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.
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"Regardless if the company was saying the shoes are so hot you have to chain them to you, or they were capitalising on the whole prison style popularity, corporate business has a social responsibility above all to consider these perceptions before releasing a product like this.
“How would a Jewish person feel if Nike decided to have a shoe with a swastika on it and tried to claim it was OK in the name of fashion?”
However, Yali Weiss pointed out: “Not everything with a chain is related to slavery”, although another commenter ominously warned: “Those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it”.
Bloggers also reacted to the shoes, with Indie Wire’s Tambay asking if they were: “Maybe inspired by ‘slave-movie-fever’ perhaps?
“Or is this just entirely unintentional on Adidas’ part, although ignorant of what the design of these new kicks might suggest to some? Or not even worth discussing?”
Writing for Your Black World, Dr Boyce Watkins, who also blogs for Huffington Post, said: “Shackles… the stuff that our ancestors wore for 400 years while experiencing the most horrific atrocities imaginable, most of which were never documented in the history books and kept away from you in the educational system, all so you would be willing to put shackles on your ankles today and not be so sensitive about it.”
While accepting that some would accuse him of overreacting, Dr Watkins, who is a Professor at Syracuse University, adds: “There is always a group of negroes who are more than happy to resubmit themselves to slavery.
“I am offended by these shoes because there is nothing funny about the prison industrial complex, which is the most genocidal thing to happen to the black family since slavery itself.”
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