Adidas, the German sportswear giant, has announced plans to sell its remaining stock of Yeezy sneakers, a once highly sought-after collaboration between the company and American rapper, designer, and entrepreneur Kanye “Ye” West. The decision comes after Adidas severed ties with West in October due to his repeated antisemitic statements.
With millions of unsold Yeezys still in existence, Adidas considered various options, including destroying the shoes or rebranding them without West’s involvement. However, the company ultimately decided to sell the remaining inventory and donate a portion of the proceeds to charity. This move aims to mitigate the financial losses incurred by Adidas, which amounted to $1.3 billion in the fourth quarter and an additional $441 million in the last two fiscal quarters, all connected to the loss of Yeezy revenue.
Adidas CEO Bjørn Gulden announced the decision during an annual shareholder meeting held on Thursday. He acknowledged the potential “reputational risk” for Adidas but emphasized the company’s commitment to supporting organizations that were also affected by West’s controversial statements. As per the original contract with West, the designer will be entitled to 15% of all sales.
Yeezy sneakers, known for their unique designs and colorways, were initially released in 2015 and quickly gained popularity among sneaker enthusiasts. The shoes were available on adidas.com, Yeezy Supply, and select stores worldwide. They often sold out within minutes of release, with prices ranging from $200 to $1,500 on the resale market.
Despite the controversy surrounding the Yeezy brand, fans of the sneakers can now look forward to purchasing the remaining stock while also contributing to a charitable cause.