Adidas has agreed a new long-term partnership with rapper Kanye West, who the German sportswear firm poached from arch rival Nike in 2013, helping to revive its business in the U.S. market. Adidas said on Wednesday that the deal is the most significant partnership created between a non-athlete and a sports brand and will develop beyond its current lifestyle focus to introduce new sports performance designs. The German sportswear giant also said it plans to open new stores selling West's new “Adidas + Kanye West" wares, which will include “options for both sport and street,” the Herzogenaurach-based company said.
Last year, Adidas introduced apparel and high-end sneakers designed by Mr. West in limited quantities—notably $350 gray suede high-tops called the Yeezy Boost 750 that have been selling for thousands of dollars on the secondary market. The company declined to provide sales figures for the Yeezys, though Adidas’s share of the more than $1 billion secondary market jumped from 1% to 30% since the shoes were introduced in February 2015, according to market tracker StockX, formerly known as Campless.
It is unclear how well Mr. West’s fashion brand will translate to athletes looking for performance footwear. In an interview, Mr. West said he hopes to get his sneakers on the feet of players for the National Basketball Association and the National Football League, though Adidas added no such plans are in place yet.