After causing a stir with a Jeremy Scott-designed sneaker that featured rubber handcuffs, Adidas is shutting down the controversy.
Facing heat from civil rights activists such as Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Herzogenaurach, Germany-based brand canceled the product’s fall launch.
Despite the buzz among sneaker fans and community groups, experts say the scandalous shoe won’t have a significant impact on Adidas.
“This was not a major release. It was one of the designer collaborations that tend to be very small and grabbed up by collectors,” SportsOneSource analyst Matt Powell said about the shoe. “I don’t think they lose significant sales or profits by not releasing it.”
Powell added that the reaction to the controversial sneaker might even help in terms of getting Adidas some extra publicity. “As long as they’re using your name, it doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad news,” he said.
Sean Williams, producer and co-host of Internet radio show “Obsessive Sneaker Disorder” also predicted the scandal will not affect Adidas in a negative way. “It won’t have a major impact on the brand at all,” he said. “People have to remember it’s still the second-biggest athletic footwear company on the planet.”
However, he added, with activists claiming the shoe has a connection to slavery, the athletic company should have been more up front about the sneaker’s actual design inspiration: a “My Pet Monster” doll.
“They should do a better job telling the stories behind these shoes instead of leaving them open to society’s interpretations,” Williams said. “If someone would’ve put a ‘My Pet Monster’ toy up on the Facebook page next to the shoe, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
Previous Jeremy Scott designs for Adidas have included Mickey Mouse panda heads.
According to an official statement from the company, Adidas defends the designers and refutes the sneaker’s slavery connection.
“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. Since the shoe debuted on our Facebook page ahead of its market release in August, Adidas has received both favorable and critical feedback,” the firm said via the statement.
Retailer Lester Wasserman, whose West boutique in New York carries the Adidas by Jeremy Scott line, is unsure how the issue will pan out in the next few months.
“Historically, the Jeremy Scott line has done very well at our store,” Wasserman said. “I don’t know if [this move] will impact futures sales at all.”