Yeezys may be canceled by Adidas, but the shoes are still a hot commodity for sneakerheads.
In the wake of Kanye West’s controversial statements, including anti-Semitic remarks, Adidas ranks among the many corporations that have cut ties with the rapper — announcing this week that it will stop manufacturing his Yeezy sneakers.
“Right now, I have 10 Yeezys, but I had 40 or 50,” Kelechi Asoluka, 33, told The Post. “The prices started going up like crazy and I started selling them. A few weeks ago, I sold Yeezys for as much as $800 a pair. I originally bought them for maybe $250 to $350 each.”
In fact, the New Jersey-based personal trainer and sneaker restorer said, he probably could have gotten more than the $10,000 or so he’s earned in the past few weeks.
“I thought prices would go up and then drop; that was why I sold them so fast,” Kelechi said. “But I kind of messed up. I sold my Yeezy 750s for $800. Now they’re going for $1,000 to $2,000. I’m pissed.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, the “market has been going insane” ever since Adidas pulled the plug, with some Yeezy prices jumping in excess of 20 percent.
“Recently, [West’s] stuff was not doing as well as it had, because it was just becoming another tennis shoe,” reseller Isiah Davis-Jackson, who has $30,000 worth of Yeezys, told The Post. “Now, because people think he’s done, the shoes are back in style.”
Scarcity is a big part of it. Not only has Adidas halted production, but the secondary market has shrunk. Resale platforms like the Real Real and Rebag refuse to feature any West-related merchandise; even Goodwill has ceased accepting it. Christie’s auction house canceled an exhibit and auction of coveted trainers from West’s line, including a pair of prototype Nike Air Yeezys that sold for $1.8 million last year.
In the sneaker world, it’s all about rarity; the more limited an edition, the better. “Every few years, Kanye and Adidas would do reissues,” Kelechi said. “So you never knew when [a model] would come back” — and potentially decrease values. Now, he said, even the most popular Yeezys “are definitely not coming back.”
(Adidas revealed plans to come out with an iteration of the shoes, which were originally made with Nike, that will not have the Yeezy brand attached to it. The products will instead be branded simply as Adidas.)
Kelechi’s brother, Ify Asoluka, is so bullish on the resale market he’s decided to ride it out a while.
“I have a good 10 pair of Yeezys,” Ify, a 30-year-old model, told The Post. “I’m holding onto them. I think they will keep going up. People still love Kanye, he still has his supporters and they will keep wearing his stuff.”
Alvin Canty, a 32-year-old project manager in Washington, DC, is holding on to his 50 pairs of Yeezys, too, but he feels weird about it. He once liked them so much that he even wore a pair of 500s for a half-marathon. “The shoes are very comfortable and people thought they looked cool,” he told The Post. “I stopped wearing Yeezys for now. I don’t support him and I don’t support what he is saying. It sucks because I am a fan of Kanye’s music and his shoes, and I like to support Black people. But I can’t support him anymore.”
That said, he’s not getting rid of the shoes. “I have Yeezy 350s from when the sneakers first began coming out,” he said — name-checking a style going for $1,530 at StadiumGoods.
“I’m a collector, Canty said. “I have faith to a certain extent. I feel the brand has value … and prices can go up but it all depends on how [and if] Kanye does his apology tour.”
Still, some experts think the moment has passed.
“I think you will see declining interest over time,” said Matt Halfhill, founder and CEO of Nice Kicks, a site devoted to the sneaker game. “Supply and demand drive prices. Right now there is demand while supply is fixed. But I have heard from consumers that they are not as impressed with having a Yeezy product as they once were.”
Danny Shiff falls into that category. The real estate investor, 47, is so disgusted with West’s behavior that he made sure at least some of the 50 Yeezys that he owns will never again trod the floor of his Miami home.
“I burned 10 pairs,” Shiff told The Post. “I was a fan of his and think he is talented. But now I have no interest in wearing them. I still have 40 [pairs] at home. I am going to sell them for charity and might make an art piece out of the burned ones. I’ll sell it at Art Basel and give the money to charity.”
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