When Adidas released the "Israfil" colorway of its Yeezy Boost 350 V2 sneaker from Kanye West this August, the shoe drew complaints from social media users upset over its Arabic name, which references the archangel of music in Islam. It had originally planned to release a similarly titled shoe in the "Asriel" Yeezy Boost 350 V2, which shares a name with Islam's archangel of death, but changed the name ahead of its launch on Friday. The shoe will now be known as the "Carbon" Yeezy Boost 350 V2.
In an email sent to retailers, Adidas explained that the name was changed because the original did not meet the brand's "diversity and inclusion guidance." Adidas also delayed the sneakers—they were originally supposed to release on Sept. 19 and will now release on Oct. 2 instead.
The extent to which Adidas is implementing the name change at retailers carrying the shoes differs across regions. Of the retailers that Complex spoke to carrying the sneakers in the U.S., all said that the labels on the Yeezy boxes from their stock still had the old Asriel colorway name on them. Despite the label, they're selling them as "Carbon" Yeezys.
In the Middle East, where sneakers using Islamic names have greater potential to offend, the brand went further to change the name. One retailer in the region received a video from Adidas showing how to use a heat gun to remove the box label with the Asriel name on it. That same store received new labels, with the Carbon name, that they were told to apply to the boxes. Other stores in the Middle East tell Complex all their boxes now have the "Carbon" label going into this weekend's release.
According to sources, the release of this Yeezy Boost 350 V2 is being handled similarly in Europe, where stores also have stock with boxes that use the name Carbon rather than Asriel for the colorway. Two retailers in that region tell Complex they too had to apply new labels to their boxes to reflect the name change.
Yeezy info account Yeezy Mafia first reported on the name change in September. In a new post on Wednesday, the outlet said that Adidas is changing the names of more upcoming Yeezy colorways before properly announcing them. In this group are more pairs that were reportedly slated to arrive with names tied to Abrahamic religions: the "Eladia" Yeezy Boost 350 V2, the "Ophanim" Yeezy Quantum, the "Eremiel" Yeezy 700 V3, etc.
While Adidas hadn't announced any of these shoes or officially communicated their names prior to the news of the change, Yeezy Mafia has been an accurate source of early information like this. Similarly, the brand never used the "Asriel" name publicly for this latest Yeezy release before changing it last month.
When reached for comment, Adidas declined to provide further detail on the name change.