A Southern California shoe company has recalled a model of military-style work boots after a customer complained that the tread leaves swastika stamps on the ground.
The faux pas was brought to the attention of Conal International Trading Inc., the City of Industry company that manufactures the lace-up boots, after a Redditor posted a picture on Imgur showing the footwear alongside its swastika imprints.
“There was an angle I didn’t get to see when ordering my new work boots,” the caption read.
Conal International Trading said it has recalled the Polar Fox boots and stopped selling them.
In a revised statement Friday, the company said that it had imported the offensive footwear.
“We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and the public,” Conal said. “The boots have been recalled and we have stopped selling the item.
“We would like to issue our sincerest apologies to our customers and to anyone who was offended by the Swastika imprint that the boots left behind. The design was not intentional and was a mistake made by our manufacturers in China. There was never any intention to include any offensive designs on the products we import. We will be investigating the issue.
“Conal International Trading, Inc. does not promote hate or discrimination of any kind. Again, we deeply regret that this item caused offense and apologize for the mistake.”
The Reddit user whose post about the boots went viral could not immediately be reached for comment.
Numerous people on Reddit and 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.”
It appeared Thursday that the listing for the boots was removed 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 wrote, “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 station.
The boots were the subject of an article on the popular neo-Nazi website, Daily Stormer, under the headline, “Must have: Polar Fox Boots — Perfect Footwear for Nazis!”
“I sincerely don’t believe this was an accident,” the article’s author wrote. “You’d have to know what mark that pattern would leave. And of course normies don’t approve.”
“In my humble opinion,” the author added, “nothing really compares to the ones worn in the good old days, but I think it’s a good look for any modern Nazi wanting to leave a good impression.”
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.
“I mean, could be coincidental,” one Redditor wrote about the shared code name, “but since the company appears to solely make military style work boots. . . .”
This story has been updated.