Yeezy, the fashion brand launched by Kanye West (now known as Ye), is best known for its sneaker collaborations with Nike and Adidas, especially with the latter. It is one of the most coveted shoe lines with a high demand for the kicks in the resale market. And now, with Adidas announcing that it will soon start selling the Yeezy sneakers that are there in stock, even after the end of the deal with Ye, has led to a renewed conversation and interest in the brand and the coveted Yeezys.
In October 2022, the German sportswear giant cut its ties with the American artist following the latter’s anti-Semitic comments. The decision led to the accumulation of unsold Yeezy sneakers worth USD 1.3 billion (SGD 1.74 billion) with Adidas.
“Burning those shoes cannot be the solution,” said Adidas CEO Bjørn Gulden at the company’s annual shareholders meeting on 11 May, adding that the company will try to sell part of the remaining Yeezy inventory.
He also said that Adidas will “donate money to the organisations that help us and were harmed by what Ye said.” Gulden added that Adidas has spoken to non-governmental organisations and groups that were harmed by the rapper’s comments and actions.
The company did not reveal specifics regarding which Yeezy products it would be selling.
Ye’s net worth fell from USD 2 billion (SGD 2.67 billion) to USD 400 million (SGD 534.92 million) following the end of his Adidas link. But, reports say he will be receiving his 15 per cent commission that was part of his agreement with the company before the termination of their association.
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Adidas lost USD 655 million (SGD 875.93 million ) in sales in the last three months of 2022, due to the termination of the contract. This led to a quarterly net loss of USD 560 million (SGD 748.89). The company reported a loss in sales worth USD 441 million at the start of 2023.
On 12 May, TMZ reported that Ye’s company Mascotte Holdings Inc. filed a trademark for ‘YZY SOCK SHOES.’ The report says that the company identified the product as ‘Socks; socks with leather soles.’
While the Yeezy brand is set to reappear, albeit just for the offloading of accumulated stock, it is nevertheless one of the most coveted sneakers ever released. And, some of the sneakers still sell at very high prices in the resale market.
Iconic Yeezy sneakers launched by Kanye West with Adidas and Nike
Nike Air Yeezy 1
Nike Air Yeezy 1 has the distinction of being the most expensive sneaker ever sold when its prototype version was auctioned at Sotheby’s for USD 1.8 million (SGD 2.41 million) in 2021. The same pair was expected to fetch around USD 2.5 million (SGD 3.34 million)at a private auction at Christie’s in 2022, but the auction was suspended due to the controversy generated by Ye.
The prototype version of Nike Air Yeezy 1 was worn by Ye during his performance at the 50th Annual Grammy Music Awards in 2008. It was designed by Nike creative director Mark Smith, along with designer Tiffany Beers, exclusively for the rapper.
Three different variants were released later. One of them is the Nike Air Yeezy 1 Blink, named so because of its black-and-pink design. While the upper body is black, the pink shade is on the inside and the linings. The heel loop has the ‘Yeezy’ mark.
Nike Air Yeezy 2 SP Red Octobe
Originally retailed for USD 250 (SGD 334.32), the Nike Air Yeezy 2 SP Red October went as high as USD 14,500 (SGD 19,390.78) in resales. Only 50 pairs of this vibrant red-coloured shoe have been produced.
It marked the last collaboration between Ye and Nike before the former’s move to Adidas. Ye was seen wearing these sneakers often, but specifically during his 2013 Saturday Night Live (SNL) performance. By the time the sneaker hit the market, Ye had already left the American shoemaker.
The shoe has a Velcro-lace system with a full-rubber sole. A series of small triangular studs form a pattern along the side panels, giving it a distinctive appearance.
Nike Air Yeezy 1 Net Tan
Net Tan is the third and last colourway of the Nike Air Yeezy 1 series. It gets its name from the beige leather upper body.
An off-white leather strap goes over the mid-foot section of the shoe, which has perforated features on the leather. The toe wrap is made of black suede, on which the letter ‘Y’ has been embossed all over.
The shoe’s inside is of bright pink colour, visible most prominently on the tongue when the shoe is not worn.
One of its most noteworthy aspects is its two-tone midsole, the design for which was borrowed from the iconic Air Jordan 3 collection.
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Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 Pirate Black
First released in 2015, the sneaker was so well received that Adidas dropped a restocked edition the following year in stores. The Pirate Black has a black-and-grey body, with exposed red stitching on the heel tab.
The shoe has YZY branding on the inner side of the body, set within a black leather semicircle. The sole is made of rubber and sits like an expanded cushion under the body.
In April 2022, Adidas announced that the same version would be released in 2023. Since this was before the Ye fiasco, it is not clear if the sneaker will be among the releases that Adidas has in the pipeline.
Adidas Yeezy Boost 750 Grey/Gum
The sneaker has a grey suede body. On the midfoot is an elastic Velcro strap of the same colour. The shoe has an ankle zipper and perforated vamp.
Its defining characteristic is its gum soles, which glow in the dark.
At the time of its release in 2016, the kicks were priced at USD 350 (SGD 468.05). Today, they sell at prices far exceeding the retail price.
Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 Moonrock
Moonrock is one of the variants in the Boost 350 series of Yeezy sneakers that Adidas released with Ye. Reports suggest that it was first spotted in Ye’s then-wife Kim Kardashian’s Instagram post. It was announced for mass market release later in 2015.
Having an agate grey and moonrock colourway, it was sold in only those stores where Yeezy Season One apparel was available. Its overall shape is like the Pirate Black version. It, too, has a YZY branding on the inner side, but is set in an almost matching grey colour of the upper. Likewise, its sole is cushion-shaped and grey.
Adidas Yeezy Boost 950M Chocolate
Adidas Yeezy Boost 950M Chocolate is one of the most famous Yeezy kicks of all time. It is instantly recognisable for its unique design, which combines the style of a duck boot with a military boot.
The monochromatic shoe has a chocolate brown colour, from its upper to the sole. The materials used in its creation, such as leather, canvas and rubber, follow the same colour format. Reportedly, ballistic mesh has also been used as a material.
The Adidas Yeezy Boost 950M Chocolate features a double-stitching construction and thick laces. Only the brand names, Adidas and Yeezy, are marked on the outsole.
Launched in October 2015 as part of the Yeezy Season 1, the 950M Chocolate was created in limited numbers.
Adidas Yeezy Boost 700 Wave Runner
The Wave Runner is a colourful shoe. It debuted at the Yeezy Season 5 fashion show in 2017. Though the Wave Runner has had multiple versions since its release, the original remains one of the most coveted of all Yeezy products.
The sneaker is known for discarding the usual minimalist style of the Yeezy brand for a chunkier runner model.
Shop Yeezy sneakers here
Prices of the products mentioned in the story are subject to change.
(Hero and Featured image credit: Sotheby’s/@sothebys/Instagram)
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: Yeezys is the popular term used to refer to Adidas Yeezy line of sneakers made by the German sportswear brand in collaboration with Kanye West (now known as Ye). But Yeezys, as a term, also includes the sneakers created by Ye's Yeezy brand with Nike.
Answer: Yeezy sneakers were created by Ye first with Nike and then with Adidas.
Answer: As with other sneakers or shoes, you can similarly lace Yeezys. The brand also offers designs that don't have laces.