In 2015, rapper and fashion designer, Kanye West released his first Yeezy collaboration with Adidas. Within the following weeks, the world was officially introduced to the Yeezy epidemic.
Sneaker bots ✓Footwear apps downloaded ✓Tents ✓All shoe sites running ✓
The demand for Yeezys became a top priority. People spent days lining up just to secure a pair of the coveted Yeezy Boost social media had been raving about. By the early morning, sneakerheads along with men and women of ages filled the sidewalks around the world to become the first to purchase the limited edition Yeezys. Lining up to attempt to purchase a pair quickly became an uncanny yet modern phenomenon. It was official, Kanye West’s Yeezy Boosts had made a significant cultural impact in just a short period of time. Yeezys were undeniable. Whenever you entered a room with a pair of Yeezys, heads world turn.
If you landed a pair of limited edition Yeezy Boosts, you had officially won the battle for sneaker recognition. “How were you able to cop a pair? I’ll buy them off of you right now?!” The influence of Kanye West as a sneaker and fashion artist was undeniable as sites sold out around the world within minutes. The demand was so high, buyers needed to win a ballot to be offered a chance to secure a pair. People were already posting their confirmed shoe purchases and selling them for triple the price before they even shipped out. Yeezy had made their mark.
The excitement over the Yeezy Boost confirmed the hypebeast epidemic… "Hypebeast Culture.” However, there’s a shift that’s occurring. Within this last year, the demand is slowly dying down. From 2015 to 2017, the resale market for Yeezy Boosts changed the sneaker game. Sneakerheads could sell their pairs for approximately $850 to $5,000. Now, the Yeezy Boosts 350 and 350 V2 models range from $265 to $675. Are Yeezys losing their value?
Is sneaker culture dying? Sneakers aren’t dying but the hypebeast epidemic we’ve been experiencing over the last few years is being to fade. Off White, Fear of God, Supreme, and Yeezy are all suddenly starting to decrease in hype. This could be due to the swift increase in the resale markets which led to an inflated market in the sneaker world. However, the lack in Yeezy sneaker hype is also accompanied by Adidas’ releases followed by a quick turn over for re-releases. More pairs have been available than ever before. In addition, Yeezys could potentially be saturating the market with too many colorways of the exact same shoe. People are more apt to buy shoes when they are viewed as exclusive. No longer are Yeezys perceived as limited edition because they are easily accessible on sneaker sites such as StockX and GOAT.
Conversely, many top shoes stores are no longer housing high-demand releases while also doing away with campouts and lines. So, what does this mean for the sneaker culture? Yeezy’s are only a small part of sneaker culture. This could potentially suggest it’s time for a new era within the sneaker world. Kanye West’s beloved Yeezy Boost that were once noted as the Shoe of the Year have definitely gone down in value. However, even if Yeezys begin to fade the sneaker culture will always remain.
By Brionna Taylor