Kanye West and Adidas have been at odds as of late. While Adidas has remained quiet, Kanye has continued to levy an all-out war against the iconic Three Stripes brand. Just a few weeks ago, we outlined Kanye’s issues with Adidas and the lead-up to his current beef with the brand. As we explained, much of it has to do with Adidas controlling what comes out of the Yeezy camp. An example of this is how Kanye doesn’t have any say behind the colorways that are released. If Adidas conjures up a colorway they like, they will release it unbeknownst to Ye.
While Ye does, indeed, get the royalties from these shoes, he feels as though Adidas is taking advantage of him. In an Instagram post, Kanye made it clear that he feels like these new colorways are trash and that if it were up to him, they would never be authorized. Overall, Ye believes Adidas is mismanaging the Yeezy brand which, in turn, is causing it to lose its allure. This is ultimately why he wants to make Yeezy independent. That way, he can regain control of his brand, and bring it back to its previous status.
Image via Ye
“The fact adi felt they could color my shoes and name them without my approval is really wild,” Kanye wrote. “But I promise everyone adidas is not as wild as me I really really care about building something that changes the world and something I can leave to my kids They tried to buy me out for 1 billion dollars My royalties next year are 500 million dollars alone Daniel Cherry Pop makes 2 million a year Yeezy’s are 68 percent of adidas on line sales You guys thought cause DCP Daniel Cherry Pop went to Warden that he could politely give me a billion dollars to hand everything I built over.”
Kanye had a similar critique during Yeezy Day. A plethora of iconic Yeezy 350 and 350 V2 colorways were restocked for the world to enjoy all over again. Ye revealed that same day that Yeezy Day was never his idea and that he never approved of the restocks. It was another example of how Kanye has lost control of his metaphorical “baby.” It also begs the question: has Adidas oversaturated the market with Yeezys?
In order to answer this question, we have to re-visit Kanye’s time with Nike. While it was short-lived, we all know that Kanye was able to deliver two impressive silhouettes. These shoes were the Nike Air Yeezy 1 and the Nike Air Yeezy 2. Each of these shoes only had about three colorways and the releases were extremely limited. As a result, the shoes had this special aura about them. If you had a pair, it was as if you had won the lottery. They were also a status symbol that showcased just how influential Kanye was outside of music.
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When he left Nike for Adidas, his original Yeezy shoes followed the same blueprint. From the Yeezy 750 to the Yeezy Boost 350 V1 and V2, Kanye was only releasing a few colorways that were extremely hard to get. This pattern continued from 2015 to about 2018 which is when things started to take a dramatic shift. Kanye had always said that he wanted every single person to own a pair of Yeezys, although Adidas took this statement and ran with it in a direction that left some diehard sneakerheads feeling a bit confused.
If you were paying attention to the sneaker world throughout 2019 and 2020, you might have noticed that Adidas was constantly dropping new colorways of the 350 V2. All of these color schemes looked the same as they all contained similar neutral and earthy tones. Fans became fatigued with these releases and the 350 V2 completely lost its appeal. Sure, the OG colorways were still popular, but that popularity would eventually wane as Adidas continued to spam us with restocks. Just look at the Adidas Yeezy Boost 700 “Wave Runner.” This used to be a rare Yeezy model that everyone wanted. Now, it gets a restock once every six months, which has basically ruined any sense of mystique.
About five years ago, the Yeezy brand was seen as something that completely ran the sneaker world. Now, it is just another imprint in a world where Jordans have gone back to dominating the conversation. Yeezys don’t have the same pull they once did and while new pairs still sell out, the hype surrounding them has effectively gone away. Adidas did the very same thing to the UltraBoost and they also did it to the NMD. It is a damn shame they have done it to Kanye’s Yeezy brand, as well. Oversaturation is never a good thing, and it’s clear that Adidas has not learned its lesson.
Theo Wargo/Getty Images for adidas
Should Kanye regain control of the Yeezy brand, it is hard to say how long it would take for him to make the brand a juggernaut again. He would have to revamp the line with new silhouettes and he would need to make sure the colorways are something that will reinvigorate the sneaker world. He did it once with Nike, and he did it again with Adidas in the middle of the last decade. Based on his public statements, it is clear that he is aware of the issues outlined above. He knows how to get people excited, and his latest rollout for the YZY SHDZ is a perfect example of how he can make the sneaker side of Yeezy something to behold again.
Getting out of his deal with Adidas won’t be easy. After all, he is making them a lot of money and it would be difficult for Adidas to leave billions of dollars on the table. No matter what, Kanye will fight hard for his brand, especially as it pertains to creative control. Hopefully, his efforts won’t all be for nothing.