Adidas quietly allows ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ on customisable trainers, but still bans ‘bi’ and ‘trans’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A month on from criticisms faced for banning the words “gay” and “lesbian” from its range of customisable trainers, Adidas has allowed them, but still bans “bi” and “trans” from being used.

Adidas allows users to customise various models of its trainer before purchasing, using an online system (miadidas) which filters certain words.

As well as the word “gay”, the online system for customising trainers also previously banned the words “lesbian”, “bisexual”, “bi”, “trans”, and “homophobia”, as well as actual offensive words such as “faggot”.

Last month the company told PinkNews that it would leave in place its ban on the words as “a restrictive measure that unfortunately prevents both genuine and disruptive users from experiencing the miadidas offer. It is the sad reality of the society we live in.”

PinkNews pointed out that Nike’s equivalent iD, allowed the words “gay” and “lesbian” on its trainers.

Now the miadidas system appears to have been updated to allow the words “gay” and “lesbian”, but the words “bi”, “bisexual”, and “trans”, are still blocked as they remain on the “disallowed” list.

Writing to a PinkNews reader, Adidas customer services said: “Recent events have resulted in the brand reviewing the full miadidas program to ensure that we have consistency across all markets and that the service being offered is truly reflective of what consumers want to order.

“To our knowledge no one has purchased shoes with hateful comments or text included within their design, as we feel we have the correct controls in place.

“Diversity is a core value of the adidas Group and that we don’t discriminate in any way, be it religious beliefs, personal preference or anything else.”


In January, faced with a similar controversy, Coca-Cola pulled the plug on a ‘virtual coke’ website after a row erupted over the site filtering the word “gay”.