Demand for Yeezy brand shoes is rising among sneakerheads after Adidason its commercial partnership with Ye, the rapper better known as Kanye West, over his antisemitic remarks.
In the three days since the sportswear giant’s announcement, trade activity on Tradeblock — a barter-based platform for sneakers, with about 200,000 users — surged 40%, the company told CBS MoneyWatch. The service also saw a 10% increase in the number of users adding Yeezy shoes to their online wishlists, where they can keep track of sneakers they hope to acquire in the future.
“More people and more trade activity is focused on Yeezy’s than we would normally see,” Tradeblock CEO Mbiyimoh Ghogomu told CBS MoneyWatch.
A range of advertisers have dropped West as a client or otherwise distanced themselves from the hip-hop artist, a purge West saidin just one day. The fate of the Yeezy brand, which West still controls, remains unclear, with some collectors looking to unload their personal inventories of Yeezy shoes.
“Some folks anticipate the value of the shoe will go down and want to extract its value before that happens,” Ghogomu said. “Then some folks are speculating this move is essentially going to create a world in which some of the more classic colorways and silhouettes may not ever get re-released, or will be re-released with slight variations or under a different brand.”
Adidas owns the rights to all Yeezy designs and is expected to eventually release new styles and colorways under a different label.
“A lot of people say, ‘If this is never made again, can I get my hands on it now because it might be very coveted in the not too distant future,” he added.
“Meteoric rise” in trade
Demand for Yeezy shoes is also up at other online sneaker marketplaces. Sneaker aficionados are snapping up models including the Yeezy 350 v2 Bred, 350 v2 Zebra and Foam Runner Onyx.
The Foam Runner Onyx, which previously ranked low on Tradeblock, is now the seventh-most traded shoe on the site.
“I don’t think we’ve seen any other shoe make that aggressive a jump in the rankings,” Ghogomu said. Not even Kobe Bryant’s 2020 death, which spurred an increase in sales, had that kind of effect on sneakers he’d collaborated on with Nike.
Yeezy shoes and slides typically sell for between $200 and $700, depending on the style, color and size, according to Tradeblock. Larger sizes, which are often harder to find, can be worth 50% to 60% more than the average value of smaller sizes.
What is Yeezy without Ye?
Anastasia Lemley, co-owner of Seattle-based Sneak City, said interest in Yeezy shoes surged Tuesday after Adidas announced its breakup with Ye.
“On average, we sell two to five pairs a day, and that day we sold eight,” she told CBS MoneyWatch.
Customers fall on both sides of the line, with some saying they want to purchase Yeezy sneakers because they believe their value will rise and others looking to sell because to distance themselves from Ye, according to Lemley.
“If they don’t release any more, certain ones will go up, but they released so many in the past two years that the market is pretty flooded with them,” she said. “If there is going to be a price increase, it will take several months for that to actually happen.”
Jean Alvarado, manager of SoleStage, a sneaker and streetwear marketplace in New York City, said the prices of some of the older Yeezy styles are climbing.
“They’re in high demand right now,” he said. “Some people don’t care, but other people want to make a profit, and they’re looking at the market and the shoes are marked up.”