Are These Shoes Racist or Just Dumb?

The internet has a funny way of working itself up into a sudden frenzy of outrage, and today that happened with these interesting sneakers, designed by Jeremy Scott for Adidas. It's hard to miss the bright orange shackles on these Adidas JS Roundhouse Mid sneakers, which will be out in August. Some people have deemed them deeply offensive because they allude to slavery and/or imprisonment. Naturally, an Adidas rep has denied that there's any deeper meaning to the cuffs:

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 … Any suggestion that this is linked to slavery is untruthful.

In spite of the mysterious online winds that combined today to whip people into a tizzy over the shoes, The Observer's Foster Kamer convincingly points out that, in fact, the shoe's design has been out since January and has a far more obvious and much less controversial inspiration: My pet monster. Haha, yes, indeed you can see the resemblance, and there is also evidence to back up this connection. While this information might be enough to diffuse the anger of those who were hellbent on enjoying today's controversy, no doubt tomorrow the monster-defenders will come out of the woodwork and claim the shoe is offensive to fanged purple creatures. Until then, let's all agree to at least be offended on the grounds that these shoes look like they'd be incredibly cumbersome to walk in.

Are These Shoes Racist or Just Dumb?

The Actual Inspiration for Jeremy Scott's Not-'Racist' Sneakers: My Pet Monster [The Observer]
New adidas 'shackle' sneakers ripped as symbolizing slavery [USA Today]