Adidas VP Says Kanye West’s Yeezy Basketball Shoe Could Lift All Sneaker Brands

Kanye West’s Adidas Yeezy label has been red-hot, while basketball sneaker sales have been lagging in recent years.

A Yeezy Basketball line has been rumored since 2018, but a b-ball sneaker from the brand has yet to drop. According to Adidas Vice President of Global Entertainment & Influencer Marketing Jon Wexler, who was instrumental in bringing the music mogul aboard the Three Stripes team, a West entrance would move more than just Adidas’ hoops category.

He’s just such a master storyteller that people are kind of waiting for that next move, because they want to move how he’s moving,” Wexler said at a Saturday panel during ComplexCon Chicago. “If he moves into basketball, that’s going to actually help the entire category. That won’t just lift our basketball category but the whole industry.”

I know he’s passionate about it, as [he is about] everything that he puts his name on,” Wexler continued. “So when — or if— it comes out eventually, it will shake up the industry.”

According to experts, the declining interest in the basketball sneaker stems from its lack of off-court wearability — a result of how technology influences aesthetics. While shoes feature better tech than ever before, those advances have come at the cost of visual appeal, making the kicks too hard to style with street clothes.

Basketball shoes are supposed to be protection for your feet while on the court, so they have to offer some sort of speed, protection, ankle stability. It has to function,” designer Jeff Staple told FN. “These things go against the grain of the athleisure thing, for lack of a better word, of just being laid back and comfortable. We as humans just want to be cozy and comfortable, not protected and equipped.”

In contrast, aesthetics have been top of mind for West in designing his Yeezy kicks. The rapper often creates hundreds of prototypes until landing on a final design, tweaking tiny features before products go to market.

The “Gold Digger” hitmaker’s process has proved successful when it comes to sales. In the past year, West raked in $150 million in pre-tax income, mostly due to Yeezy. For 2019, the brand is expected to do a whopping $1.5 billion in sales.

Below, watch celebrity highlights from the FNAAs.

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