For some reason, Adidas thought it would be a good idea to sell sneakers with rubber shackles attached to the ankles. The world quickly reminded them that their shackle shoes were not, in fact, a good idea.
The shoes were supposed to poke fun at sneaker theft. An advertisement for the JS Roundhouse Mids that was posted on Facebook, read:
“Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?”
But many people didn’t see the humor in the shackle shoes advertisement. Instead, they saw blatant racism and an obvious reference to slavery.
Syracuse University Professor Dr. Boyce Watkins told Your Black World:
“I literally froze up when I saw the new design from Adidas…. Handcuffs…shackles..the stuff that our ancestors wore for 400 years while experiencing the most horrific atrocities imaginable, most of which were never documented in the history books. All so you would be willing to put shackles on your ankles today and not be so sensitive about it?”
“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 released a statement today saying that the “shoes had nothing to do with slavery,” but due to the backlash, they decided that it would be best to remove the shoe from the marketplace.
“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… We apologize if people are offended by the design and we are withdrawing our plans to make them available in the marketplace.”
What do you think of the Shackle shoes? Do you think the sneakers evoked images of slavery?