Adidas has shelved plans to release a pair of trainers with bright orange “shackles” that fit around the wear’s ankles.
The JS Roundhouse Mids, which were set to hit shelves in August, were debuted on the Adidas Originals Facebook page on June 14.
There was an immediate backlash however, with several message boards and blogs likening the “bracelets” to the shackles worn by black slaves in 19th century America, as well as today’s prison restraints.
A sales strap for the shoes, designed by Jeremy Scott, read: “Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?”
Over 2,000 Facebook comments were left yesterday, with many calling the design “offensive”, “ignorant”, claiming the company has “sunk to new lows” and branding the shoes “slavewear”.
Initially, Adidas defended the design, with a spokesman telling Huffington Post UK:
The design of the JS Roundhouse Mids is about nothing more than the designer, Jeremy Scott’s, outrageous and unique take on fashion and has nothing to do with slavery. 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. Any suggestion that this is linked to slavery is untruthful.
But now the company made an abrupt U-turn and has pulled the plug on the shoes.
A new statement said:
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 Facebook page ahead of its market release in August, Adidas has received both favorable and critical feedback. We apologise if people are offended by the design and we are withdrawing our plans to make them available in the marketplace.
The image of the shoes has also been removed from the Adidas Originals Facebook page, where reader Kay Tee had commented: “It’s offensive and inappropriate in many ways. Not to mention ugly.