A style of combat boot called the Polar Fox is being recalled due to what a spokesperson for the City of Industry company that makes them is calling a "design flaw." Sure, that's one way of putting it, if by "design flaw" you mean "grip soles that leave behind a swastika patterned footprint."
The "design flaw" became apparent on January 10, when a surprised Redditor posted a picture of the imprint his new work boots made. Along with the picture, he posted the text, "There was an angle I didn't get to see when ordering my new work boots…"
It being Reddit and all, the picture launched a thousand Nazi jokes (no, there's nothing funny about Nazis, but that doesn't mean you can't still make a pun or two). Lots of people took to Amazon to leave joke reviews for the boots, and they were featured on a neo-Nazi website called The Daily Stormer.
The author of that article wrote, “I sincerely don’t believe this was an accident. You’d have to know what mark that pattern would leave."
It should also be pointed out that the name of the boot, Polar Fox, is basically the same as Artic Fox (which translates to Polarfuchs in German), a WWII military operation wherein German and Finnish soldiers took the city of Salla, Finland, from the Soviet Union.
Amazon has since pulled the boots from their site, and along with the recall, Conal International Trading apologized to "anyone who was offended by an imprint one of our boots left behind.” On Thursday they said,
This was in no way intentional. 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.
In an email to Daily Mail, the company's e-commerce manager said, "That was totally something that wasn't intentional or anything like that. It's something that we're going to pull off the shelves obviously...It was obviously a design flaw."
He added that they would be speaking to the design team about how the swastikas ended up on the shoe. Daily Mail asked if it could have been related to the original meaning of the swastika, a symbol that represents well-being or good fortune in the Hindu and Buddhist religion. The manager, Anthony Nguyen, said, "Obviously that's something we have ask the designers. That symbol existed before the swastika in Buddhism."
It did, and that's why the Nazis co-opted it. Either way, companies would be well-advised to not put swastikas on their shoes, whether they mean "well-being" or "white power." Come on.