DUBAI // The German sportswear maker Puma has been forced to apologise after releasing - and quickly withdrawing - a limited-edition pair of National Day trainers in the colours of the UAE flag.
Puma's SpeedCat shoes caused an outcry among Emiratis unhappy at seeing their flag represented on footwear, which are considered dirty. Showing the bottoms of shoes in the region is often used as a way to insult others.
In a statement through its publicist, StickyGinger, Puma said the Dh649 shoes, which were available in shops across the UAE, were not "intended to upset or offend" their customers.
"Puma took the feedback from our consumers very seriously and has indefinitely actioned the removal of the shoe from all stores," StickyGinger said.
"Puma apologises for any trouble caused on this matter."
Meanwhile, doctors have warned that another commemorative product, contact lenses in the national colours, could cause corneal ulcers.
Dr Travis Pollock, a consultant ophthalmologist at Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, said the Dh150 lenses, made in Malaysia and imported by an independent UAE distributor disease could lead to scarring, which could cause blindness.