Another successful — depending on your point of view, because I struck out and had many frustrations with the Confirmed app — Yeezy Day is in the books, but some online chatter leads to an existential question for fans of Kanye West’s Adidas catalog: Are we approaching a breaking point between the sportswear company and its biggest star?
Amid all the chaos of the drops happening, Ye took to social media to deliver his latest broadside at his sneaker partner.
It’s fair to say that Kanye West has always moved to the beat of his own drummer and that his relationship with Adidas has not always been all sunshine and rainbows. Ye knows that he is the one who moves the needle for the Three Stripes, more so than any athlete they have signed to the brand and really more so than any athlete signed to any brand short of Michael Jordan (Kanye has made plenty of noise in the past about wanting to jump over the Jumpman). As such, he has been afforded a little more leeway than other collaborators might be — the image of Kanye rocking Jordans while signed with Adidas comes to mind. However, some recent developments suggest that all is not well with the parties and that the groundwork is being laid for a split in the future.
Ye made noise in 2020 suggesting that he wanted a board seat with Adidas — and his other partner, Gap, for that matter — or he would walk away. He appears to have been talked back from that position, but earlier this year he publicly accused the company of blatantly copying his design aesthetic when it came to the Adilette 22 slides, which to be fair do certainly evoke Yeezy design.
Then in another eyebrow-raising move, Ye named Steven Smith as the head of Donda industrial design. Smith is, of course, a famed sneaker designer known for such designs as the Reebok Instapump Fury and some of the Yeezy line’s greatest hits at Adidas. Some saw that as West preparing to bring design in-house for an inevitable split when his Adidas deal is up in 2026. Combined with Tuesday’s social media outburst, it becomes fair to question what the future holds for the Adidas-Ye partnership.
With that in mind, it may behoove sneakerheads to begin stocking up on Yeezys and putting them on deadstock. That would serve two purposes. If you love the designs and can’t be without them, having pairs on ice will allow you to continue to lace them up even if the official partnership comes to end. On the other side, it will be a no-doubter that the value of various Yeezy designs will skyrocket if/when Ye walks away from Adidas. As evidenced by the frenzy for all of Yeezy Day’s drops, the Yeezy brand remains strong seven years into its existence. It would be fair to say that Yeezy is the No. 2 sneaker brand in the world behind Jordan Brand and that today’s generation has developed emotional ties to Yeezy similar to how Millenials developed emotional ties to the models Michael Jordan wore on the court.
Assuming Adidas doesn’t attempt to retro Yeezy designs with a different name as they do with their Kobe catalog, there will be a void in the marketplace if Yeezy Boosts go away. That is where having DS pairs — either for personal use or for resale — will look like a genius move. Just something to keep in mind with each new Yeezy drop for the next couple of years.
What do you think? Hit me up on Twitter where my handle is @a_silva32 to let me know.
To see more of this month’s releases, check out our release date calendar.