US shoe company recalls boots after customers complain they leave swastika imprints

Polar Fox boots manufactured by Conal International Trading Inc which left imprints of swastikas.
Polar Fox boots manufactured by Conal International Trading Inc which left imprints of swastikas.PHOTO: REDDIT

WASHINGTON (WASHINGTON POST) - A California shoe company has recalled a pair of combat boots after customers complained that the tread leaves swastika stamps on the ground.

The faux pas was brought to the attention of Conal International Trading Inc, a company in Los Angeles that manufactures the lace-up boots, after a user on Reddit posted a picture showing the footwear alongside its swastika imprints.

The caption read: "There was an angle I didn't get to see when ordering my new work boots."

Conal International Trading said it has pulled its Polar Fox boots and in a letter to the public, the company apologised to customers "and to anyone who was offended by an imprint one of our boots left behind".

"This was in no way intentional," the company said in the statement Thursday (Jan 12) afternoon.

"It was an obvious mistake made by our manufacturers in China. We never intended to have any swastikas design on our shoes. We are recalling all shoes immediately. We will not be selling any of our boots with the misprint to anyone. We would never create a design to promote hate. We don't promote hate at our company."

The Reddit user could not immediately be reached for comment.

Many people on Reddit as well as Amazon, where the boots had been sold, cracked Nazi jokes - ranking the boots a "nein out of 10" and saying they were "heily recommended."

One person wrote on Reddit that they were "good for marching into Poland". The post on Reddit has received more than 5,000 comments.

The listing for the boots was removed on Thursday from Amazon. "The soles don't look that much like swastikas, but the prints are unmistakable," one person wrote on Reddit. "And whoever made the soles would have understood that."

CBS Los Angeles reported that one woman said: "I mean it's really strange to me that that would be completely unintentional.

"Because when you design them, if you look at it, it reminds of you something," another woman replied, according to the news station.

The combat boots share a name with a World War II military operation - Polarfuchs, or Polar Fox - during which German and Finnish soldiers captured Salla, Finland, from the Soviet Union.

That led one Redditor to question if the shared code name was indeed a genuine coincidence, given " the company appears to solely make military style work boots".