The Air Jordan 6 “Donda” of Kanye West, which means behind the sneakers



The sneaker was not intended for public consumption. It was not a marketing project or a commercial release. It wasn’t a collaboration, but a token of condolence made just for Kanye West. Fittingly, it has been elusive since its conception in 2007 and production in 2008, a true rarity that has not been spoiled by endless reruns on social media.

“We really wanted to send him an honest expression of compassion,” said Jason Mayden, the former Jordan Brand designer who created the shoe. While at the company, Mayden worked on products for athletes like Carmelo Anthony and Derek Jeter, but it was something completely different. “It wasn’t something to chase the weight off, it wasn’t something that was meant to be seen someday.”

In West’s long and winding sneaker catalog, there are few entries as rare and enigmatic as the “Donda” version of the Air Jordan 6. The shoe was made in memory of his mother, Dr. Donda. West, who passed away in November 2007. Her name, along with the lyrics to the song “Roses” by Kanye West, appear on the insole. The stem is decorated with laser-engraved roses. The Jordan 6 model was a West favorite at the time.

Jason Mayden’s original rendering of the Air Jordan 6 “Donda”. Image via Mayden

Mayden, currently president of Fear of God’s athletics division with Adidas, has never spoken publicly about the sneaker before. He recalls that Jordan Brand had only made four or six pairs, exclusively for West and his close friend Don C. They only surfaced online a few times and usually from Don C, who posted the sneaker on the month. last as the buzz rose for West. Donda album scheduled for release this week. Mayden never owned the shoe himself.

“Personally, I didn’t want a pair because I didn’t want to keep anything like that in my collection, because it was something special and meaningful to him,” he says. “It wasn’t a typical release or a typical quick hit or a typical collaboration.”

At least one set has exceeded the small group for which they were intended. A London-based collector acquired the pair of Air Jordan 6 ‘Donda’ shown here about two years ago. He is reluctant to share too many details about them and has requested that his name not be mentioned in this room.

Donda Air Jordan 6 Talon
The “Donda” Air Jordan 6 is the only exclusive pair of Jordans designed for Kanye West. Image via Curation Culture

How much did he pay for the shoes?

“A lot,” says the collector. “I signed an NDA not to give the exact number. It’s a lot of

He also won’t disclose who he got them from, though he says the former owner claims he got them from someone with ties to West’s inner circle. The shoes are stored, maintained in an environment designed for their preservation.

“It is stored securely,” he says. “The temperature, the humidity and all that stuff. Especially on a pair like this, you just want to make sure they don’t go bad.

His collection includes other samples, including a never-before-released Nike Air Yeezy. The plan is to start sharing them through Culture Curation, its new Instagram page dedicated to rare shoes and the stories behind them. The Air Jordan 6 ‘Donda’ collector’s pair is a size 12, which is West’s own size. Because the shoe is so unique, one can’t really confirm its authenticity against other examples, but he says he did his due diligence before purchasing it. Mayden believes the pair are legitimate, but they differ slightly from the ones sent.

Donda Air Jordan 6 Tongue
The ‘Donda’ Air Jordan 6 uses a white and varsity red colourway. Image via Curation Culture

“The shoe appears to be an authentic sample but not the final product,” he explains. “We didn’t make any molding on the tongue part. It was just clean with the rose embroidery from what I remember.

The designer is one of a small group of people who have worked on the shoe – Reggie Saunders, longtime Jordan Entertainment marketing manager, was also involved, as was Gentry Humphrey, a Nike executive whose tenure at the company. includes passages at Jordan Brand. Mayden says only the trio were involved in the sneaker, adding that Michael Jordan himself had to approve of it. Jordan Brand never worked with West on a sneaker, although they did send him free shoes at the time.

West has maintained an affinity for Jordans despite his alignment with Adidas, the main rival of Jordan Brand’s parent company, Nike. Given his long-term deal with Adidas, where his Yeezy Boost sneakers helped make him a billionaire, a more official Air Jordan sneaker from Kanye West in the future is extremely unlikely.

The European collector has no plans to sell the ‘Donda’ sneaker, but it’s hard not to wonder what use such a rare shoe in the secondary market could be given the recent spate of gigantic sneaker sales in the aftermarket. auction houses. In April, Sotheby’s sold a sample of Kanye West’s signature Nike Air Yeezy shoes for $ 1.8 million.

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This pair of ‘Donda’ Air Jordan 6 belongs to a sneaker collector in Europe. Image via Curation Culture

“If anyone is willing to offer that kind of money, I will probably consider it,” laughs the owner of this Air Jordan 6 “Donda” pair. “Otherwise, I’ll keep it, because I know that once I sell it, I won’t get it back.” “

Their meaning and their place in history are not lost on the collector. The meaning runs even deeper for Mayden who, like West, is from Chicago. Many of her childhood memories are held at Chicago State University, where her father studied and the late Dr. West taught.

Mayden is still surprised to see the shoes, which were meant to serve as a private gesture for a grieving man, surface online. His wish now is that part of that initial goal be fulfilled by their current owner.

“I hope this person treats them the way they should be,” Mayden says, “because it’s an artefact of compassion, not an artefact of influence. “


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