Nike has pulled a range of shoes called Air Stab from its U.K. stores after a spate of fatal knife attacks across the country. The shoes, a limited-edition retro range from 1988 relaunched two years ago, also carry the logo Runnin' 'n' Gunnin' on their inner linings and heel. According to the London Times, the shoes have provoked horrified reactions from consumers and charities trying to combat gun and knife crime in Britain.

Nike's pledge to discontinue the Air Stab shoe range on Wednesday came 11 days after two security guards at the store Niketown, in Regent Street, London, were attacked with knives as they tried to apprehend a gang of teenage shoplifters. They were treated for stab wounds to the leg and back.

A total of 53 people have been stabbed to death in London alone so far this year. More than 5,000 people across Britain were admitted to A&E wards suffering from stab wounds last year,

A unnamed spokesman for Nike told The Times that the name was “obviously unfortunate, given the current issues that we face in the UK, and we will therefore be taking the Air Stab out of distribution.”

He denied that the withdrawal was because of worries that the name promoted or encouraged the use of knives. “I do not think it might have a bad influence over young people.”

The spokesman added that the decision had been made “a few days ago” but yesterday the Air Stab range was still on sale for £90 in Niketown. One shop assistant, unaware of the shoe's imminent demise, said they were “really big sellers”.

“The name might seem a bit bad, but it's quite innocent really,” he added. “They were named before all the recent problems.”