Reebok Could’ve Been Kanye West’s First Yeezy Sneaker
Kanye West documentary Jeen-Yuhs has been more about the music than anything else, but it's also helped unearth some other relics from the vault. Footwear designer Xavier Jones took to Instagram to share two Reebok samples from circa 2004-5 that, had they released, could have technically been the first instance of a Yeezy sneaker.
Jones is an accomplished designer who has worked at Reebok and New Balance prior to his current appointment at adidas Basketball. This early-2000s stint at the Vector Brand seemingly predates his LinkedIn account, but he has a fairly comprehensive grasp of the story behind these ‘boks. Named the Mascotte Trainer after the holding company West uses for his trademarks, this is certainly a design of the era. At least half a dozen people were involved in the project from both sides, as Jones mentions names like Don C and Ibn Jasper – close collaborators of Ye – in the back story.
As far as the shoes themselves go, it’s a lifestyle leaning design with plush nubuck and suede uppers atop foam slab soles. Two colourways were made, one a mixture of blue and the other brown and tan. According to the pictured CAD sheet, other palettes were slated too. A release was intended for Q2 of 2006 but, as history dictated, the shoes were scrapped – but not before these samples were manufactured, plus a few pairs of Allen Iverson. West did not officially drop anything with Reebok until 2008’s S.Carter collection.
Around the same time as the Mascotte Trainer was being conceived, adidas and West were in talks to produce a collaborative line – there even was a promo Rod Laver gifted to the artist – but that relationship fizzled out too. However, that was rekindled in 2013 when the adidas Yeezy line was announced, birthing the hype behemoth it is today.