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Yeezy and the Price of Hype

Kanye West’s Yeezys have been revitalized thanks to a new partnership with Adidas. PHOTO/ Complex

By Ivan Morrobel

Published: December 12th, 2018

Since Kanye West departed from Nike and partnered up with Adidas to debut the Adidas Yeezy, Yeezys have quickly become a coveted shoe among sneaker enthusiasts.

“I brought back that feeling. You ain’t never felt about a shoe since the Jordans the way people feel about the Yeezys,” said West in an interview with former Hot 97 radio personality Angie Martinez minutes before he announced his deal with Adidas.

In 2015, Adidas launched West’s Yeezy line by releasing the Yeezy Boost 750 Light Brown for $350 in extremely limited quantities, which left the sneaker community scrambling to get their hands on a pair. Since then, the brand has released the Yeezy Boost 350, 350 V2, 700, Yeezy Powerphase, Yeezy 500 and Yeezy 950 in various colorways.

Prior to being revitalized due to the collaboration, Adidas has found itself behind Nike and Air Jordan for years. However, the demand for Yeezys bolstered the Germany founded company to surpass Jordan brand as the second-most popular sneaker in the United States last year.

“Adidas allowing him to say and give more input on what he likes just makes it so much better,” said 32-year-old Po Cruz, a Yeezy advocate, and collector.

In spite of the success of West’s signature shoes with Adidas, he has admitted to being against the small quantity and high price point. “I didn’t want them to be limited actually. That’s something that the company did. I really want as many people to get them as possible. I don’t want the price to be 350. I don’t want to play this sneaker culture game,” he said in an interview with Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club in 2015.

Depending on the varied models, Adidas Yeezy retail prices range from $120 to $585, and yet they cost more on the secondary market because of how limited certain pairs are. In fact, according to the market where you can buy and sell deadstock sneakers StockX, the Adidas Yeezy Boost 750 Light Brown sold for $6,000 on February 22, 2016, which is 17 times more than the original price.  

As of 2018, the current state of Yeezys has drastically changed. Although pairs such as the Yeezy Boost 350 Turtle Dove, Oxford Tan, Moonrock and Pirate Black continue to be worth more than $1,000, several other Yeezys have dropped in value due to mass production.

Among the shoes that have been rereleased in large amounts is the Yeezy Boost 700 Wave Runner, Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Triple White and Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Zebra, which has ultimately changed the perspective of how consumers look at the brand.

“They’re making the same shoe over and over in different colors, then rereleasing some of the same colors again. People get tired of it because they either have it or don’t want it at that point,” said 23-year-old Christopher Mercado. Many consumers have argued about the Yeezy Boost 350 V2 model being ruined because it’s been produced in 13 different colorways (and counting).

But regardless of what sneaker collectors and resellers have to say about Adidas deciding to bring West’s decision to life, his original plan was for everyone to have his signature shoe. Though the hype behind the shoes has decreased significantly since the rereleases of certain colorways and perhaps his political views, the demand is without a doubt still there as Yeezys continue to sell out, just not as quick as before.

Furthermore, the partnership between Adidas and West has shifted the sneaker culture. The years of Nike and Air Jordan dominating the footwear industry in the United States has officially come to an end since the Adidas Yeezy. As for history repeating itself, consumers will definitely see the early days of the collaboration again with new highly anticipated silhouettes such as the Yeezy Basketball, Yeezy Boost 350 V3, Yeezy 451 and many more expected to release in 2019.

“The hype doesn’t die, it just gains a broader appeal which makes it less cool to the people that were there from the beginning,” said Brooklyn College student Eddie King.

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