Nike’s Mola Air Force 1

Nike has canceled the special edition shoe, Nike Air Force 1 ’Puerto Rico’ 2019, after a controversy with the Guna Yala comarca.

While the shoe was launched as tribute to Puerto Rico, it was quite clearly depicted a mola, a traditional pattern used by the indigenous community Guna, originally from Panama and Colombia. The group has denounced the use of the pattern which is not only of great religious and cultural meaning, but the sale of molas is also of great economic importance to the tribe. 

"We apologize for the imprecise representation of the origin of the design of the Nike Air Force 1 ’Puerto Rico’ 2019. Consequently, this product will no longer be available ," the company said in a statement.

Belisario López, a traditional leader of the community, said in a statement that they do not oppose the sale of mola but that it bothers them that this was done without having consulted them before. "They should recognize that the mole that appears on Nike shoes belongs to the Guna people," he said.

The company was also criticized in social networks.