Adidas is removing a pair of shoes intended to honor Black History Month following backlash on social media.
The sportswear giant’s exclusive Ultra Boost sneakers, named “Celebrating Black Culture,” has been pulled after the brand received criticism for its design — particularly the all-white color.
Built with the classic uncaged variation of Adidas’ lifestyle runner, the shoes come in a simplistic, almost monochromatically white colorway — with subtle purple, black and red accents applied onto the eyelets on the medial sides. A socklike upper also boasts off-white hues minus the signature Three Stripes lacing cage, with a custom insole bearing the letters CBC — an emblem paired with an orange basketball graphic at the center.
“adidas, you’re really ‘celebrating black culture’ with an ‘Uncaged’ all WHITE Ultraboost?!” wrote Jeffrey Jason, director of social media at sneaker-focused media outlet Nice Kicks.
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Another user with the handle @Acesailant_06 wrote: “Adidas really pushed an all white shoe and said it was celebrating black culture… checks > stripes” — indicating a personal preference for rival Nike, which is recognized for its Swoosh symbol.
Less than two weeks ago, when the announcement for the sneaker’s release was made, Adidas indicated that the shoe was slated to arrive online and in stores for $180. The iteration is still available on select retailers’ sites, however, including luxury platform SSENSE.
The Germany-based company’s “Black History Month” pack will also feature a Harden Vol. 3 basketball shoe as well as a pair of Ultra Boosts in honor of the Harlem Renaissance. The collection is set to hit stores beginning Tuesday.
In a statement to FN, Adidas said, “Toward the latter stages of the design process, we added a running shoe to the collection that we later felt did not reflect the spirit or philosophy of how Adidas believes we should recognize and honor Black History Month. After careful consideration, we have decided to withdraw the product from the collection.”
This story was updated with Adidas’ statement.
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