Three Stripes Brand Strikes Gold With First Batch of Unsold adidas Yeezy Shoes

July 25, 2023
2 mins read
adidas - Unsold Yeezy shoes
© Alamy

To those who venture in the realm of luxury trainers, the adidas Yeezy shoe has taken an unexpected sojourn back into the limelight. As a triumphant testament to the old adage – “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” – adidas has masterfully managed to turn the tide on a potential disaster. This disaster being an extensive backlog of Yeezy shoes following their severed partnership with the polarizing figure and creative maven, Kanye West – now monikered as Ye.

The German sports colossus had initially shelved the coveted adidas Yeezy collection following West’s controversial antisemitic statements. Yet, as the proverbial phoenix, the Yeezy brand has risen from the ashes of condemnation, fuelled by the feverish demand of trainer enthusiasts worldwide.

In an unprecedented manoeuvre to evade a €500 million writedown, adidas made the bold choice to release their leftover adidas Yeezy stock. Simultaneously, the company committed to donating a substantial chunk of their proceeds to charities ardently fighting against racism and antisemitism. A gesture that seems more poignant given the circumstances of their breakup with Ye.

Fashion enthusiasts and casual buyers alike flocked to the initial online sale, which, spanning from late May to early June, exceeded adidas’ most ambitious predictions. Over €508 million worth of orders were placed for a staggering 4 million pairs of the iconic trainers. Such was the demand that the company found itself incapable of fulfilling all requests, particularly for specific sizes and models.


Despite the stormy backdrop of Ye’s controversial outbursts and a marketing hiatus, the Yeezy line managed to brush off any toxicity. The surge of demand has allayed the concerns harbored at the adidas‘ headquarters in Herzogenaurach. After a mutually beneficial collaboration that began in 2015 and saw Yeezy raking in close to €700 million in operating profit, adidas found itself on the precipice of its first operating loss in over three decades.

Fashion observers, such as Thomas Chauvet, head of luxury and sporting goods research at Citibank, optimistically propose that adidas will need to revise their revenue and profit forecasts due to the Yeezy sell-off. The overwhelming demand for the Yeezy stock surely provides a beacon of light amidst the forecasted gloom.

In this epic sale, adidas showcased 15 diverse adidas Yeezy models, including a slew of cost-effective sliders and some premium models. The famed 500 Utility Black model (click here to get the shoes), known to command an impressive average of $248 USD a pair on, sold out within hours on European soil.

While the final donation tally remains undisclosed, rumors within adidas suggest the possibility of massive contributions exceeding €8.5 million across five charities, including the Anti Defamation League and the Philonise and Keeta Floyd Institute for Social Change. Moreover, the company is reportedly ready to part with a “significant share” of the Yeezy profit in this philanthropic endeavor.

adidas is treading the line of discretion and declined to comment, citing the quiet period preceding its half-year results. As it stands, the company intends to allocate part of the proceeds towards royalties owed to Ye, and to cover the expenses associated with ending the partnership, which includes staff layoffs, production capacity closures, and legal costs.

In the world of high-stakes fashion, the adidas Yeezy saga offers a captivating case study. It stands as a testament to the power of brand equity, customer loyalty, and strategic pivoting. It paints the intriguing picture of an iconic brand’s ability to turn potential adversity into an opportunity for financial success and meaningful social contribution.

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