After a swell of controversy and widespread criticism, adidas has quashed plans to release the JS Roundhouse Mids, a sneaker created by Beverly Hills fashion designer Jeremy Scott featuring a bright orange shackle-like piece that wraps around the wearer’s ankle and is attached to the shoe by a plastic chain.
The shoe has drawn criticism since June 14th when it first appeared on the adidas Originals Facebook page with the caption “Tighten up your style with the JS Roundhouse Mids, dropping in August. Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?“
While the design had its share of supporters — some Facebook posters called the design “innovative” and labeled those who had issues with it “ignorant” — there were far more who felt the design was inappropriate and racially insensitive, saying the design too closely resembled a shackle and made a joke out of slavery.
Among the latter voices was civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, who called the design an attempt by adidas to “commercialize and make popular more than 200 years of human degradation.”
“These slave shoes are odious and we as a people should be called to resent and resist them. If put into production and placed on the market, protests and pickets signs will follow. Adidas cannot make a profit at the expense of commercialized human degradation,” Jackson said in a blog published in The Huffington Post.
Adidas responded to the backlash by cancelling plans to sell the shoe, but stands firm to their claim that its design was in no way racially motivated.
“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,” the company said in a statement. “We apologize if people are offended by the design and we are withdrawing our plans to make them available in the marketplace.”
Scott also responded to the criticism, tweeting that his work “has always been inspired by cartoons” along with a picture of My Pet Monster, a plush doll in orange handcuffs first released in 1986:
MY WORK HAS ALWAYS BEEN INSPIRED BY CARTOONS, TOYS & MY CHILDHOOD…twitpic.com/9y0bzx
— JEREMY SCOTT (@ITSJEREMYSCOTT) June 18, 2012
Scott’s fans have also been showing their support for the designer.
One fan who uses the handle @Cyborginormous tweeted: “I dont see anything wrong or offensive in ur sneaks. In fact it looks cool. People should calm down. Its just shoes.”
Another who calls herself @Gntl_Indffrence tweeted: “There was absolutely nothing offensive about the shoes and this is coming from an african american. Jeremy Scott is awesome!”
This was not the first shoe Scott has designed for adidas. The company has an entire Jeremy Scott collection featuring sneakers with unusual designs such as wings, leopard tails, even three tongues. Scott’s designs generally start at around $100. The now-cancelled JS Roundhouse Mids were planned to retail for $350.