If you follow the sneaker world, you’ve probably caught wind of the hotly-debated Yeezy samples that pop up every few months. Recently, a Pink Chukka-style Yeezy Boost model that is being called the 650 Boost V.1 turned up. As we previously mentioned, the notoriously shady resale market for sample sneakers is booming due to social media. While the validity of these samples is its own point of discussion, they still fuel the hype cycle between authorized, official releases. Sample sneakers might exist in development limbo for years before a release date. And often, like this 650, they might never get a release date.
While many samples never make it out of development, every sneaker sold in retail exists as a sample at some point. There is a slight difference in samples during the various development stages. In the earliest stages, you get what’s called the Look See models. As the name implies, these are made so the design team, and potential retailers, can hold, feel, and touch the model. Typically, the Look See sample is used for promotional purposes, but that doesn't guarantee that it will make it to full scale production. The differences between the Look See and the retail model might range from colorway to material to redesigns. Regardless, Look See samples are considered to be the rarest of the rare, like these Black Nike Air Yeezy 1's.
The other version of sample is called the Wear Test. As you can guess, this sample is made to test the shoe's performance and on-foot mechanics. During the Wear Test phase, potential problems with the sneaker’s design are identified for further tweaks. Like the Look See, the Wear Test will probably look different than the final product if it does indeed make it to full scale production.
In the digital age, samples are no longer the rarity they once were. To clarify, your chances of buying a sample is still extremely low, but you can definitely see them thanks to a number of dedicated Instagram accounts. Additionally, these footwear grails provide a roadmap for future sneaker designs. Maybe the company itself will readdress the sneaker years later, sometimes up to 20 years after the initial sample as Nike has done a few times in the past. Or, the sample could act as a template for a custom sneaker.
So maybe the Yeezy 650 Boost will never make it to production, but don’t let that stop you from making your own customs inspired by them. Start with a pair of Lace Lab Rope Laces, and let you creativity do the rest.