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Are These New adidas Sneakers Racist?

Submitted by on June 18, 2012 – 11:05 am8 Comments

Now, there is a headline we never thought we’d have to write. Reason being, it’s pretty hard for a sneaker to be labeled as “controversial.” Sure, some of the things surrounding a sneaker might be considered controversial—for example, the way Nike has released a few sneakers like the Nike Air Foamposite One “Galaxy” recently has been called into question because of all the riots that they have caused—but, typically, the sneakers themselves are not controversial. But, over the weekend, the adidas JS Roundhouse Mids that you see pictured here definitely caused some waves. Why, you ask? Well, because of the perception that adidas included “shackles” on them.

The website Indie Wire was one of the first sites to comment publicly on the sneakers late last week. And, understandably, they took issue with the way the sneakers look. Although adidas posted a photo of them on their Facebook page and claimed that the shackles on the sneakers were designed for those who have “a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles,” Indie Wire didn’t buy that explanation. Instead, they pointed out that the shackles on the gray, purple, and black kicks look like slave shackles and are actually pretty racist when you sit back and think about it. They feel as though adidas has overstepped their boundaries here and created a sneaker that, whether they care to admit it or not, promotes racism.

We need to open this one up, though. Do you think that these sneakers are racist? Are sites like Indie Wire simply looking too far into the meaning behind them? Should adidas have known better than to create a sneaker with shackles? The sneaker is set to be released in August, which could conceivably give adidas enough time to halt production on them if the backlash is strong enough. But, should they feel the need to do that? Take a look at another shot of the sneaker below and let us know.

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