Adidas has canceled the JS Roundhouse Mids, a high-top sneaker with ankle shackles, in response to complaints that the shoes either glorify prison culture or worse evoke painful images of slavery.
Reverend Jesse Jackson said in an op-ed:
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. Removing the chains from our ankles and placing them on our shoes is no progress.
These slave shoes are odious and we as a people should be called to resent and resist them. If put into production and placed on the market, protests and pickets signs will follow. Adidas cannot make a profit at the expense of commercialized human degradation.
In fact, the design was inspired by a plush toy from the 80s called My Pet Monster, which would magically come to life when unleashed from its shackles. “My work has always been inspired by cartoons, toys & my childhood,” explained Designer Jeremy Scott.
Adidas issued the following statement:
Our collaboration with Jeremy Scott has always stood for creativity and originality. Jeremy Scott is renowned as a designer whose style is quirky and lighthearted and his previous shoe designs for adidas Originals have, for example, included panda heads and Mickey Mouse. 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.
Since the shoe debuted on our adidas Originals Facebook page ahead of its market release in August, adidas has received both favorable and critical feedback. We apologize if people are offended by the design and we are withdrawing our plans to make them available in the marketplace.