A woman on Facebook has criticised Clarks for selling different quality shoes to both boys and girls.
Jem Moonie-Dalton addressed the comment to Clarks on their Facebook page.
In it, she complained that while school shoes for boys were 'study, comfortable, and weather proof', the soles of shoes marketed at girls in the shop 'have inferior soles' and were 'not suited to outdoor activities in British weather'.
In the boys’ section the shoes are sturdy, comfortable and weather proof with soles clearly designed with running and climbing in mind. In contrast, the girls’ shoes have inferior soles, are not fully covered and are not well padded at the ankle.
What messages are you giving to my daughter? That she doesn’t deserve shoes that put her on equal ‘footing’ with her male peers? That she should be satisfied with looking stylish whilst the boys are free to play and achieve in comfort? That she shouldn’t try and compete with boys when they play chase – girls’ shoes aren’t made for speed, so perhaps girls aren’t either? These messages may not be explicit, but they are there, and are insidious.
Read her full 'letter' to Clarks, below, which was also signed by 10 others.
In the comments section of the Facebook post, Clarks responded, saying the company was...
...very much of the gender neutral ethos that anyone can choose any style as long as they fit correctly.
Over the past few seasons, following customer feedback and market research, we have focused on creating more unisex products and we are looking at a number of elements of our business to promote this gender neutral ethos, both on our website and within the store environment.
As a large global company, it is not always possible to implement some of the changes that we want to make as quickly as we would like [...] but we are looking to change as quickly as we can and are working hard to ensure this gender neutral ethos is reflected in our stores as soon as possible.
You can read their full statement here: