At first these look like some pretty cool new Adidas shoes…until you spot the bright orange shackle that goes around your ankle. WTF is that about?
The JS Roundhouse Mids, which had been slated to debut in August, were previewed on the Adidas Originals Facebook page on June 14.
The allusions to slavery were almost instant.
Although the German company insisted the design had nothing to do with the slave trade, its promotional material seemed to contradict that statement.
“Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?” read a tagline beneath the photo.
Many found the shoes just plain offensive as the shackles reminded particularly African Americans of images of slavery and prisoners on the chain gang.
Some commenters had even renamed the shoes the “Amistad Originals” or the “Adidas Kunta [Kinte].”
By Monday night, the backlash against Adidas had become a public relations nightmare, forcing the company to scrap the shoe entirely and issue an apology.
In a statement, the company said “The design of the JS Roundhouse Mid is nothing more than the designer Jeremy Scott‘s outrageous and unique take on fashion and has nothing to do with slavery.
“Since the shoe debuted on our Facebook page ahead of its market release in August, Adidas has received both favorable and critical feedback. We apologize if people are offended by the design and we are withdrawing our plans to make them available in the marketplace.”
Take a look at the photo below. Do you think these shoes are offensive?
- Adidas responds to ‘shackles’ sneaker controversy (thegrio.com)
- Adidas Cancel “Slavewear” Trainers After Backlash (madnewsuk.com)
- Adidas cancels ‘shackle’ shoes after outcry (cnn.com)