This week, the shoe manufacturers announced and then pulled plans to produce a sneaker that would feature shackles. The company had promoted the shoes by saying: “Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?”
Apparently, the fashion designer who came up with the chained look was unaware of the long and sad history of slavery in the United States, which saw people brought to this country and controlled through the use of shackles.
He apparently didn’t know that shackles are a global symbol of oppression that dates back thousands of years. Just about every culture has seen people forcibly controlled or enslaved.
These are not qualities you would expect to be branded with a shoe that typically promotes comfort and potential athletic improvement. I’m guessing that chains do not improve performance.
Athletic shoe sales are a billion dollar business but lately shoe manufacturers are making poor choices in their branding. The focus seems to be on having people by extra pairs based on a look or an edgy concept. The problem is that this can backfire. Not long ago, Nike earned Whiner of the Week recognition for a Black and Tan design.
Making good shoes should be the sole mission for these companies.