When Nike released the Dominican-inspired Air Force 1s, it was clear the company had taken great care to accurately represent this community, but when it came to portraying Puerto Ricans via footwear, the company missed the mark. Featuring a patterned upper, the shoe is supposed to highlight coquís – aka the frogs that you’ll hear across the island. However, the pattern resembles the mola art of the Guna community, an Indigenous group in Panama.
@Nike Guys, these are cool sneakers, and I get the reference to the Coquí frog, but this pattern and design are NOT from Puerto Rico!
It's a design called MOLA, made by the Guna people in Panama and parts of Colombia.
It is a HUGE failure of your research departament. pic.twitter.com/NsgUrRiYAM
— Isaac Larrier (@IsaacLarrier) May 16, 2019
The Guna group spoke out about the pattern, and on Tuesday, Nike announced that it would no longer release the Puerto Rican-inspired Air Force 1. “We apologize for the inaccurate representation of the design origin for the Nike Air Force 1 ‘Puerto Rico’ 2019,” the company said in a statement. “As a result, this product will no longer be available.”
Originally, the shoe was going to be released in June.