In October 2022, adidas decided to end the partnership between adidas and Kanye West with immediate effect. The brand expected to take a financial hit of $250 million. In February 2023, it was revealed that this amount would even rise to a whopping $527.5 million. However, this is not the biggest problem. CEO Bjørn Gulden explained that adidas has to decide what to do with $1.3 billion worth of unsold Yeezy trainers. And that's no easy task!
CEO Bjørn Gulden says selling the popular shoe line means paying royalties to Ye. Who was sidelined by adidas five months ago after he made anti-Semitic comments on social media and in interviews.
Burning the sneakers is not sustainable, although some companies have offered recycling solutions. The CEO says: "Depending on who you talk to, people will say you can't destroy it because it's a sustainability issue, right? So, please don't destroy it."
Re-stitching the sneakers to hide the Yeezy brand would have a negative effect on the brand's reputation. So that too is not an option.
One possible option would be to give away the kicks to people affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. However, Bjørn Gulden says that even this is not possible. Because the sneakers have such a high market value, they will soon appear on marketplaces.
That it is a complicated issue is clear. Gulden says they are in discussions with the people most hurt by this situation to find a solution. In any case, we are very curious to know what they will do with the $1.3 billion worth of unsold Yeezy sneakers. What would you do with the remaining Yeezys? Let us know via our Instagram!