A mum has hit out at Clarks after she was unable to find any sensible school shoes in the girls’ section of their store.
Parent Jacqueline Landen took to the Clarks Facebook page after a shopping trip to complain about the lack of choice of adequate footwear in the girls’ shoe department.
‘I would love to know why you don’t sell any ‘sensible’ school shoes for girls?’ she asked the company, in a post which has since received more than 400 likes.
‘None that I could see had scuff guards on the toes and all of the velcro shoes were very open on the top, meaning my 5 year olds feet get wet when walking to school in the rain. Furthermore, all the soles seem very flimsy compared to the shoes for boys.’
Jacqueline explained that she had eventually chosen to buy a pair of boys’ shoes and customise them with gems and ladybird beads to make them more appealing to her daughter, sharing a picture of the finished set alongside her post.
‘I finally convinced her to accept some boys’ shoes on the promise that my husband would glue some sparkles to them when we got home (picture attached),’ she wrote. ‘We should be encouraging girls to run, crawl, jump, climb trees and play ball games, yet your shoes seem to suggest they should be doing the opposite.’
I would love to know why you don’t sell any ‘sensible’ school shoes for girls? None that I could see had scuff guards on the toes and all of the velcro shoes were very open on the top, meaning my 5…
Other parents were quick to agree with Jacqueline’s message, with one writing: ‘Absolutely agree with all of this. My daughter wants to do jumps and skids on her bike, dig fossils with her pickaxe, do science experiments, climb trees, run through the mud chasing dragons. We need shoes to be as tough as the girls that wear them, not as flimsy as marketing agencies think they should be.’
Another agreed: ‘Exactly this! My daughter loves flowers, sparkles and warm, dry feet and grippy shoes when she runs around whether she’s a princess, pirate, monster or fairy. She needs school shoes that will let her have this!’
Clarks responded to the debate, saying: ‘As a business we regularly carry out research with parents and their children as it helps us to understand the factors that are most important to them in choosing shoes. This information, along with seasonal inspiration is then used by our design teams to create as wide a range as possible, that offers a variety of different styles. We create all of our shoes with active children in mind, and all styles go through rigorous tests to ensure their quality and durability.’
They did apologise for the family’s disappointment, but added: ‘we’re very much of the ethos that anyone can choose any style as long as they fit correctly. Our design teams have been working to broaden our range of unisex styles although currently we have some limitations with our website which means we can only list products under one gender.’
‘In terms of a more closed in and styles with bumpers, due to the product development timeline we were not able to expand the range as much as we would have liked, but we were able to create a new range of school shoes which will be available next year.’