Adidas cancels release of controversial shackle sneaker

June 19, 2012 at 7:47 AM ET

Adidas faced heavy criticism after releasing an image of its new JS Roundhouse Mid sneakers on Facebook, with some people likening the look to slave chains and prison shackles.

Featuring a bright orange chain and ankle strap, Adidas’ controversial new sneaker is gone before it even arrived.

In the face of fierce criticism that its upcoming JS Roundhouse Mid is inappropriate and offensive, with detractors likening its details to slave chains and prison shackles, Adidas apologized Monday night and announced that it was canceling plans to sell the sneaker.

The design was a collaboration between Adidas Originals and edgy fashion designer Jeremy Scott.

“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 an email to TODAY.com. “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,” it concluded.

The statement came hours after Adidas told TODAY.com the sneakers were not meant to be a symbol of oppression, and noted that Scott had previously designed creative kicks for Adidas featuring panda bear heads and Mickey Mouse.

“Any suggestion that this is linked to slavery is untruthful,” the company said earlier Monday.

The public got its first look at the sneakers when Adidas added a photo of them to the brand's Facebook page on June 14 with the caption: “Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?”

The posting racked up nearly 3,000 comments, with many calling the sneaker inappropriate and ugly.

“What is this, the slavery line?” Christopher Daniels asked in the photo’s comment section.

“Why would you want shackles round your legs that’s just like back in slavery days #sillyidea,” commented Shakira Allen.

“Wearing them you can feel like real prisoner,” wrote Pawel Lisowski.

Aamir Ali also saw a jailhouse connection, writing: “Sorry but I'd rather not look like someone who just broke out of prison.”

Not everyone who commented was offended by the sneakers.

“Jeremy always pushes boundaries,” wrote Hanna Lauwers. “Shoes like these just makes it even more obvious that only people with real guts want and would wear them. This has nothing to do with slavery.”

And Tola T VMZ wrote: “Not every thing with a chain is related to slavery, people.”

The company did not respond to questions about how many, if any, of the sneakers have already been produced. 

What do you think of the sneakers? Did Adidas make the right decision? Let us know in the comments section!

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