Critics are fit to be tied over footwear giant Adidas' latest sneakers, which feature what looks like shackles attached to them.
The JS Roundhouse Mids, which are due to be released in August, were previewed on the Adidas Originals Facebook page in a photo posted on June 14. Although the German company insists the design has nothing to do with slavery, its own promotional material isn't likely to quell criticism.
“Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?”
- Tagline for Adidas' new sneaker
“Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?” reads a tagline posted beneath the picture.
Many users left comments on the page’s bulletin board ripping the day-glo orange shackles, saying they are particularly offensive to African-Americans because they evoke imagery of slavery and prisoners on the chain gang.
“Adidas, you should be ashamed of yourselves. The mockery of oppression that has not been overcome,” posted Facebook user Dace Moore on the photo’s bulletin board.
Many users were calling for a boycott of the sneaker company.
“Slavery isn’t a fashion example,” posted user Antonio Leche. “Everyone involved in this show should be fired ASAP! This is the new reason I won’t buy any Adidas anymore!”
User Kay Tee added: “It’s offensive and inappropriate in many ways. Not to mention ugly.”
"How would a Jewish person feel if Nike decided to have a shoe with a swastika on it and tried to claim it was OK in the name of fashion?"
Many also took to the blogosphere to express their disdain for Adidas’ new product.
Syracuse University economics professor Boyce Watkins wrote on Your Black World : "Shackles... the stuff that our ancestors wore for 400 years while experiencing the most horrific atrocities imaginable, most of which were never documented in the history books and kept away from you in the educational system, all so you would be willing to put shackles on your ankles today and not be so sensitive about it."
"I am offended by these shoes because there is nothing funny about the prison industrial complex, which is the most genocidal thing to happen to the black family since slavery itself," he added.
In a written statement to FoxNews.com, a spokeswoman for Adidas said, "The JS Roundhouse Mid is part of the Fall/Winter 2012 design collaboration between Adidas Originals and 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."
"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," she added.