Adidas canceled the pending release of its JS Roundhouse Mid sneaker Monday evening after critics and fans said the offending shoe drew lines too close to slavery with its shackle-like ankle cuff.
Although promotional images of the shoe were released in January, the backlash against the sneakers heated up last Thursday after Adidas promoted the shoes on its Facebook page. The situation intensified with media members, fans and celebrities crying out against the day-glo orange cuffs featured on the shoe, which many believed to resemble shackles. Celebrities like Rickey Smiley and Talib Kweli took to their Twitter accounts to speak against the sneakers. "WTF @adidas sneakers with SHACKLES? Which morons approved these? Do better," tweeted @TalibKweli.
In a written statement to AP, designer Jeremy Scott said the high-top shoe was inspired by a toy called, My Pet Monster- a fuzzy doll with orange plastic handcuffs that was popular in the '80s and '90s. It's evident that Scott drew his inspiration from the furry doll based on images of the toy. In the fashion industry, Scott is known, if not revered for his outrageous and eclectic designs. JS followers are typically energized and excited by his creativity and fresh perspective on fashion. Scott, who's previously designed a Mickey Mouse-themed sneaker for the German footwear and sports apparel company says, "My work has always been inspired by cartoons, toys & my childhood."
"Since the shoe debuted on our Facebook page ahead of its market release in August, Adidas has received both favorable and critical feedback," Adidas said in a statement. "We apologize if people are offended by the design and we are withdrawing our plans to make them available in the marketplace."
As for the poll results, here's my suggestion to the 50% of readers who responded, Why is this news?: It's probably worth revisiting U.S. history textbooks, and reading up on the state of modern-day slavery around the world. Here's a good summer read: Half the Sky by NYT columnist Nick Kristof and his wife Sheryl WuDunn.