UPDATE (May 22, 2019): Following backlash from many people, both in and out of the sneaker community, Nike has officially decided to cancel the release of its upcoming Air Force 1 Low “Puerto Rico” colorway due to the improper use of the shoe’s Panamanian-influenced core design.
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This is called a “Mola” • It is a Panamanian art form. You can find it anywhere in my home country, PANAMA • Respectfully, This is not a part of Puerto Rico’s rich culture. • Though we are both Spanish speaking people, we have different traditions, art & cultural expressions. When celebrating one, please do proper research. These things should not be confused. •
As legendary Hip-Hop producer DJ Clark Kent put it in his IG post above, the intricate pattern that we described last week derives from an art form known as MOLA, which originated in Panama as opposed to our original report that it was inspired by the street art of Puerto Rico. Nike didn’t take the criticism lightly, which ranged from public outcries to literal online petitions created to get the shoe canceled, and they respectfully decided to not go forward with the drop.
See below for the official statement released by the Swoosh:
“We apologize for the inaccurate representation of the design origin for the Nike Air Force 1 ‘Puerto Rico’ 2019. As a result, this product will no longer be available.”
MOLA art is sacred to the indigenous Guna people of Panama, who according to the Washington Post released their own denouncement of the colorway through a statement presented by traditional leader of the Guna Yala community Belisario López. He concludes that “[The Guna people] are not against our ‘mola’ being commercialized. What we oppose is it being done without consulting us first,” continuing by stating the art is inspired by “Mother Earth, because the design is based on everything that is nature.”
While the Puerto Rican Day Parade and those that celebrate it definitely deserve something as special as an AF1 colorway to celebrate the culture, we’re glad Nike could find an understanding as to why this was a misstep on their end. On the reporting side, The Source would like to apologize to anyone who may have felt offended by the widespread attention the original story and the misplaced information in it may have received. Peace to Panama, Puerto Rico and all our POCs out there overall!
This article is an updated version of the one seen below, originally written on May 15, 2019.
Nike has been known to experiment with culturally-influenced colorways in the past, as we saw late last year with the “De Lo Mío” AF1 made in tribute to the Dominican Republic. Now, the Swoosh is prepping a special iteration of the classic silhouette made specifically for the people of Puerto Rico.
Paying homage to the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade that goes down in New York City at the beginning of June, this interesting colorway mixes the classic white-on-white style of the AF1 with an intricate design inspired by the murals you’d find in San Juan, Yauco, Puerta de Tierra and Luquillo amongst other areas that make up the “Rich Port.” The coquí frog makes up the main portion of the vibrant print, and it also appears on the insoles in a more classic animation style of how the commonwealth’s native amphibians look. A translucent outsole, “PR” branding on the tongue tabs and heel, plus a speckled Swoosh inspired by the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan complete the design story on this classic silhouette. We definitely look forward to seeing these at the parade next month!
Since the Puerto Rican Day Parade goes down on June 9, expect this PR-inspired Nike Air Force 1 to drop around that time and retail for $100 USD on Nike.com. See it in better detail below: