Adidas has been one of the titans of the sneaker trade since the 1940s, partnering with a variety of celebrities over the years. One of their most recent collaborative efforts was with the often divisive rapper Kanye West. Famous for popping off on Twitter and now suing Wal-Mart for copying his signature shoes, Kanye’s specific style has taken off in the urban market.
One way this has happened is through his famous YEEZY shoes. What are YEEZY shoes, and are they worth the massive investment they often entail? Here’s what you need to know.
What Are YEEZY Shoes?
First things first, you may be wondering, “What are YEEZY shoes?” As we mentioned above, YEEZY shows are a creation of the self-proclaimed genius mind of Kanye West. They’re inspired by the name he took to elevate himself to the level of a rap god, Yeezus.
He first released YEEZY shoes in February of 2015, and they’ve been a fashion fixture in the years since. Additionally, all YEEZY shoes have been released in collaboration with German shoe giant Adidas.
Why Are YEEZY Shoes So Expensive?
Now that you understand what YEEZY shoes are, you might be wondering what factors contribute to their often several hundred dollar price tag. (Sometimes even several thousand dollars, depending on where you buy them from.)
So, why are YEEZY shoes so expensive? Some common reasons include:
They’re a Status Symbol for Young People
Kanye West was incredibly popular among Millennial rap fans for quite some time. He was well-known for not only his exceptional music and wordplay but his off-the-wall antics. However, in recent years, he’s turned off his main audience with his political ambitions and lack of dedication to his music.
All the same, the name alone commands attention, if not respect, making his shoes a status symbol for the young.
Limited Production Spikes the Value
Another reason YEEZY shoes are so expensive is due to their limited quantities. Both production and distribution are limited, forcing any would-be direct buyers to participate in a ballot system. Or else, to chance their luck with traditional retailers. Considering the fact that most stores only get around 30 pairs of YEEZYs at most when a new shoe launches, all we have to say is, “Good luck with that.”
Should a buyer fail to obtain their shoes through either method, they might not be able to get them at all. This is all thanks to…
Scalpers, Collectors, and Resellers Create a Scarcity
Scalpers and resellers are an issue for every industry, especially when the items come in limited quantities, to begin with. However, YEEZY slides and shoes demonstrate this issue more clearly than even many other famous sneakers on the market. Since manufacturers cap distribution, to begin with, resellers save and hoard the shoes as soon as they come into stock.
Then, they turn around and flip the shoes they picked up at retail price for three, five, even ten times their original price. If you want a YEEZY shoe or no shoe at all, then you’ll pay whatever price these sneaker hoarders set. Regardless of the legality of their business strategies.
In addition to scalpers and resellers, you also have the collection-minded sneaker-heads. They gather sneakers such as these, not to wear, but to display or show off. In a sense, they, too, are thinking about resale value, but many years further down the line than your average reseller.
Are YEEZY Shoes Worth the Cost?
Now that you understand why a pair of new YEEZY shoes cost so much, let’s get down to brass tacks. Are they really worth the price of investment? In truth, it depends on whether you purchase them at their original retail price or a reseller’s value.
At Retail Value? Yes!
At their original retail price, a Yeezy pair of shoes is well worth the price. The shoes are quite comfortable, made of decent material quality, and they’re lightweight. In a time where many companies focus on making their sneakers as big and heavy-duty as possible, a comfy, foot-hugging sneaker in neutral tones can be a godsend.
It’s a lot easier to dress up a nice pair of YEEZYs than it is to plan a semi-formal outfit around a pair of Air Jordans, for instance. A well-constructed, light, comfortable shoe that you can wear in many different contexts is worth a few hundred dollars.
At Resale Value? No, Not Really
As we mentioned above, resellers corner the market on YEEZY shoes, charging at least three times the retail value for them. This can take a pair of sneakers that’s ordinarily $350 and make its average price on the online market $1700 or more. No matter how comfortable and versatile a pair of sneakers might be, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a reason aside from celebrity endorsement and fame that will make them worth that price tag.
What’s worse, despite their quality materials, many reports indicated that the shoes could fall apart after a few months of heavy wear or some inclement weather. Shoes are meant to be worn, not displayed in a case. Especially if you’re dropping a thousand or more dollars on them at the point of purchase.
Curious About YEEZYs and Other Big Sneaker Brands?
Before reading this article, you might have wondered, “What are YEEZY shoes?” Simply put, YEEZYs are the ultimate hip-hop status symbol for the current generation, alongside many other prominent sneakers like Air Jordans.
However, while YEEZYS corner the retail and resale markets for sneakerheads, they’re far from the only or the best type of sneaker out there. If you want to learn more about the types of sneakers you can buy, or how they can affect your exercise routine, check out the Health section of our blog for more information!