4 February 2019Trademarks

Nike urged to pull Air Max shoes over ‘blasphemous’ logo

Nike is facing pressure to recall one of its shoe brands over anger that the design on the sole of the shoe allegedly resembles “Allah” in Arabic script.

The Air Max 270 shoes, released in 2018, feature what Nike claims is a “stylised representation” of its Air Max trademark.

A  petition, which has gathered over 33,000 online signatures at the time of publication, urged the sportswear manufacturer to pull the “offensive and blasphemous” product from the market.

The petition claimed that placing “the name of God” on the sole of the shoe, where it would “be trampled, kicked and become soiled with mud or even filth”, was disrespectful to Muslims and “extremely offensive”.

In a statement provided to WIPR, Nike said that the the design was a stylised representation of its Air Max trademark, and “intended to reflect the Air Max brand only”. The company added that “any other perceived meaning or representation is unintentional”.

“Nike respects all religions and we take concerns of this nature seriously”, the statement said.

Referencing a  similar controversy in 1997, when Nike agreed not to sell shoes bearing a mark resembling “Allah” in the UK, the petition challenged the company’s commitment to greater “scrutiny on logo design”.

At the time, Nike told news website  The Independent that it had immediately diverted supplies away from Islamic countries and discontinued production, while also introducing a review panel into its development process to prevent any similar problems in future.

The spokesperson said that through this process Nike had “developed a deeper understanding of Islamic concerns and Islamic issues”.

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