Why the PW Solar Hu NMD sold out on adidas.com but is still available at most other shops…

On November 10th, 2018, Adidas dropped yet another beautiful iteration of their Pharrell Williams X Adidas Hu Race pack from their ongoing collaboration. While the shoes are sold out on adidas.com as I write this, many of their retail partners still have plenty of pairs to go around. Why is this?



In short, the popularity of the collaboration has been declining since the Hu Race Trail 2017 release, which dropped around this same time last year.


2017 Human Race Trail Pack



While the 2017 drop sold out everywhere they were available and resale was extremely high on StockX, eBay, GOAT and elsewhere, this trend did not last long and by the spring of 2018 most colors from the pack could be had for a more bearable price point, slightly higher than the $250 MSRP. Only a few drops since have done well in maintaining their resale value but were usually China, Channel, and Complex exclusives.

Given the sentiment around this model for most of 2018 and a downward trend on StockX in resale prices, quite a few voices across the webosphere didn’t believe the 2018 November drop would sell out. They were largely right. While the shoes did sell out eventually on adidas.com, it took a while for this to happen. The two most hyped colors by user sentiment and preference, based on earlier analysis, sold out pretty quickly but the two remaining colors were available in decreasing sizes long into the late PM (EST) hours of Saturday night. On many retail partner sites, however, full size runs or most sizes were still available and are still available at the time of this article’s publication.

Why did they eventually sell out on adidas.com but are still available at retail partner stores in North America and several global destinations that got them?

  • Adidas was the main or most commonly known destination where the shoes would release.
  • There were several ways to obtain the shoes on adidas.com for under retail, which no partner site could match.

While I did not plan to write this article, I made an interesting and very telling discovery late into the evening of the release. This insight would have happened earlier in the day had I been focused on trending sentiment on Twitter and had I been actively looking to pick them up. I did eventually buy two colors (such a typical sneakerhead move), one from BAIT at the full retail price of $249.99 and a different color on adidas.com for $175.

Now unless you already know where I’m going with this, you just sat up straight in your seat, leaving behind your usual slouch mode posture in disbelief that I bought a brand new pair of Hu Race NMD’s for $175.00 instead of the going retail of $250 directly from adidas.com so no, they’re not fakes.

If you’ve already guessed that this was some type of rebate, promo or discount code that was used you’d be 100% correct but from where and what kind specifically? When I went to Twitter late on the evening of November 10th, I noticed quite a number of posts claiming they had bought the shoes for either $200 or $175.

Putting forth my best Kanye impersonation possible, I started yelling the infamous “How Sway??!! How??!! at Twitter via my monitor.


Fortunately for those of you reading this, I do have the answers 🙂

How in the world were people getting this shoe legitimately on release day for $50-$75 below retail you ask? Since the shoes were oddly not excluded from any discount, promotion or offer codes on the Adidas website, here’s the deal:

Method 1 – Signing up for the adidas.com newsletter gave you 15% off your order.

Method 2 – This little guy, and he dances to…

Honey has rarely worked for me but this time it did all kinds of magic and then some. As a matter of fact, I’ve never seen Honey work so well. It kept locking in a discounted price and then would change it to a better one as it continually tested discount codes for the lowest possible match. Better than the $200 I was already happy with, it found a 75% sitewide code that worked, knocking that $250 down to $175. I was in disbelief all the way up until I checked out and got my email notification that all had gone well.

So what about all the retail partners?

While I love Adidas, they’re in a really tough spot and I, unfortunately, don’t get to make the rules of consumer behavior and develop strategies for them since I don’t work for the 3 stripes. I simply analyze data and report what I find.

This puts their retail partners in an even tougher spot. Adidas shoes that a sneakerhead may be interested in continually picking up are expensive and a report I’m working on entitled “Cost of Ownership Over Time: An Adidas cost analysis case study” will highlight just how expensive it is to stay loyal to the brand.

I suspect these shoes will sit for a while and then be discounted and only then will they sell out. While it seems like a no-brainer to suggest this, keep in mind they only started not selling out immediately as of the last 3 releases of 2018 and for the 2017 November Trail Hu drop it was almost impossible to get a pair. Resellers still had faith in the model and were snatching them up but this is no longer the case, a point even StockX mentioned during one of their market watch segments.


Notice what Kevin Irwin says at the beginning of this video and the StockX chart he shares.

What’s worrying is that these weren’t available at every sneaker boutique on the planet so pointing to oversaturation isn’t exactly the problem, though they are at more places than is potentially healthy for a shoe in today’s market. The overall sentiment from users suggests it might be time for Adidas and Pharrell to start discussing bringing this partnership to an honorable end while they can still have some say in how the script is written. Personally, I’d like to see Adidas and Pharrell succeed and this latest drop sell out but from a strategic standpoint, something has to change.

Sound off in the comment section if you copped and if you didn’t why and maybe, more importantly, let me know how you feel about this model overall, especially if you’ve been around since the beginning.

Where can I still buy them if I’m interested?

In past years it would have been pointless to have made such a list after the fact BUT, here are a few legit stores where you can still get them:



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