At first glance, Adidas’ new purple, gray and white sneakers with a bright orange plastic leg shackle might prompt thoughts of “Shew, boy! That is one ugly shoe,” or “Who would want to wear that?” However, once the stronger reactions of “It’s reminiscent of slavery” started rolling into a controversy ball on Twitter, including a call for a boycott, Adidas has announced it’s pulling the shoe.
The shoes, designed by what the L.A. Times calls “eccentric” Beverly Hills designer Jeremy Scott, generated a storm on Twitter where it was labeled “Adidas slave shackle kicks.” Another common criticism is that it could be seen as glamorizing prison.
Adidas at first defended the shoes as just a wacky design from a unique designer. But last night it apologized and said it had made a mistake.
Adidas’ statement reads, in part:
“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.”
The L.A. Times notes that on Twitter, designer Scott mentions possible inspiration for his shoe comes from a 1990s cartoon and toy, My Pet Monster.
An earlier Facebook post with the shoes on Adidas’ page had asked, “Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?”
This isn’t the first time consumers have reacted to poor taste from big shoe designers. Near St. Patrick’s Day, many Irish were upset over Nike’s so-called “Black and Tan” sneakers, ostensibly named for a drink but also sharing a moniker with a violent paramilitary group responsible for slaughtering innocents in the Irish War of Independence.
After slavery controversy, Adidas pulls shackle shoe [Los Angeles Times]