When Kanye West joined forces with Adidas to create the Yeezy trainers, it was one of the biggest collaborations in history.
However, since the rapper’s behaviour began to unravel, the sportswear manufacturer has been left with $1.2 billion (£1 billion) of unsold sneakers it doesn’t know what to do with.
Adidas’ relationship with Kanye came to an end after he made anti-Semitic comments on social media last year, with the manufacturer wanting to be associated with the same discriminatory thoughts as the musician.
Since then, its total revenue has fallen by one per cent, reducing sales by €400 million during the first quarter of 2023. In fact, the German brand is facing its first loss in over 30 years, as a result.
Although there has been speculation the unsold Yeezys would be destroyed, chief executive of Adidas Bjoern Gulden has denied this.
Speaking at the annual shareholder meeting, he said: “What we are trying to do now over time is to sell some of this merchandise… burning the goods would not be a solution.”
Instead of donating the €1.2 billion worth of Yeezy shoes it still has in storage to charities, it has decided to sell it. This is because Adidas does not want to see the products on the black market, which could cost customers even more without the sportswear manufacturer benefiting financially.
Failing to sell the unsold stock could result in a loss of its operating profit by as much as €500 million this year. However, The Sun estimates this could be as much as £611 million.
Kanye would be entitled to some of the profits from the sales, which Adidas is not happy about, but this is in his terms of contract.
According to Sportskeeda, he could receive 15 per cent for each pair of sneakers sold in royalties, giving the 45-year-old a tidy profit.
Some investors are now suing Adidas, claiming it knew about the rapper’s erratic behaviour prior to cutting ties with the multi-award winner.
They argue the brand failed to take action early enough to reduce financial losses.
However, Mr Gulden came to Ye’s defence, saying: “As difficult as he was, he is perhaps the most creative mind in our industry.”
When it comes to those who already own a pair of infants’ Adidas Yeezy Quantums or other models from the collaboration, they might find their sneakers become collector’s items.
Once the remaining stock is sold, their trainers will no longer be in circulation, meaning their footwear could be highly sought after in years to come.
In fact, this could encourage investors to snap up as many Yeezy sneakers as possible while they are still available, as they might be worth considerably more in the future.
Not only are they the limited product of a world-famous design collaboration, but the way the partnership was severed adds historical value to their worth.