Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2

Kanye West always wanted this.

Not having royalties and not being able to produce more sneakers were the main reasons he left Nike. And upon signing his deal with Adidas, which started in 2013, he made it clear that he wanted more people to have access to his sneakers. Today he’s making good on that promise with the release of the Yeezy Boost 350 V2 in an all-white colorway that retails for $220. Customers will only be able to purchase the sneakers directly through adidas.com and the Yeezy Supply web site. They are reportedly releasing 1 million pairs of shoes.

West’s influence, along with scarcity, is what has bolstered the Yeezy footwear line. But what happens when a Yeezy Boost style becomes even more ubiquitous? Will it have the same trajectory as the Jordan brand, which lost market share and cache due to overproduction. WWD spoke with people in the sneaker industry to see if the release will hurt or help the brand.

Matt Cohen, vice president of business strategy and development at Goat, a sneaker resale app

WWD: What do you think of this release?

Matt Cohen: This is an interesting release because we’ve never seen something like this. For one, it’s a restock, but they’ve changed the name of the sneaker. It seems like they are trying to appeal to a different customer. This is also the first time we’ve heard a sneaker brand be vocal about democratizing a release and making this coveted sneaker available to everyone.

WWD: How do you think it will affect resale prices?

M.C.: This style has been trading actively in the market for 12 months at around $400 to $450, but that price has gotten lower with the announcement of this restock. We currently have thousands of pairs of this style already on the site. There has been less talk about the shoe because it’s been out for a while. The Yeezy brand is still hot, but [Boost] release has been overshadowed a little by the release of the Acronym x Nike Presto collaboration.

WWD: Is it a good or bad decision?

M.C.: I can see both sides of the coin. Adidas is a public company and its main objective is to increase value for the shareholder. From that perspective Adidas is doing what their investors want, so if they have all this pent-up demand and can fulfill it, why not sell it? But Yeezy is Adidas’ premium line. So what happens to the second tier of product that retails around $180 when more people can get the premium sneaker that’s priced at $220? That’s where things can get dangerous. There is a fine balance of making it more accessible but also maintaining the allure.

Bernie Gross, creative director at Extra Butter, sneaker boutique

WWD: What do you think of this release?

Bernie Gross: From the retailer point of view, we aren’t being allocated the product. It’s exclusive to Adidas. Brands want to capitalize on making their margins and go direct to consumer. This is a profit initiative. From the sneaker consumer’s point of view, it’s an easy sell because it’s all white. This probably wouldn’t work if it was any other colorway, but this is for the everyday consumer. Adidas has been doing this Yeezy exercise for three years now so maybe this is an exit strategy for this style. Maybe they are trying to capitalize on this style, generate revenue and put it to sleep.

WWD: Do you think it’s good or bad?

B.G.: That depends on your perspective. The sneaker community has grown so much. It’s great for Adidas and it speaks volumes on the power of Kanye. I think in today’s age it’s all about inclusivity and transparency. There’s no point of using someone like Kanye to only make 5,000 pairs of shoes. You want to use that asset and captivate a huge audience.

Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Kanye West

Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2 

DeeDee Negron, sneaker collector/influencer

WWD: What do you think of this release?

DeeDee Negron: I’m happy that he’s releasing them this way. This was always his main goal. Resellers are upset because it drops the resale value. Hypebeasts are upset because they aren’t going to be the only one wearing the shoe. But I think it’s a good idea.

WWD: You spend a lot of time with other collectors. Is the brand still desirable?

D.N.: People still want it. People are tired of the V2 model and they want to see new styles and colorways, but hopefully next year that will happen. But I think the brand has longevity. There have been rumors swirling that Nike is going to retro the Yeezys he released there and a lot of people want to know if that’s going to actually happen.

Yu-Ming Wu, cofounder of SneakerCon

WWD: What do you think of this release?

Yu-Ming Wu: As a fan of his and his sneakers and having been in the industry, I think it’s great. Resellers are saying it’s a foul play because they will lose money on the stuff they are holding on to, but even then, looking at the marketplaces we haven’t seen a big dip in resale prices. We are still in the $300 to $500 range. A lot of these shoes are going to sell and for the consumer you no longer have to jump through six hoops, run across glass and touch fire to get a pair of Yeezys.

WWD: Do you think it will have a negative impact?

Y.W.: I don’t see it as a negative thing at all. This is just one colorway of the shoe. There will be other colorways and he can make certain things limited if he wants to. The Jordan brand does this quite a bit. Some of us mentioned that this could be the first Yeezy to go on sale, which would be incredible for the person who can’t afford them at retail.

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