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Yeezys may have been canceled by Adidas, but the shoes remain a hot commodity among sneakerheads.
Following Kanye West’s controversial statements, including anti-Semitic remarks, Adidas has joined the ranks of corporations that have severed ties with the rapper, announcing this week that it will no longer manufacture his Yeezy sneakers.
“Right now, I have 10 Yeezys, but I used to have 40 or 50,” Kelechi Asoluka, 33, told The Washington Post. “The prices began to skyrocket, and I began selling them.” I sold Yeezys for up to $800 a pair a few weeks ago. I originally paid around $250 to $350 for each.”
In fact, the New Jersey-based personal trainer and sneaker restorer believes he could have earned more than the $10,000 or so he has in recent weeks.
“I expected prices to rise and then fall, which is why I sold them so quickly,” Kelechi explained. “However, I made a mistake.” I got $800 for my Yeezy 750s. They’re now asking $1,000 to $2,000. “I’m enraged.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, the “market has gone insane” since Adidas pulled the plug, with some Yeezy prices increasing by more than 20%.
“Recently, [West’s] stuff was not doing as well as it had, because it was just becoming another tennis shoe,” reseller Isiah Davis-Jackson, who has $30,000 in Yeezys, told us. “Now that people think he’s finished, the shoes are back in style.”
Scarcity plays a significant role. Adidas has not only ceased production, but the secondary market has also shrunk. Resale platforms such as the Real Real and Rebag refuse to carry any Western-themed merchandise, and Goodwill has stopped accepting it. Christie’s canceled an exhibition and auction of coveted West sneakers, including a pair of prototype Nike Air Yeezys that sold for $1.8 million last year.
It’s all about rarity in the sneaker world; the more limited an edition, the better. “Kanye and Adidas would do reissues every few years,” Kelechi explained. “You never knew when [a model] would return” — and potentially lower values. Even the most popular Yeezys, he claims, “are definitely not coming back.”
(Adidas revealed plans to release a version of the shoes, which were originally created in collaboration with Nike, without the Yeezy branding. Instead, the products will be labeled simply as Adidas.)
Ify Asoluka, Kelechi’s brother, is so bullish on the resale market that he’s decided to ride it out for a while.
“I have about ten pairs of Yeezys,” Ify, a 30-year-old model, told The Washington Post. “I’m clinging to them. I believe they will continue to rise. People still love Kanye, he still has fans, and they will continue to wear his clothing.”
Alvin Canty, a collector, isn’t ready to part with his Yeezys, but he’s also not comfortable wearing them right now.
Alvin Canty, a 32-year-old project manager in Washington, DC, is also keeping his 50 pairs of Yeezys, but he feels strange about it. He once liked them so much that he ran a half-marathon in a pair of 500s. “The shoes are very comfortable, and people thought they looked cool,” he explained to The Washington Post. “I’ve stopped wearing Yeezys for the time being.” I do not support him and do not agree with what he is saying. It’s a bummer because I like Kanye’s music and shoes, and I like to support Black people. But I can no longer support him.”
Having said that, he is not getting rid of the shoes. “I have Yeezy 350s from when the sneakers first came out,” he said, referring to a style that sells for $1,530 at StadiumGoods.
Canty explained, “I’m a collector.” “I have faith to some extent.” I believe the brand is valuable… and prices may rise, but it all depends on how [and if] Kanye conducts his apology tour.”
Nonetheless, some experts believe the moment has passed.
“I believe there will be a decline in interest over time,” said Matt Halfhill, founder and CEO of Nice Kicks, a sneaker-related website. “Prices are determined by supply and demand.” Right now, there is demand but no supply. However, I’ve heard from customers that they are no longer as impressed with owning a Yeezy product as they once were.”
Danny Shiff is in this category. The real estate investor, 47, is so disgusted by West’s behavior that he has made certain that at least some of his 50 Yeezys will never again walk the floor of his Miami home.
“I burned ten pairs,” Shiff told The Washington Post. “I used to be a fan of his and think he’s talented.” But I’m no longer interested in wearing them. I still have 40 [pairs] of shoes at home. I plan to sell them for charity and possibly create an art piece out of the burned ones. I’m going to sell it at Art Basel and donate the proceeds to charity.”
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