Earlier this month Kanye West's Nike "Air Yeezy II" sneakers sold on eBay for $90,000 and everybody was all up in arms that someone would pay the price of a Lexus for shoes. But that little upset is nothing compared to the latest sneaker controversy.
Adidas teamed up with eccentric designer Jeremy Scott to create a pair of sneakers called the "Roundhouse Mids." Each shoe has a plastic handcuff, or shackle, attached. The product's tagline is, "Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?"
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OK, so we get the "locked down" pun, but how did they not see the racial implications in having sneakers with shackles attached to the ankles? Adidas posted the sneakers on their Facebook page, and it wasn't long before the outraged comments started pouring in. One commenter wrote, "Where does the Respect Begin and End for our people. Boycott Please!" And other commented, "I will never buy another Adidas product again as long as there is breath in my body!"
Adidas isn't the only brand that has been accused of releasing a racist product. Last year Italian Vogue featured hoop earrings dubbed "Slave Earrings" in their "Shop the Trend" section, and Abercrombie and Fitch had to pull a line of t-shirts from their shelves that depicted Asian caricatures. We're left wondering: How do these companies not see the outrage coming from a mile away? Adidas, in particular, did not seem super prepared to combat the controversy and released this weak statement:
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"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."
So panda heads and Mickey Mouse are as controversial as slavery? I'm thinking … no. Nevertheless, these Jeremy Scott Adidas sneakers are still slated to drop this August.
Now you tell me: Are these sneakers racist? Or is it simply over-the-top fashion? Would you buy them?
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