There’s been a minor kerfuffle over these new Adidas (when I try to spell it, I think back to 6th grade when my friend John pointed at his new Adidas-logo’d shirt and said, “All Day I Dream About Sex! Snort! Get it?!” Anyways…) shoes that you chain to your ankles with plastic leg irons (or leg plastics, I guess).
Apparently, the message the German sporting-goods maker was trying to send with these $350 kicks was, “These shoes are so hot, you’ll have to lock them to your ankles!” Not realizing that a) the driving force behind sneaker fashion in America is the urban community, and b) the urban community is still mighty touchy about being put in shackles.
So, like everything else in our balkanized country, this got turned into a race thing, with the oft-outraged expressing their outrage yet again.
But if it’s possible to get away from the race angle for just a second (a stretch, I know), I think the design of these shoes is ironically accurate. If I can receive a pretentiousness waiver to use the words “subtext” and “sneakers” in the same sentence, I think the subtext of these sneakers is, “If you are willing to spend $350 for these ugly shoes, then you are a prisoner to materialism.”
You pay the money, but these shoes own you. Your pursuit of worldly goods owns you. Your desire to be the coolest, hippest, edgiest kid on the block owns you. It’s really an excellent metaphor. Preachers might want to buy them just to use as a sermon illustration. If they weren’t 350 freaking dollars.