Demand has surged — not slumped — for Kanye West’s Yeezy sneakers, one CEO says

Originally Published: 27 FEB 23 08:10 ET

    (CNN) — Adidas last year dumped Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) and his once hugely popular Yeezy clothing and sneaker brand because of his antisemitic remarks. But the controversy has seemingly spurred demand for the shoes.

Yeezy sneakers currently are among the top three sellers on Impossible Kicks, a large online reseller of high-end sneakers and clothing that has 17 store locations in the United States.

“Demand for Yeezys has surged 30% since last October-November,” said John Mocadlo, CEO of Impossible Kicks. He said Yeezy sneakers are among the top three most-popular brands on the platform after Jordans and other Nike footwear, including Dunk and Air Max shoes.

“We sell about 30,000 sneakers in total every month. Probably 6,000 to 7,000 of those right now are Yeezys,” he said.

The Yeezy 350 with black and white in the shoe’s color pattern are among the most sought-after at resale, and priced 20% to 40% above the shoe’s retail value, said Mocadlo. The price at resale for those two options ranges from $350 to $400. The boosted sales of Yeezy’s at resale wouldn’t benefit West because the secondary market represents items that were already purchased.

Mocadlo said many customers hoping to score Yeezy sneakers look at them as collector’s items, hoping to see a further increase in value, while others simply like their style and comfort of the sneakers and want to add them to their wardrobe.

Many customers, he said, are unaware of the controversy tied to the brand’s designer. “I’m very surprised by that,” he said.

Adidas, which had partnered with West since 2013 to produce and market his Yeezy brand, wasn’t the only company to cut ties with Ye because of his antisemitic remarks.

The fallout extended to Gap, which removed all Yeezy Gap merchandise from its stores. Footlocker, TJ Maxx and luxury fashion house Balenciaga also broke ties with Ye and stopped selling Yeezy merchandise.

Adidas said earlier this month that it expects to lose $1.3 billion in revenue this year after ending its nine-year partnership with Ye, leaving the company stuck with a lot of unsold Yeezy-branded merchandise. Adidas said it would try to repurpose some of it without the Yeezy branding.

Mocadlo said Impossible Kicks has about $2 million in Yeezy sneaker inventory currently, about 10,000 pairs. “It is getting a little bit difficult to get more because the inventory is starting to dry up after the controversy,” he said.

So now prices for Yeezy sneakers are climbing due to tighter supply, according to StockX, a leading sneaker resale platform.

“Since the start of the year, the average price of Yeezy sneakers has increased but sales overall have decreased on StockX,” Drew Haines, director of sneakers and collectibles at StockX, told CNNBusiness. “This is in line with the principles of supply and demand and consistent with what we’d expect to happen when no new supply is in the market.”

StockX declined to comment specifically on demand for Yeezy sneakers on its platform.

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