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.


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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  • Spartan24708

    Who would want to wear these outrageously hideous shoes in the first place? I’m sure they were marketed to shoe obsessed blacks to begin with and Adidas didn’t realize just how thin skinned blacks are with anything they think has to do with slavery. 

    • Francis Galton

       Who?  Why, blacks of course!  You have to realize that when it comes to fashion, Black standards of hideousness are very different from White standards of same.  Authentically Black Style demands loud colors, especially for Church and other “formal” gatherings–key-lime green vests, purple pinstripes, solid white suits with solid black ties, red shoes and yellow fedoras with a feather are par for the course.  And, one must never forget the bling-bling and the tricked-out ride with spinners! (One of the many reasons, incidentally, why black net worth is so low.) 

      Whites, as usual, are generally far more sophisticated and subtle in their fashion choices.  

      • Spartan24708

        A rhetorical response on my part- who BUT blacks would wear such a hideous pair of shoes. They couldn’t be worse unless they somehow featured tiny LED lights. I have heard various pastors preach against going into debt for clothing but this falls on deaf ears when it comes to blacks. In one church where I visited there was a percentage of people who immigrated from Africa, and the white pastor was upset that these “refugees” were spending a huge percentage of their benefits on clothing and shoes. The outfits that the men wore were beyond hideous, ill fitting baggy suits and strange looking shoes with pointed extended toes. I think it is in black DNA to dress in a flashy but ridiculous looking manner. 

      • Spartan24708

        Whites, as usual, are generally far more sophisticated and subtle in their fashion choices.  
        That is when they are not imitating blacks.

      • blight14

         ‘Black standards’, a rather whopping oxymoron I’d say………….

    •  That was likely the point. Outrageous. The more flash and bright colors the better. Sort of like appealing to the sensibilities of toddlers for primary colors.

      • Spartan24708

        You are probably right- most blacks never get emotionally beyond the bright and flashy stage no matter how intelligent they might be. My daughter will turn 5 in September and already knows how to match colors and patterns unlike some blacks celebrities out there. 

  • The__Bobster

    Oh, just sell them the real thing. It’s all about keepin’ it real, nome sane?

    • Derrickrasmussen2112666

      How are things on NM these days, Bobster?

      • The__Bobster

        I haven’t been there in ages. I prefer NNN, where I can name ALL the guilty parties.

  • MekongDelta69

    “We deeply apologize for [insert racial transgression here] and didn’t mean to offend any [insert specific race here – except Caucasian], and promise to never, ever, never, ever even think about committing such a horrifying and insensitive [insert hate crime / thought / speech here] never, ever again, yadda, yadda, yadda, blah, blah, blah, genuflect, grovel, bow, scrape, etc., etc., etc.”

  • B

    This is what has become necessary to keep from having your shoes ripped off in black areas.

    • Sloppo

      That is what I was thinking, but it appears that the shackles don’t have real locks.  If that defect could be corrected, this might be a great item for the South African market because of its reputation for being one of the places where is it common for someone to be murdered for their shoes.  Shoe thieves/murderers might see a pair of these on you and decide to attack someone else in order to avoid the somewhat unpleasant task of cutting your feet off.  

  • Do you think that any references to slavery will stop young blacks from standing in line at stores wanting to buy these sneakers? I think not.

  • Xerxes

    Adidas didn’t make these overpriced sneakers, which are marketed to Blacks, to remind them of their past and slavery but to remind them of their future and prison. These orange shackles are symbolic of the real shackles that they will be wearing as they are led from the jail cell to the courthouse for their trial and from the courthouse to the prison after the guilty verdict and sentencing.

  • Me

    How can they be construed as ‘slave’ related? The shackles link one shoe to one ankle, not ankle to ankle. You can still run at full gallop from the po-po in these, Toby

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    These things look ridiculous.

    has nothing to do with slavery. 

    Yes, nothing says slavery like rubber shackles and plastic chains

    Is there a blasted thing that doesn’t offend this group??

    Do they have a built in chip that reports straight to the police station?? And, do they integrate fully with leg irons, chains to hook up multiple offenders and ankle monitors??  

     I imagine that most of these (would have been) purchased with a welfare 


  • Spartan24708

    The Africans (real ones) who immigrate to Utah in droves wear something that looks like a pointed toe clown shoe. I wish I could tell them how stupid they look.

  • Spartan24708

    Here is a picture of something close to the “dress shoes” that the African men tend to fancy here in Utah. Just imagine this in day glo colors with a longer toe and you have the idea. I don’t see how they can wear them without tripping. 

  • down_south

    By halting the manufacture of these ridiculous shoes, Adidas is missing a golden opportunity to market to a huge demographic:  the pathetic lacking-a-life liberals who shackle themselves together, wear “I’m sorry” tee shirts and make public embarrassments of themselves by falling to their knees before their black masters.  What a fine fashion statement they would make for the supplicants and what a fine profit increase it would mean for Adidas.

  • sarah stein

    Add a lock to them and they won’t get stolen after you’ve been beaten into a coma. 

  • SLCain

    Addidas or Nike should come out with a line of big floppy clown-shoes, and see if they can market them to the “black community”.  I bet they could.  I bet that the homies would be beating and pepper-spraying each other at Walmart and FootLocker to get hold of such precious gold.  Clown-shoes: the perfect accessory for a clown-thug.