Half-price Yeezy trainers on sale in Dubai not a false step, says shoe collector

This could, however, be end of the road for once-fabled brand by controversial rapper Kanye West

Yeezy trainers on sale at the adidas outlet store in Dubai. Photo: @notudon / Instagram
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Kanye West once predicted that one day everyone will be able to afford a pair of Yeezy trainers. Well, it seems like that day has finally arrived, with this formerly red hot brand now spotted being sold for half price at an adidas outlet store in Dubai.

Steven Smith, who went viral a few years ago for wearing Yeezys despite being well past his teenage years, snapped piles of the trainers being offered at heavy discounts on Sunday, with the caption: “It happened. Yeezy is now at adidas outlet stores in Dubai.”

Once the stuff of legend, flying off shelves and with prized designs changing hands for huge sums, Yeezy trainers now seem to be sharing the fate of every other shoe designed, with excess stock and unpopular colours and designs being liquidated at half price.

I am happy adidas is putting them in the market at 50 per cent off or even more, so more people can enjoy them
Steven Smith, shoe collector

First released in 2009, Yeezy trainers, the brain child of West, proved so popular, that adidas invited the rapper to bring the collection under its umbrella in 2013, offering a financial deal that was its largest offer to a non-athlete.

Fuelled by West’s personal draw, his unconventional designs and his sophisticated release strategy that kept audiences on tenterhooks with unexpected midnight drops, Yeezys were possibly the most famous trainer in the world at one point, prompting Forbes to describe it as “one of the great retail stories of the century” in 2020.

Seemingly untouchable, every design was snapped up by an eager audience, generating sales worth more than $1 billion a year.

Then it all went wrong, with West's very public self destruction in 2022, resulting in his being dropped from major deals by adidas and Gap, effectively wiping millions off his fortune. While adidas had apparently been tolerating increasingly poor behaviour from West behind the scenes for years, when he posted racist and antisemitic rants, the brand was forced to make a public stand and sever all contact.

Unsure of what to do with the warehouses of unsold Yeezy stock, adidas paused all sales as it gauged public reaction, later announcing it would resume selling Yeezys at the start of this year, quietly restoring them to the shop floor.

Speaking with The National, Smith says old stock trainers being sent to outlets is not surprising, even if designed by Kanye West. “I am a Yeezy fan myself and I am happy adidas is putting them in the market at 50 per cent off or even more, so more people can enjoy them.

“But this is old stock, so it is not big deal they are being sold at outlets; even Jordans are sold at outlets,” he explains.

Responses to Smith's post have been vocal, with some criticising the shoes on sale as being designs and colours not sanctioned by West, with one message reading: “These the unapproved colourways Ye was talking about.” Smith disagrees.

“The Yeezy 350v2 compact in black is there, and it's by Kanye,” he notes. Trainers are subjective, Smith adds, so while the colours on offer may not be to everyone's taste, “as well as being comfortable, you have to want to wear them, so if you don't like the shoe, don't buy it”, he says.

Other comments show that appetite for Yeezys is still strong, with some posting about travelling to the UAE to stock up on designs. “How much is a ticket to Dubai?” writes one person.

Could this price slash be the latest public humiliation for West? It comes after his fall from grace, public divorce from Kim Kardashian and recent efforts to fashion his new wife Bianca Censori (although it's unclear whether they are legally married) into a facsimile of Kardashian.

Are half-price trainers a sign that West has lost his dominance of pop culture and influence or is it, as Smith suggests, just a company recouping its investment? “With warehouses full of Yeezys, what else is adidas going to do? Of course, it is going to liquidate that inventory as, after all, these are two years old,” says Smith.

While adidas seems to be making no such move in America, there are reports of similar sales cropping up in Europe. Is this the start of a huge, final sell-off or merely good business practice, to clear the way for new designs? We'll have to wait and see.

Updated: June 04, 2024, 6:18 AM