Vans Pulls Pro-Hong Kong Shoe Design, Saying It’s Too Political

Skateboarding shoe and clothing brand Vans has pulled a shoe that promoted solidarity with protestors in Hong Kong.

The featured shoe was the winning design of the brand’s annual Vans Custom Culture competition. The shoe design won the competition by an online popular vote, however, it was too political for Vans. The controversial design depicted protestors holding umbrellas and wearing masks, which the people of Hong Kong have used to shield themselves from tear gas despite recent bans.

“As a brand that is open to everyone, we have never taken a political position and therefore review designs to ensure they are in line with our company’s long-held values of respect and tolerance, as well as with our clearly communicated guidelines for this competition,” the company said in a statement posted on Facebook.

The design depicted pro-liberty protestors seeking autonomy from communist China.

Chinese-aligned Hong Kong police have grown increasingly aggressive in recent weeks, but thousands of people continue to march for freedom. Most recently, a pro-Hong Kong police taxi driver plowed through the crowd Sunday breaking a girl’s legs.

The police have shot, beaten, and raped protestors, according to pro-democracy leaders in Hong Kong who spoke to Sara Carter while on a recent trip to South Korea.

Protestors continue to stand up to China, while chanting “Give me liberty or give me death.”