Adidas Slammed for Launching Slave Shoes With Shackles Around the Ankles

Posted on June 18, 2012

Adidas is in hot water today after posting photos of their new JS Roundhouse Mids shoes, which feature yellow plastic chains that end in a shackle around the ankle. They look just like shackles used on slaves and prisoners.

On the Facebook page for the shoes, the tagline reads "Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?" The New York Daily News reports that the outcry was immediate over the "Slave Shoes," which many are calling racist.

Syracuse University professor Dr. Boyce Watkins blasted Adidas in a post on Your Black World. Dr. Watkins says he "literally froze up" when he saw the design for the new Adidas shoes.

Adidas issued this response according to an NPR report: "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. Any suggestion that this is linked to slavery is untruthful."

Jeremy Scott has designed other unusual shoes for Adidas including sneakers with panda heads, wings and Mickey Mouse heads. It is incredible to us that not one person at Adidas thought there might be a problem launching sneakers with shackles on them. Doesn't anyone vet designs to avoid PR disasters like this one? Even if they aren't meant to reference slavery, who in their right mind wants to be shackled to Adidas?

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