, which sees the iconic ultra-durable basketball shoe hit the runway thanks to CDG.
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