For some, they conjured up images of slavery, for others, a prison chain-gang. For Adidas, the high-profile condemnations of their latest kicks were a kick in the teeth.
Adidas has withdrawn its plans to sell a controversial sneaker featuring affixed rubber shackles called JS Roundhouse Mids after pre-sale advertising generated significant criticism.
The shoes were designed by Jeremy Scott, who often pushes shoe design’s outer limits. Adidas defended the designer, at the same time announcing that it planned to cancel the shoe’s August release.
"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," the statement said. "We apologize if people are offended by the design and we are withdrawing our plans to make them available in the marketplace."
CNN’s Mallory Simon had this take on the issue:
Sometimes a shoe is just a shoe. And art is just a creation. But the choices artists or brands make can have an unintended subtext. And these decisions sometimes create a firestorm of public outrage, especially when certain images conjure up painful stereotypes from the past.
Despite the cancelation of the shoe line prior to release, we still expect to see some of the shoes filter onto eBay shortly, guaranteeing legendary collector status for the few advance samples in existence.