The sneakers first debuted on the official Adidas Facebook page. They look like fairly normal high-tops, but they feature one very unique element: rubber shackles that are intended to be worn around the ankles.
“Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?” was the caption that appeared alongside a photo of the product on Facebook. The post was “liked” by nearly 40,000 people, but many of the comments were negative in tone.
Many critics have noted the clear connection between ankle shackles and slavery. Adidas dismissed the connection, releasing a statement saying, “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.”
One of the strongest critics of the shoes has been Reverend Jesse Jackson. He said, “the attempt to commercialize and make popular more than 200 years of human degradation, where blacks were considered three-fifths human by our Constitution is offensive, appalling and insensitive.”
Adidas appears to have recognized that, regardless of their intent, releasing the shoes to the public is a bad idea. The company has announced that the shoes will not go on sale in August, as planned.
“We apologize if people are offended by the design and we are withdrawing our plans to make them available in the marketplace,” a spokesperson for Adidas said.
What do you think? Are you offended by these shoes?