The Adidas Shackle Shoes

Guaranteeing legendary collector status for the few advance samples in existence, Adidas has canceled its controversial “shackle shoes.” Jesse Solomon reports for CNN:

German sports apparel maker Adidas has withdrawn its plans to sell a controversial sneaker featuring affixed rubber shackles after the company generated significant criticism when advertising the shoe on its Facebook page.

The high-top sneakers, dubbed the JS Roundhouse Mids, were expected to be released in August, according to the Adidas Originals Facebook page. “Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?” a caption below a photo of the sneakers read.

The June 14 post prompted plenty of criticism from around the Web, with many of those commenting saying they felt the shackle invoked the painful image of slavery.

“Wow obviously there was no one of color in the room when the marketing/product team ok’d this,” said a commenter, identifying herself as MsRodwell on

“I literally froze up when I saw a new design from Adidas set to hit stores in August,” Dr. Boyce Watkins said in a post for the website Your Black World.

Though dismissing the criticism in a written statement by defending the sneaker’s designer, Jeremy Scott, as having a “quirky” and “lighthearted” style, Adidas nonetheless said Monday that it planned to cancel the shoe’s release…

[continues at CNN]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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27 Comments on "The Adidas Shackle Shoes"

  1. Insensitivity isn’t what’s important, it’s intent. Shackles don’t solely have a connotation with slavery. Silly issue made over silly shoes. “An outcry across the nation”? Really? Get real. Get your priorities straight.

  2. What a load of BS… When I saw this, I didn’t think of american slavery; I thought of the sweat shops that would be making these. That’s what’s screwed up here. This shouldn’t be about the descendants  of american slaves are all butthurt over how everything involving bondage MUST be about them; This should be about the slaves that would be being used to make the damned things. I’m disgusted.

    • eyeoftheaxis | Jun 19, 2012 at 11:03 pm |

      1st thing I thought of was slave labor making the shoes not the people in them. & people spend crazy amounts of money on sport shoes.

  3. JohnFrancisBittrich | Jun 19, 2012 at 10:43 pm |

    They definitely remind me of something out of the movie Roots, and since sneaker collecting is a past-time that is far more associated with African-Americans than any other group, I can see completely why people made the association. The other comments here by people “disgusted” by this being turned into a racial issue are typical knee-jerk apologist nonsense of the type you see all over the internet these days. People who wait around hoping against hope that something like this will come up in the news so that they can express their outrage, disgust etc.

    • JohnFrancisBittrich | Jun 19, 2012 at 10:44 pm |

      to quote a favorite punk record of mine, your backlash against a “PC hysteria” is a fucking joke.

      • Monkey See Monkey Do | Jun 20, 2012 at 5:35 am |

        And the mainstream medias agenda is to keep putting out this tripe to creat false ‘PC hysteria’s’ that only ever exist through some warped reality tunnel that the media creates. A reality tunnel in which the ideas are first manafactured and then nurtured into existence through a propaganda model most people are oblivious too.  

  4. so its racist because chains = slavery not that your chaining your shoes to your ankles to keep black people from stealing them. 

  5. yeah,
    like payin’ $100 for a pair of sneakers isn’t being shackled enough
    the consumer would prefer that not be made too obvious
    the A-did-ass logo is all the shackle needed

  6. Gregory Wyrdmaven | Jun 20, 2012 at 10:08 am |

    One of the biggest problems with dealing with slavery, racism, and apparently BDSM…is that folks freak out if anything, anywhere even remotely seems to have anything to do with it.  We censor ourselves and do not give humanity the chance to look these issues in the eye, instead we want to hide these things under the sofa with the stray legos and dessicated popcorn scatterings.

    One day we’ll have a dialogue with each other in which we examine these issues and actually deal with them rather than what we’re doing now, which is not dealing with them and wanting to just make them go away.

    Fiat lux

  7. lolz. black folks’ll buy em anyways.

  8. Jackedu317 | Jun 20, 2012 at 10:42 am |

    finally some honesty… a corporation telling us to our face that we’re still slaves… kind of refreshing don’t you think? 

  9. Kwaichang00 | Jun 20, 2012 at 11:07 am |

    AM I the only one just digusted by how ugly they are?

  10. Since Adidas is a German shoe maker, will they make Nazi slave labor shoes as well?
    Corporations are dumb and they obviously think people were dumb enough to buy “slave shoes”.

  11. I really couldn’t give a shit less about the shoes, this isn’t NEWS and I don’t want sneakers to take priority over reporting on actual NEWS. It’s what I’ve come to expect from the US Media though, that’s why I come here … to try to escape that sort of garbage and talk about real issues.

  12. greengestalt | Jun 20, 2012 at 9:37 pm |

    In the 90s I knew some Black people who branded themselves ‘coz they saw the spoon fed YO! MTV Raps and other media garbage feed ’em that it was cool and happenin… or whatever.  Really, they bent coat hanger metal with needle nose pliers and heated them on a stove…

     Considering the “Blam!  Cool!  I gots me some $150 pumps!” stereotype of their main consumer of these “Slave made goods flom amiable venelable cathay.” they have to know it means “Slavery”.  I’m only surprised they let any of the outrage get in the media to oppose it.

  13. Apathesis | Jun 21, 2012 at 7:12 am |

    There goes the media, stoking the flames of racism again.  Except there is no racism here.  Just more American blacks with an inferiority complex projecting their insecurities on everyone and everything they don’t like.  Imagine if the shoes were orange and had numbers on them like the ones convicts get assigned.  Black “leaders” would be outraged all the same, because you know, only blacks wear hi-tops and go to prison.

    Not everything has to do with your skin color, or the fact that some of your relatives may have been slaves.  Wake up and realize the media and your leaders are doing you and all of us a disservice.

    Ugly shoes for ugly people who are hypocrites and don’t care about the slaves who make them.

  14. I didn’t think of slavery,I thought,can people get anymore tacky than they already are? Pop culture went over a cliff many years ago,people should just play it safe and be a nike clone.

  15. Ni66ers are sickening,as much as they claim they hate slavery,they certainly seem obsessed with talking about it.Maybe they should go to africa and try to stop the slavery that is happening right now.By the way,it’s ni66er on ni66er slavery.I guess it’s ok just as long as the massa is black.

  16. Why do they always have to have a pic of jesse or al next to an article concerning a story like this? Jesse looks like he’s brain dead, Duhhhhhhhhh,me hates racislm and whitey,Duhhhhhhhh.

  17. I’m sure jesse would have no problem with these shoes if he were given enough money by adidas.

  18. WAAAAAHH,this bring back painful images of slavery,WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH.I wasn’t aware jesse was old enough to have been a slave,or his parents,or his grandparents,or his great grandparents,WAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

  19. Yeah right. ‘Cause when I saw these shoes the first thing I thought of was how a bunch of my ancestors I know nothing about were enslaved by a bunch of people long dead. Right, you all thought that too right?

    Oh wait no, my first thought was “haha what a strange design, I’d rock those.”

    If I’m gonna exist for 0.00000297% [or some shit] of humanities entire existence, I’m not gonna waste any of that time giving a fuck about how a shoe might offend some easily offended fools. Grow up people, sure those that forget the past are destined to repeat it, but that just means remember the past, don’ get so worked up over it.

  20. Maybe they designed those shoes to symbolize the people in sweat shops who made them.

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