Adidas ‘Shackle’ Sneakers Cause Controversy over Slavery Symbolism

Huffington Post, June 18, 2012

UPDATE: Adidas has canceled plans to sell the Jeremy Scott shoes and released the following statement: ”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.”

PREVIOUSLY: Forget the Air Yeezy II. The sneaker name on everybody’s lips this morning is Adidas’ Jeremy Scott x adidas Roundhouse Mid “Handcuffs”, or the “shackle” sneaker.

Posted by Adidas Originals on its Facebook page, the Jeremy Scott x adidas Roundhouse Mid “Handcuffs” are an updated version of Adidas’ classic Roundhouse, a high-top lace-up with a Velcro strap across the middle. But for his latest collaboration with the athletic label, designed Jeremy Scott has added a plastic handcuff (or shackle, if you will) to each ankle, attached by chains.

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The shoes have gotten only moderate press since they emerged this winter. But sinceAdidas Originals posted a preview pic on Facebook last week, fans in the blogosphere have voiced their strong reactions with over 2,000 comments.

Most take issue with the ankle shackle, interpreting it as a historical symbol of African slavery. “Racist a bit, no?” asked one commenter. “Please African Americans don’t line up for these, Where does the Respect Begin and End for our people. Boycott Please!” another one stated. One commenter wrote, “Please tell me this is FAKE. I am not hearing these Adidas Amistad Originals,” ostensibly referencing the famous African slave ship that was the site of a slave revolt in 1839.

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