Puma shoes with UAE flag colours taken off

Shops in the UAE have pulled out the controversial limited edition Puma trainers launched in the colour of the national flag.

“All shoes that had the UAE flag colours were removed from the shelves yesterday,” said a Puma staff at the Deira City Centre on Tuesday morning.

According to her each pair was sold at Dh690 at all Puma outlets across the UAE.

The release of the special edition shoes, to mark the 40th UAE National Day had attracted a lot of criticism from the general public.

Many Emirati nationals had expressed deep reservations about the use of colours closely resembling that of the UAE National flag on footwear.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 ok to place the flag on the shoes?” she said adding that the practise might be acceptable to other nationals in Europe or elsewhere but it is definitely not here. “May be the Italians are ok with it. But we are not,” she added.

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

In a statement mailed to this website, the company said, “Puma took the feedback from our consumers very seriously and has removed the shoe from all stores.”

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

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.”

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