Adidas scraps 'shackle' trainers after slavery and racism outcry
Thousands of people join in racism row on Facebook over controversial new Roundhouse Mid design
ADIDAS HAS ditched plans for a new range of trainers after critics said the design resembled a symbol of slavery.
Adidas posted a picture of the $350 purple and orange trainers with a shackle-like ankle cuff on its Facebook page last Thursday with the caption: "Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?"
But within days, thousands of people had commented on the photograph, with many complaining that the design is offensive to descendants of slaves.
"These shoes are the WORST idea EVER!" wrote one commenter. "Really, we're supposed to voluntarily buy shackles now?!"
Another said: "Whoever wears this is openly saying they are a slave," while one critic said Adidas should be "ashamed of themselves". IndieWire questioned whether the shoe was inspired by "slave-movie-fever" and asked if the brand could really be "ignorant of what the design of these new kicks might suggest".
Some pointed out it was distasteful that the launch coincided with 19 June's Freedom Day, which commemorates the abolition of slavery in the US.
Jeremy Scott, who designed the Roundhouse Mid, insists that it was inspired by a furry toy called My Pet Monster. "My work has always been inspired by cartoons, toys and my childhood," he said.
Adidas has confirmed that the shoe is nothing more than Scott's "outrageous and unique take on fashion" and "has nothing to do with slavery" but has nevertheless pulled the design.
"Since the shoe debuted on our Facebook page ahead of its market release in August, Adidas has received both favourable and critical feedback," the company stated. "We apologise if people are offended by the design and we are withdrawing our plans to make them available in the marketplace."
Adidas are not the only sportswear company to put their foot in it when it comes to designing new trainers. Nike launched a trainer on St Patrick's Day in Ireland called 'Black and Tan' – the same name as a British paramilitary unit which committed atrocities on the Irish population following the First World War.
However, since Adidas announced it was scrapping its new range, even more commenters have taken to Facebook to rebuff the accusations of racism.
"These are just bloody shoes!" one wrote. "You're making too much of a hassle about this, bringing in racism when it's not even intended."
Racist or not, a recurring question from people on both sides of the debate has been: "Why would anyone pay $350 for something so ugly?"