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01 March 2024

Puma apologises for shoes with UAE flag colours

By Joseph George

Puma has apologised to UAE consumers and ordered the removal of the controversial shoes that were designed with the colours of the national flag.

In a statement mailed to Emirates 24|7, the company said, “Puma took the feedback from our consumers very seriously and has indefinitely removed the shoe from all stores.”

The special edition shoe that were released in the UAE market as part of the 40th National Day celebrations were designed in red, green and white with a black sole, resembling the national flag. There was serious resentment among the public, who termed it as ‘disrespectful’ to the nation.

Expressing its apology for any trouble caused on this matter the company’s statement said, “The shoe was never intended to upset or offend our customers here in the Middle East, but to give the people of the UAE a piece of locally created design as a symbol of recognition of this great occasion.”

Earlier, a Puma staff at the Deira City Centre had confirmed that all shoes that had the UAE flag colours were removed from the shelves on Monday itself. Each pair was sold at Dh690 at all Puma outlets across the UAE.

Aida Al Busaidy, a media professional was scathing in her criticism on brands that do not take the nation’s cultural sensitivity into consideration before thy launch a product. “A national flag represents a country and what it stands for and it is strictly not right for depicting it on shoes or anything that is worn on the feet. It is highly disrespectful,” she said.

More care should be taken when using colours of national flags of countries.

“They really need to understand a nation's cultural values. On what basis did they decide to use these colurs. Did they conduct any research and speak to any of the Emirati population to find out if it was okay to place the flag on the shoes?” she said adding that the practice might be acceptable to other nationals in Europe or elsewhere but it is definitely not here. “May be the Italians are okay with it. But we are not,” she added.