Adidas has pulled a trainer design after the novelty shackle-like ankle cuff was attacked as a symbol of slavery.
The JS Roundhouse Mid trainer was created in collaboration with fashion designer Jeremy Scott and touted as homage to footwear worn by a 1980s cartoon character.
But United States black rights leader the Rev Jesse Jackson said the design looked like “slave shoes”.
“The attempt to commercialise and make popular more than 200 years of human degradation, where blacks were considered three-fifths human by our constitution, is offensive, appalling and insensitive,” Mr Jackson said.
The company pulled the design shortly afterwards, but insisted it was “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 favourable and critical feedback. We apologise if people are offended by the design and we are withdrawing our plans to make them available in the marketplace,” the company said.
The trainer was supposed to be a reboot of a classic trainer with a strap across the middle.
A preview was offered months ago and generated little chatter, but the company recently started promoting it on its Facebook page.
Scott is known as one of fashion’s more outrageous characters. Adidas said he was heralded for a style it described as “quirky and light-hearted”.
The Roundhouse Mid was inspired by a furry toy called My Pet Monster.
“My work has always been inspired by cartoons, toys and my childhood,” Scott said.
Previous collaborations between Scott and adidas include sneakers with Mickey Mouse and panda bear themes.