Yeezy posing infront of Adidas sign
Source: onathan Leibson/Getty Images for ADIDAS)

Kanye West's Business Partnership With Adidas Has Been Controversial — to Say the Least

The business relationship between Adidas and Kanye West has been troubled, to say the least. Here's a timeline of their partnership.


Apr. 27 2024, Published 10:43 p.m. ET

In the age of the question, “What are those?” Yeezy sneakers took the world by storm.

The partnership between Kanye West and Adidas has been full of ups and downs, and now the sportswear giant has completely cut ties with West.

The fallout happened in October 2022 after Ye made multiple antisemitic comments while sporting a “White Lives Matter” t-shirt at Paris Fashion Week. Shortly after, Adidas decided to take their business in a different direction.

Their split happened after years of success for both Adidas and Ye. Here is a breakdown of the biggest moments of their partnership.

2013 — Kanye West and Adidas launch their partnership.

 Kanye West performs during Kanye West Yeezy Season 3 on February 11, 2016 in New York City.
Source: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Yeezy Season 3

Adidas and Kanye West excitedly announced their partnership in 2013 after Ye cut ties with Nike.

Ye was reportedly dissatisfied with his deal, which stated that he wouldn't receive royalties from sneaker sales. At the time, rappers could not receive royalties from sneaker sales as that clause was reserved for athletes.

Article continues below advertisement

2015 — Adidas Yeezy’s make their debut in stores.

2015 was a great year for Ye, with him being named one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People and the debut of his first collaboration with Adidas.

The Yeezy Boost 750s were released in February 2015. In June 2015, the Yeezy 350s also debuted in multiple colorways.

2016 — Adidas extends their deal with Kanye West.

As Yeezys grew more popular, Adidas decided to make another deal with the rapper and designer. After the company reversed a streak of U.S. Market share losses, Yahoo Finance named Adidas Business of the Year.

In 2016, Yeezy launched the Ultraboost and the NMD sneaker models that rose to success thanks to their modern look and comfortable style.

Article continues below advertisement

2017 — Adidas drops the Wave Runner 700s.

One of the most popular shoes of the Yeezy line debuted in 2017. The Wave Runner 700 became increasingly popular because of its “dad shoe” silhouette. The chunky multicolor shoes sold for $300 during the summertime.

Though Nike remained the No. 1 brand on the market, Yeezy followed behind closely at No. 2. The same year, Kanye gifted his then-wife Kim Kardashian $200,000 worth of stock in Adidas.

2019 — Yeezy Day causes controversy.

On Yeezy Day, Adidas released new and restocked styles, allowing fans to shop for popular styles at retail prices.

He argued that he should have become Adidas’ creative director because of the success of the Yeezy line. Later, Kanye revealed that Adidas did not ask for his permission to run the promotion in the first place.

Article continues below advertisement

2020 — West makes a serious request for a seat on the board of directors.

yeezy presi edit
Source: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

- Kanye West, the entertainment mogul who urges listeners in one song to "reach for the stars, so if you fall, you land on a cloud," announced SJuly 4, 2020, he is challenging Donald Trump for the US presidency in 2020.

Around 2020, Ye’s behavior became increasingly erratic. He demanded a seat on Adidas's board of directors and said he would wear Jordans until they agreed. On Independence Day, he announced his run for president.

2021 — Kanye West sues Walmart.

red yeezy foams edit
Source: Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images

A fashion week guest seen wearing red adidas yeezy shoes, outside paul and joe during London Fashion Week September 2022 on September 17, 2022 in London, England.

The Foam Runners unexpectedly debuted in the summer of 2020 and quickly became a wardrobe staple for many sneakerheads.

They became infamous because of the way resellers inflated their price while flipping them. They debuted at $90 and would often be sold for triple the price.

Article continues below advertisement

Kanye took legal action against Walmart in 2021 for selling replica versions for $20 to $30 dollars. After taking the case to court, both parties settled for an undisclosed amount.

2022 — Adidas terminates its partnership with Kanye West.

In a viral rant, Ye told hosts of the Drink Champs podcast:​​ "The thing about me and Adidas is like, I can literally say antisemitic s**t, and they can't drop me. I can say antisemitic things, and Adidas can't drop me. Now what? Now what?"

Adidas indeed terminated its deal with Ye on October 25th, noting that the company "does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech."

It’s not just a magazine. It’s a lifestyle!

Sign up for our newsletter for early access to content, special promotions and giveaways.

Dope content. No spam. We promise.

More from Bleu Mag

Opt-out of personalized ads

© Copyright 2024 Bleu Mag. Bleu Mag is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.