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Big-spending sneakerheads gear up for Yeezy mania

Kanye West's latest pair of kicks drop this weekend and judging by previous releases, more blockbuster sales are expected.

The new Yeezy Boost 350 V2, a tie-up between the rapper and adidas, launches worldwide on Saturday, retailing at around $220.

West's Yeezy label carries a range of footwear but his collaborations with adidas and Nike tend to generate elevated excitement. Saturday's launch builds on 2015's Yeezy Boost 350 model, but will incorporate neon colors for the first time.

In Singapore, a country known for its passionate shoppers, the hype is particularly high for the new model that will sell for 349 Singapore dollars, a premium on the U.S. price.

Limited Edt, one of two retailers on the island to carry Yeezy sneakers, expects to instantly sell out.

"Every release is anticipated with bated breath and in terms of interest level, it's surpassed all other sneaker models across all brands," co-founder Mandeep Chopra says.

The store only gets around 30 pairs per Yeezy launch so it sells new models using a raffle method. For Saturday, Limited Edt is teaming up with local streetwear publication Straatosphere for the live raffle event, which will be attended by 200 lucky preselected shoppers.

"Sadly, I don't own any Yeezy sneakers. Hopefully, it'll change with this Saturday's drop...It [the Boost 350 V2] may not be the nicest model he's released but I still think its cool," a 19-year old student, who only wanted to be known as Ian, tells CNBC.

Yeezys benefit from West's rap superstardom and larger-than-life persona, bringing in a wider market of fans and even more cash.

"Yeezys are one of the most sought-after shoes and because demand far exceeds supply, people are willing to fork out big money for it," Chopra explains.

A look at the secondary sneaker market confirms that theory; older Yeezy models were going for more than double retail price on local marketplace Carousel.

The tan-colored Boost 350 Oxford retailed for around S$330 when it was released in December, but a used pair was selling for S$1,299 on Carousel. Meanwhile, the Boost 350 Moonrock model sold for S$329 at its launch but a used pair was listed for S$1,350.

Samantha Fong, 21, tells CNBC she purchased the Moonrocks and ended up selling them for a profit of S$800.

The global secondary sneaker market—estimated to be worth $6 billion, according to StockX—is accustomed to such exorbitant mark-ups. Described as the world's first stock market for sneakers, StockX launched in February to facilitate the increasing amount of trade between sneakerheads.

But brick-and-mortar retailers aren't fazed by the online market.

Kanye West at an event announcing a partnership with Adidas on June 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California.
Getty Images
Kanye West at an event announcing a partnership with Adidas on June 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California.

"The hype just fuels people's hunger to buy the shoe at retail. Otherwise, they know they are going to pay crazy prices," Chopra reckons.

Often compared to commodities, rare sneakers typically appreciate in value and join the ranks of high-value collectibles such as wine and watches.

Air Jordan, Eminem and Carhartt—three iconic brands—designed an exclusive sneaker to be auctioned for charity last November. Only ten pairs were produced, with one fetching a whopping $30,100 and the 10 in total raising $227,552.

Kanye-mania isn't limited to just shoes, however.

Last month, 39-year-old West launched a global series of pop-up shops for his new clothing line Pablo, named after West's latest album "Life of Pablo." Singapore was the only Asian city on the list, and the three-day shop drew long overnight queues.

"I wished I bought more items at the store to make a quick buck," said Fong, who spent S$180 on a sweatshirt and a t-shirt. "If I were to sell the t-shirt, I could probably make a 100 percent profit."

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