Congratulations, Nike: You're not alone on the list of Culturally Insensitive Sneaker Designs! When Adidas posted a picture of its upcoming JS Roundhouse Mids on Facebook, countless jaws dropped -- and not in the way the company intended. The shoes are inoffensive (if unattractive) until you notice the bright orange shackles that snap around the wearer's ankle which, for some, are a plastic-and-Velcro reminder of the chains that slaves were forced to wear. Several outraged commenters have renamed the shoes the "Amistad Originals" or the "Adidas Kunta [Kinte]," while IndieWire asked if the company had been "inspired by 'slave movie fever.'" Regardless of their intention, this is a major misstep for the athletic giant.
"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," a representative for the shoemaker told TODAY.com by email. "Jeremy Scott is renowned as a designer whose style is quirky and lighthearted ... Any suggestion that this is linked to slavery is untruthful."
UPDATE: Adidas has now withdrawn plans for the sneakers. In a statement the company said: "Since the shoe debuted on our 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."