The sneaker, initially to be called the Adidas Yeezy 451, represents a new silhouette for the popular brand. The unique—and divisive—construction places a knit upper snugly within a ribcage-like outsole that reaches up along the sides of the shoe.
The sneaker was available exclusively through Yeezy Supply for $200. Resale prices have hovered in the $300s and $400s for most sizes in the days since.
Though West first shared sketches of the Adidas Yeezy 450 Cloud White design on social media back in July 2018, the public got its first look at the product in person a year ago, when West wore the sneakers himself to Paris Fashion Week. Last summer, Yeezy Supply previewed another, darker colorway utilizing the same unique outsole as the Cloud White.
The short sales window, while good news for Yeezy, irked many fans, who took to Twitter to complain about trouble accessing the site.
“I woke up at 7AM, yes 7 am, to see ‘hmm it seems we’ve ran into a problem loading this section’ This is not fair, nor right!” wrote @YashMahatma.
Extremely limited drops, such as the Cloud White, also enable practiced scalpers to turn a tidy profit by using specialized computer programs, aka sneaker bots, to systematically buy up shoes. In one case detailed in a recent Bloomberg article, a scalper—the son of a now former Nike executive—coordinated with 15 allies to buy up 600 pairs of Adidas’ Yeezy Boost 350 Zyon sneakers for $132,000, only to then sell them off at a $20,000 profit.
West’s Yeezy line has grown to be one of the more exclusive sneaker brands out there, often selling out quickly and fetching much higher prices on resale sites. The Yeezy brand proved especially popular last year, moving up 10 slots on StockX’s list of most popular brands in 2020, behind Jordan Brand, Nike, Adidas, Converse and New Balance. Yeezy slides, up 400 percent on the resale site, saw particular success as consumers embraced comfort last year.
Last June, Gap Inc. inked a major, 10-year partnership with West and his Yeezy brand. The collaboration, anticipated to be a major sales driver for Gap this year, is expected to deliver a co-branded line of apparel and accessories to market in the first half of 2021. Images collected from West’s tweets over the past year have indicated several potential Yeezy x Gap products, including a T-shirt, hoodie, flight jacket, roper boot, transporter bag, windbreaker and foam runner.