In October 2022, one of the most successful sneaker partnerships of all time came to an end. Adidas parted ways with Ye — formerly known as Kanye West — following a host of controversial statements and anti-Semitic comments. With more of the industry’s biggest names severing ties with the American artist in recent months, including Balenciaga, GAP and Vogue, fans are now beginning to question the future of the collaborative brand. Here, we take a look back at Yeezy’s journey and explore the next steps for adidas x Yeezy sneakers. 

Since joining forces in 2015, adidas and Ye have created a succession of coveted designs. Ye first signed with the German brand after leaving his partnership with Nike due to a lack of creative control, then debuted his first release with adidas: the Yeezy Boost 750. Months later, his second collaboration — the Yeezy Boost 350 — was not only named 2015’s “Shoe of the Year”, but became an instant bestseller across the globe. The duo went on to introduce a selection of styles that challenged the status quo and set a new standard for progressive sneaker designs. 

After seven years of sell-out releases, adidas terminated its contract with Yeezy. The sportswear brand removed all Yeezy stock from production and, in some cases, recalled the shoes from stores. Reporting a loss of $246,000,000 at the end of 2022, questions were posed as to whether adidas would continue selling Ye’s vast array of sneaker designs to the masses and who would have the right to the products. A month later, adidas had all the answers. CFO Harm Ohlymeye confirmed in the brand’s quarterly report that it has every intention of selling Yeezy-designed products — only this time, without any Yeezy logos. Legal documents shared by Ohlymeye revealed that adidas holds the trademarks to most of the Yeezy silhouettes, while Ye maintains the patent to a single style of note — the Yeezy Slide

Fast forward to 2023 — following months of silence from adidas — rumours have started circling as to when the first instalment of the new Yeezy sneakers will arrive. A pair of 350s were slated to release in January, while fake images of Yeezy products continue to spark the interest of news outlets worldwide. Amid the speculation and hearsay of what’s to come, one of the models most likely to return this year is the Yeezy 500. Revealed via leaked pictures online, the upcoming pair showcases a similar design to its predecessors with a few signature updates; chiselled soles, adiPrene cushioning and an absence of Yeezy branding. 

However, aside from the occasional sighting of a potential release and reports of a new creative partner, including Fear of God founder Jerry Lorenzo, Yeezy’s future is uncertain. Adidas’ hopes to recapture its audience through its new collection has left fans wanting more, but without Ye’s presence and pull the success of the upcoming releases remains in doubt. With a brand resurgence on its hands and the promise of all-new styles, Yeezy has a lot to live up to this year. Our prediction for the future of adidas x Yeezy sneakers? Collaborations with heavyweight brands, a bigger focus on sustainability, and more restocks than ever before.