JD Sports has come under fire after it ran an “irresponsible” advert featuring motorcyclists in trainers.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it had received 41 complaints about social media advertisements for Nike Air Max 95, which featured bikers doing stunts such as wheelies.

The footage carried the disclaimer “Stunts by professionals – don’t try this at home,” but still drew criticism from the public.

“What level of riding protection do your sneakers provide given your promotional aspect of biker clothing,” one person wrote in the comments on Instagram.

While another added: “Wow @jdsports makes bikers look like hooligans. Well done. Plus, they don’t carry proper gear on their bikes.”

Undated handout photo of an advertisement posted by JD Sports on Instagram.  JD Sports has lodged complaints with the Advertising Standards Authority over the publication "irresponsible" Advertisement showing motorcyclists wearing sneakers deemed unsuitable for the sport.  The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it received 41 complaints about Nike Air Max 95 ads seen on Facebook and Instagram in March, which featured bikers performing stunts such as wheelies and close-ups of the sneakers.  Issue date: Tuesday March 19, 2024. PA Photo.  See PA story CONSUMER JDSports.  Photo credit should read: JD Sports/PA Wire.  NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used for editorial reporting purposes to provide a timely depiction of events, things or people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption.  Reusing the image may require further permission from the copyright holder.  .
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Picture: JD Sports/PA

And one Facebook user wrote: “This is disgusting!! Nike JD Sports, you need to get rid of this. So many young people think it’s okay to ride in sneakers and technical pants, that’s soooo not the case! Do the right thing and take it off!!””

A spokesperson for JD Sports said the footage was filmed on streets closed to the public and that there were medical professionals and health and safety experts on set.

“To do this, our health and safety team carried out a rigorous risk assessment, which we shared with drivers, to ensure maximum safety,” they said.

“We take health and safety very seriously in all aspects of our business.”

One of those who took part in the ad was professional biker OneWheelWavey, who has more than 44,000 followers on YouTube.

“A strict no no”

The ASA said it was investigating the complaints and stressed that the ad itself was not currently being investigated.

“The complainants argue that a model in the advert was wearing shoes that would be unsafe to wear while riding a motorbike, which was irresponsible,” the ASA said.

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“We are currently reviewing these complaints and are therefore unable to provide any further comment at this time. To reiterate, we are not currently investigating the complaint as we are still reviewing the complaints.”

Tony Campbell, chief executive of the Motorcycle Industry Association, said: “It is difficult to understand how an organization like JD Sports can be so wrong on many levels.”

He accused the company of “glorifying” and promoting “anti-social” and “irresponsible riding” in order to sell more sneakers.

“The industry has some clear, self-imposed advertising guidelines that any form of irresponsible driving that depicts speed, wheelies, stoppies or burnouts is strictly prohibited,” Campbell said.

“It is irresponsible for JD Sports to promote and glorify this among young people.”

Sky News has contacted Nike for comment.

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