Some of Adidas’ remaining Yeezy shoes are back on sale — months after the German sportswear company cut ties with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West.
Adidas ended its yearslong partnership with Ye in late October, in light of his antisemitic remarks and other harmful behavior. In the months that followed, the fate of $1.3 billion worth of unsold Yeezys remained unknown — until earlier this month, when Adidas CEO Bjørn Gulden announced the company would be selling a portion of the remaining inventory and donating some of the proceeds to social justice organizations.
The first batch of Adidas’ remaining Yeezys went on sale Wednesday. At this time, the sneakers appear to be available through Adidas’ app “Confirmed,” according to the retailer’s website. Part of the profits will be donated to organizations including the Anti-Defamation League and the Philonise & Keeta Floyd Institute for Social Change, Adidas says.
Wednesday’s release marks the first time that Adidas has sold Yeezys since the partnership termination in October. The Yeezy products up for sale include already-existing designs as well as those that were initiated in 2022 and set to be released in 2023, Adidas previously noted.
“We believe (selling and donating these Yeezys) is the best solution as it respects the created designs and produced shoes, it works for our people, resolves an inventory problem, and will have a positive impact in our communities,” Gulden said in an May 19 statement.
At a May 11 annual shareholder meeting, Gulden explained the company made the decision to sell and donate Yeezys after speaking with nongovernmental organizations and groups that were harmed by Ye’s comments and actions.
Some details of Adidas’ plans are still unclear — including how many Yeezys will eventually go on sale and what portion of sales will be donated. The Associated Press reached out to Adidas for further information Wednesday.
Cutting ties with Ye cost Adidas hundreds of millions of dollars — contributing to a loss of $655 million in sales for the last three months of 2022, which helped drive the company to a quarterly net loss of 513 million euros.
Adidas reported $441 million in lost sales at the start of 2023, the company announced this month.
Net sales declined 1% in the first quarter, to 5.27 billion euros, the company said. It reported a net loss of 24 million euros, a plunge from a profit of 310 million euros in the same period a year ago.
Operating profit, which excludes some items like taxes, was down to 60 million euros from 437 million euros a year earlier.
Meanwhile, investors also filed a class-action lawsuit against Adidas in late April, alleging the company knew about offensive remarks and harmful behavior from Ye years before terminating its pact with him. Adidas has pushed back on the allegations.