The rise and fall of the adidas Yeezy

The sneakers that resulted from the collaboration of the German company adidas and the American rapper Kanye West have long since gone far beyond the subculture of sneakerheads. Today, who does not know the name Yeezy and the groundbreaking sneakers that are inextricably linked with the name Ye. In 2015 adidas was on top with them and the adidas Yeezy Boost was the most wanted sneaker in the world. One of the most iconic sneaker lines, which at one time even wanted to "skip Jumpman", but ended after nine years after the famous rapper's controversial statements. What models emerged from the collaboration and what ultimately ended it?

The beginnings of cooperation
The first news that the Chicago rapper might be moving from Nike to adidas appeared already at the end of 2013. With Nike, Kanye released several sneakers, the most famous without a doubt being the Nike Air Yeezy 1 and 2, which were last released in 2014. Long-lasting frustration with the small creative liberties and a dispute over royalties eventually led Kanye to adidas , with whom he signed a $10 million contract. The collaboration's first big wave of success came in mid-2015 when West appeared at the Billboard Music Awards in a pair of all-white adidas Ultra Boosts.

Rocket launch
However, the year 2015 can be considered the first year of collaboration between Kanye and adidas , in which the Yeezies first started to come out. During Yeezy Season 1, the first silhouette of the adidas Yeezy line was introduced – the gray adidas Yeezy Boost 750 , which was inspired by UGG boots and enhanced with Boost technology in addition to the groundbreaking design. The military-inspired Yeezy 950 Duckboot model was also introduced at the same fashion show, which became the most expensive Yeezy model with a price tag of $585.

But a complete turning point came with the release of adidas Yeezy Boost 350 'Turtle Dove' sneakers. The premium sneakers combined Kanye's futuristic design with adidas' best technologies – Primeknit and BOOST . Sneakers literally took the entire sneaker world by storm when they redefined the word hype. People coveting Yeezy sneakers spent days on sidewalks with folding chairs and tents outside stores to secure the world's hottest sneaker. Still perhaps the most essential model of the adidas Yeezy line, it later came out in ' Pirate Black ', 'Moonrock' and 'Oxford Tan' colorways.

350 V2, 700 and 500 models
Other models did not take long to arrive. In 2016, the most popular model from Kanye West's workshop came out, the adidas Yeezy 350 V2 sneaker. These complemented the shortcomings of the previous model with a higher midsole and a new Primeknit upper design. The first colorway was a gray ' Beluga ' with a contrasting orange stripe on the side, which first introduced us to the SPLY 350 lettering (but the meaning of which was never explained). Undoubtedly one of the most popular sneakers in the world, they sold out at an astronomical rate and quickly became a hot item on the resell market.

Exactly one year later during Yeezy Season 5, Kanye comes with another hype bomb – the adidas Yeezy Boost 700 'Wave Runner '. They did depart from a number of previous designs, which displeased many fans. But that didn't have to bother adidas, because the sneaker release hit the hot trend of dad shoes.

Kanye hit the dad shoes trend with another model. Unlike the groundbreaking and futuristic adidas Yeezy 500 sneakers, they were spotted on the rapper's feet several times during 2017, but fans did not see the release of this model (without Boost) until 2018.

Yeezy for everyone
In 2018, a process was launched that had only one goal: Yeezy for everyone. At that time, adidas Yeezys were already in full swing, but despite this, they always sold out. Only the 350 V2 model came out in almost every convertible earth color. Yeezys came out more often and the hype died down, along with the price on the secondary market.

The release of Yeezy sneakers took place almost every week at that time, and in addition to the aforementioned sneakers, adidas Yeezy Powerphase, Yeezy Boost 380 and, in 2019, the well-known adidas Yeezy Slide slippers were also released. They were followed a year later by the Yeezy QNTM sneakers, which were released during the NBA All-Star Weekend in Kanye's home Chicago, and the futuristic Yeezy Foam Runner slippers in the same year. One of the last models of the entire adidas Yeezy line was the adidas Yeezy Knit Runner in 2021.

End of cooperation
The ideal state of Kanye's collaboration with adidas slowly began to fade in the middle of 2022. The first real problem came with the release of the new adidas Adilette 22 slippers, when Kanye accused the company of copying his Yeezy Slide silhouette. At that point, an offer came from adidas indicating that they were still willing to work without Kanye. Adidas offered him almost 1.2 billion dollars for the sale of the YEEZY brand.

Kanye's displeasure rocked the sneaker internet at the time. Another highlight was the message the rapper sent to the media company Complex. In it, he complained about the so-called Yeezy Day concept, which adidas organized without his permission. It is said that the company did not ask for this even during the re-releases of the iconic Yeezy colorways.

West's contract with adidas was supposed to last until 2026. But it was terminated by the German company on October 25, 2022. In addition to disagreements with adidas, Kanye began to hate Jews at that time and made the situation even worse by commenting on the alleged cause of George Floyd's death. And to make matters worse, he even managed to compare the company's vice president, Torben Schumacher, to a porn actor at a private meeting.

Kanye's fortune dropped very quickly from two billion dollars to "only" 400 million, and Kanye almost disappeared from the public space since then. What will happen next is almost certain. In the middle of 2023, in the middle of one of the very last adidas Yeezy releases, the company's CEO Bjørn Gulden announced that adidas would not return to releasing Yeezy models (whose patents they own the rights to).

One of the legendary tennis collaborations ended in 2023.

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