Yeezy Mass Production Could Have a Long-Term Negative Impact

Kanye West said he wants more people to have access to his sneakers, and Adidas granted his wish with the mass release of the Yeezy Boost 350 V2 “Triple White” on Sept. 21. But one industry expert believes this was a bad idea — and it could potentially have a negative impact on the rapper-turned-designer’s shoe sales.

Matt Powell, senior sports industry advisor with The NPD Group Inc., compared on Twitter yesterday the “Triple White” drop to Reebok’s mass production of rap megastar Jay-Z’s shoe in 2003.

“The latest Yeezy release still has not sold out. Resale price is barely above MSRP. Hearing Adidas will release more than a million pair between black friday and new year’s day. S. Carter all over again,” Powell wrote.

Powell explained to FN that when Reebok kept the S. Carter limited, it sold out quickly. “I was in the Villa store, the only store to have the sneakers on the day of the launch, and I had never seen anything like it, the frenzy of people trying to buy the shoe,” he said.

But when production ramped up to what he said was 500,000 pairs, the sneakers sat around collecting dust and eventually ended up on the shelves at TJ Maxx.

What makes the Yeezy releases different from the S. Carter shoes, Powell explained, is the consumer who is buying them. According to Powell, S. Carter consumers bought the shoes to wear them, but Yeezy consumers are buying them to sell on the secondary market.

“The fervor around the West product is that it could be flipped for multiple times the initial price,” the industry expert stated. “People weren’t looking at it as a shoe they had to have or wanted to wear. It was a shoe I could make a lot of money on.”

And since limited quantities drives demand, and this particular Yeezy style is widely available, there’s no reason for its core consumers to buy it.

“If there’s far too much product in the marketplace, way above the level of demand, the interest completely collapses,” Powell said. “When there’s too much supply, resale collapses.”

Powell compared Yeezy mass production to Jordan Brand’s retro lineup, which at one time was dominant because of the quick sell-through of limited releases at retail (which then had a high resale value), but nowadays struggles to sell out in stores weeks after release date. And he believes the impact of putting too much into the marketplace could prove harmful.

“If the reason people are buying this shoe is to flip it, and now you can buy the shoe because there’s a lot of supply so you can’t flip it, are you ever going to come back and buy another one?” Powell said. “Once you break the paradigm, as we saw with Jordan, it’s a long process to build back that credibility. And it means you’re going to do less business in the short term, as we see with Jordan.”

As of 6 p.m. ET, Yeezysupply.com still has several sizes of the Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2 “Triple White” available at retail price. However, the sneakers are sold out on Adidas.com. And via Stockx.com, the lowest reported resale asking price for the shoe is $220 (the amount it retails for), with the highest hitting $350 for a size 16.

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