S otheby’s is pleased to present – as the second lot in From the Archive Week – a pristine pair of ‘sample’ protype Nike Air Yeezys in Zen Grey/Neon, designed by Kanye West and Mark Smith. Please note, this item is offered without reserve.
The shoes, in size 9, still have their sample tags on, and were produced in December of 2008 in Nike’s Feng Tay factory, prior to their general release in April of 2009.
The late 2000s proved to be an incredibly important time for Kanye West as an artist, both from a music as well as design perspective. In the above music video, Kanye collaborated with renowned Contemporary Japanese artist Takashi Murakami for the video to Kanye’s hit, Good Morning. Between 2005–2009, Kanye released the albums Late Registration, Graduation, and 808s & Heartbreak, all of which are now recognized for the lasting impact they had on rap, hip-hop and music more broadly. Kanye was also breaking barriers in fashion during this period, and created several important designs in collaboration with Nike and Mark Smith, including this Zen Gray Air Yeezy.
Did you know?
The Nike Air Yeezy stormed into pop culture when Kanye West premiered them at his 2008 Grammy Awards performance of Stronger and Hey Mama. In the years following, Kanye would famously collaborate with Nike for a wide variety of Air Yeezy releases. Later in his career, Kanye would move forward with Adidas for his signature shoes. However, the original Nike Air Yeezy models remain a critical part of the history of sneaker collaborations, design, and modern fashion.
Sotheby’s is excited to offer these shoes – in incredible condition – to honor the design legacy of Kanye West and Mark Smith, and of course, Nike.