NEW YORK — Saturday marked the release of the Nike Air Yeezys, [artist id="1230523"]Kanye West[/artist]'s much talked about collaboration with the sneaker giant. Sneaker releases, especially ones as hyped as the Yeezy, can often be chaotic, with lines of buyers — many of whom have camped out for days — stretched down and around the block.
This release was no different, as lines began to form early outside of the Nike Sportswear store on 21 Mercer Street in New York. With other stores claiming to be sold out of the shoes already and a few others charging far more than the suggested $215 retail price, consumers decided to try their luck at Sportswear.
The store set up a raffle where perspective buyers could enter a lottery, give their size and, if they were lucky, the store would call them back to let them know they had a pair of the popular shoes reserved.
"Sneaker releases are normally crazy. You got people everywhere. People arguing over who is where in line," said Stephen Gage, who was the first person to purchase the sneakers when the store opened at 11 a.m.
"Mostly sports stars have had collaborations with Nike before, such as Michael Jordan with the Air Jordan and Kobe Bryant and many other stars," Gage said, "but it's really interesting to see an entertainment artist such as Kanye West get his own sneaker design."
Many artists — including Pharrell, Eminem and even Dinosaur Jr. — have collaborated with Nike to customize their own version of a shoe, but West was able to design his own model completely.
Photos of prototypes of the shoe began surfacing last year, just before West's Glow in the Dark Tour. As more and more information was posted on sites like Hypebeast and Nike Talk, buzz began building among West fans, sneaker-heads and resellers alike.
"This just seemed like Kanye actually had his whole footprint in the design, from the tongue to the glow-in-the-dark [sole]," said Jason Ayers, another customer. "The way he's very flamboyant with his style, it's a very flamboyant shoe."