Adidas cancels ‘Shackle’ trainer after slavery outcry

Adidas has cancelled plans to release a pair of trainers with a Shackle-like ankle cuff after critics complained that they were racist and evoked connotations of slavery.


Concerns were first raised after an image of the product was posted on the brand’s Facebook page earlier this month (June 14).

Adidas developed the JS Roundhouse Mid trainer in partnership with fashion designer Jeremy Scott and defended the shoe’s design saying it was nothing more than a “unique take on fashion and has nothing to do with slavery”.

“Since the shoe debuted on our Facebook page ahead of its market release in August, Adidas has received both favourable and critical feedback. We apologise if people are offended by the design and we are withdrawing our plans to make them available in the marketplace,” Adidas said in a statement.

The product was to go on sale in August for $350 (£222) and was developed as a reboot of a classic hi-top trainer.

Adidas previewed the trainer earlier this year and generated little concern, however the brand sparked controversy last week when it began promoting the product on its Facebook page. The post received nearly 3,000 comments, with many calling the trainers inappropriate and ugly. Despite the claims, the photo racked up nearly 38,000 likes.

The product recall comes just months after rival Nike faced similar criticisms for the release of the ‘Nike SB Dunk Low Black and Tan’ to commemorate St Patrick’s Day. Complainants argued that “black and tan” also referred to a violent British paramilitary unit and Nike subsequently apologised.

Readers' comments (6)

  • Terrible product. Just terrible. Only an idiot would think such a thing was a good idea.

    Also, slavery is not a race issue. Anyone who thinks it is ought to read their history.

    Yes, in the case of slavery in the US it was a race issue. But the US isn't the only country in the world to have a valid history and, sadly, people of all colours and creeds have been exploited and made slaves in the course of human history.

    It still goes on today. In fact, the sportswear industry has a dubious track record for using factories that employ child labour, and have poor/dangerous working conditions.

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  • Perhaps an integrated tagging device might be more useful!

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  • Personally I like them, perhaps it speaks to the fact many of us are a slave to fashion but once again the PC brigade roll out their tired "I'm offended" arguments.

    As the comedian Steve Hughes says "Be offended, nothing happens"

    I am sorry but what offends you doesn't offend others and to simply say you are offended I don't want to see them is not an argument against having choice and freedom of expression.

    I respect your right to not like them, and as such, not buy them. To oppressing my right to purchase them is using force to undermine my choice, how is that any different from the slavery you seek to abolish?


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  • I'd be interested to know what the point of the shackle is? What was the thought process for the designer?

    Is the shackle to keep the shoe on your foot in case some 'yout' wanted to rob them off your foot?

    Is the shackle to signify being a slave to fashion? as suggested

    May be they're designed for people ASBO's may be?

    Either way they're in bad taste. The boot is great looking, I like them a lot, but the shackle really? wake up!!

    Having worked at Nike in the footwear development I understand the process and so I am also shocked that people in that organisation allowed it to pass through the entire process. What happened at the focus groups? the sales meeting etc when the shoe was in the marketing line plan? Did no one in Adidas see it as an issue at all? To me it says something about the organisation as a whole.

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  • "...and has nothing to do with slavery”.

    Doesn't matter what the brand says, it's what the customer thinks that is important.

    If they are one and the same then you might be on to a winner.

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  • To be fair, the main market for this sort of gufff is probably Beiber-ites.

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