Clarks Says Sorry For 'Sexist' Shoes

Clarks Says Sorry For 'Sexist' Shoes
16 August 2017

You can't have missed the recent online furore about sexist school shoes.

It started with one mum's Facebook post – which went viral – about Clarks school shoes for girls being of inferior quality to boys' shoes, and ended with politicians wading into the debate and calling for an end to sexist clothing lines for kids.

The Guardian reports:

'Clarks are withdrawing a school shoe for girls called “Dolly Babe” after it provoked accusations of sexism, especially as the equivalent version for boys is called “Leader”. Both shoes are made from black leather, but the Dolly Babe has the added cloying detail of a pink insole printed with hearts, while the version for boys – which remains on sale – has a football detail.'

Dolly Babe? Give me strength. Happily, according to the Independent, Clarks has apologised for causing offence:

'Clarks said in a statement that the Dolly Babe range is ”an old and discontinued line, with only remaining stock being sold through our stores”. “We are working hard to ensure our ranges reflect our gender-neutral ethos,” Clarks said. “We apologise for any unintended offence caused.”'

They're still being sold in some retailers such as John Lewis* but the name now reads "Mary Jane"

As a mum of sons and a daughter, this totally twists my melons, so I'm glad to see retailers slowly wising up to the fact that parents don't appreciate this sort of discrimination when it comes to dressing our kids. Maybe this will set the pace for other retailers to follow. Here's hoping.

We'd love to hear your views on this story. Do you find it difficult to find clothing and footwear for kids that doesn't have a sexist agenda? Would you like to see more unisex ranges for children? What ranges do you love for their unisex and gender-neutral designs and slogans? Or have you bought the Dolly Babe shoes and do you think this is an unwarranted fuss? Leave us a comment here or come and join the conversation over on our Facebook page.

131 comments

  • Helen D.

    For goodness sake! Its getting ridiculous now

    • Jenine M.

      It's absolutely out of control!

  • Kathryn S.

    These were my daughter's first school shoes last year. I didn't even look at the name. :expressionless:

  • Julie P.

    My daughter has had these shoes. The name didn't even come into thought. She liked them. Equally if she likes the football ones she would have them.

    • Janey M.

      amelia actually has these this year nan only bought them last week ha ha i have told her shes a disgrace lol

    • Julie P.

      Think this whole argument is just keyboard battle. What kids notice the name of the shoe?!

  • Kirstie C.

    My daughter had these last year, I wasn't aware of them name and to be honest it wouldn't have stopped me buying them - it's just a name!

    • Kirstie C.

      That's what I thought! My daughter has such skinny feet I have to buy the only style that will fit at the time..the name wouldn't and clearly didn't even play a part in it :joy::joy: some people like to moan for fun

    • Lisa F.

      Same here we couldn't be choosy about a name have to take what fits right.

  • Leanne H.

    That is ridiculous. My girls are very girlie and would love the shoes. Shocked!!

  • Sam W.

    People need to get a grip and stop being offended by everything:rolling_eyes:

  • Gemma R.

    Pathetic! Who seriously has time to look at names of shoes and say it's 'sexist' :joy::see_no_evil:

  • Helen C.

    Such a shame my daughter had these and wants another pair, seems a bit of an overreaction to be honest! Who is bothered what a pair of shoes is called or what colour the insole is :see_no_evil::see_no_evil:

  • Tricia W.

    For crying out loud they r shoes!!!

  • Nicola W.

    Omg these people need to get a hobbie or something!

    • Natalie S.

      What is wrong with this world? Who gives a shit. Xx

  • Ingrid S.

    We bought these the other day, my daughter loves them. X

  • Louise T.

    Im sure buying school shoes is stressful enough as it is and noone looks at the names of shoes or even cares, they just want the kids just choose what they like and fit well!

  • Sara H.

    LOL here's an idea how about they change the name?

  • Karina S.

    Change the name of them. Surely it's not that hard

    • Charlene N.

      Summer has these shoes this year. It's just a name of the shoe. Didn't even know the same till I read this. If clarks have withdrawn are they going to refund those that have purchased them as a good will gesture??!! I doubt it. I am deeply offended by the shoes name :joy::see_no_evil:

    • Karina S.

      it's ridiculous isn't it

  • Mal L.

    change the name if you had to but it's a girls shoe I don't know any boy who would want to wear them

  • Vicki W.

    Just brought these today for my daughter lol in patent tho x

  • Lynda S.

    omg get a grip its a bleedin school shoe

  • Beccii G.

    The world has gone mad !! People are offended to easily :angry:

  • Louise R.

    I would not have noticed the name.

  • Kerry C.

    I'm pretty sure shoes have been called dolly shoes for years

  • Jill P.

    Pc gone mad. Some people get too offended by everything nowadays ! Don't like them don't buy them it's as simple as that . It will be somebody who identifies as a black dolly shoe who has taken the hump at the name!

  • Lian S.

    Names won't stop me buying a pair of shoes but the design would - for crying out loud, the boys ones have a protective strip on the end to stop them from ruining the shoes whereas the girls ones don't. Do Clarks not think that girls won't do everything boys do? I tell you, my daughter would have the toe part broken within a week if she had these

    • Emma B.

      Exactly the point I think people are missing!

    • Rebecca T.

      And also, why a heel?!?! And where's the grip on the sole?!

    • Lian S.

      Exactly. Not very practical when it comes to kids shoes.

    • Kelly R.

      My daughter had Clarks (girls) shoes last year that had a protective strip on them. They were fab. Lasted for ages.

    • Jodie K.

      Clarks have 2/3 pairs currently with the rubber cap on the toe to stop scuffing. They are they only ones i will buy.

  • Pete B.

    ??? don't understand why, ok there was the issue over girls shoes not being tough enough or covered over etc but surely they could have these and more rugged ones for those that want them and just change the name

  • Lauren J.

    Oh wow. It's ridiculous people can get so het up about this!! Don't like them, don't buy them!!! :rolling_eyes:

  • Vikki N.

    The world has gone completely bonkers! Non gender specific shoes? Whatever next :flushed:

  • Diane F.

    How ridiculous, some people have far to much time on their hands!!! It's a pair of shoes p.c gone mad

  • Bessie B.

    Aw that's a shame my daughter would of chosen these spesh with the little heel.. who looks at the name of shoes n relates it to sexism.. are we going to be introducing gender neutral shoes worlds gone mad with this sexism n boy girl malarkey. It's a shoe!!

  • Anneka J.

    Absolutely ridiculous! Who even looks at the name of a shoe?! You either like the shoe or don't like the shoe! The world has gone mad with gender neutral stuff. My son wouldn't want to wear these shoes and my daughter wouldn't want to wear her brothers school shoes but they choose whichever shoes they want to wear

  • Alison B.

    They have a stupid name but only found out from this

  • Emma R.

    My eldest dad these last year. Never knew they had a name :joy:

    I would still buy then even knowing what they called.

  • Emily H.

    that's why I couldn't find them earlier! x

    • Lisa R.

      Dear o dear :weary:....if you specifically ask for them I'm sure they'll sell them to you :laughing:, under a different name of course; a little bird told me :grinning:x

  • Sam A.

    What's wrong with them? They are black school shoes . . .

  • Lory M.

    Stupid ppl!only a sick mind can think and found this idiot idea!:rage:

  • Paula C.

    My kids have always had Clarks school shoes. Not once has the member of Staff said oh how about a pair of dolly babe shoes or whatever the boys ones are called. We go in they measure their feet and come out with boxes of shoes. They're tried on, we choose which one my kids like, pay and leave. Some people just have way too much time on their hands. Do they trawl through shops and the internet looking for things to complain about?

  • Joan T.

    Some people need to get a life if this is all they have to complain about!

  • Jane L.

    I just bought my daughter these and she just liked that it had a heart on what does it matter a name is just a name

  • Sally M.

    Anyone looking for them they are in the clarks outlet stores!! :joy:

    • Nic M.

      Your kidding ! I bought them full price but i later went to outlet to buy the indoor shoes thinking i could return and re-buy but i couldnt see them :grimacing:

  • Amanda M.

    I can't say I look at the names to be honest! The clarks shoe fitter comes out with whatever they have in my daughter's size and we go with whatever works best. Why not just rename them instead of withdrawing them? There's nothing physically wrong with them.

  • Debbie M.

    Some people need to get a life!

  • Catherine T.

    This has to be a wind up!

  • Marie M.

    What are they supposed to name them then? Derek?

  • Clare S.

    I think.....it's a shoe.

    I'm also a bit disappointed because my daughter had these last year and they lasted for the full year almost (probably longer had she not played football in them...hey, look at that! My daughter in her dolly shoes playing football!!) also didn't realise clarks named their shoes, I thought people done as I do, point and say 'those please' :joy:

  • Hollie G.

    Oh for crying out loud! It's a shoe! Of all the terrible things in the world to worry about someone kicks off about a shoe??? Honestly. Don't like them don't buy them and move on x

  • Tina S.

    I heard this on tv this morning I did wonder! x

  • Aisling E.

    It's not about a name of a shoe! People need to get a grip it should be parents who teach there kids that men and women are both equal not the name of a shoe or what's written in there jumper xx

  • El M.

    You've got to be kidding me :see_no_evil: this is actually the only shoe that fitted my very skinny footed daughter - it might not be as robust as the 'boys' shoes to those who jumped on this but for me it's the only shoe that fitted !!!! :rage: & has never stopped her from running, playing rugby or anything else in them.

    • Melanie T.

      My daughter has feet that are only just a D fitting and these fit her great, she runs and climbs in them all the time never had an issue!

    • Kelly H.

      I was just about to put the same. The only shoe that fit my daughter. I didn't even look at the name of them, I was just happy them fit her!

  • Natalie S.

    Brilliant, the pair my daughter wants for school! :rage:

  • Kelly C.

    Omg what ever next. In need of a eye roll :rolling_eyes: button

  • Cherylanne M.

    No what's sexist is boys have a huge selection of black shoes for all weather's but girls school shoes are all open at the top so not great in the wind and rain unless you buy brouges

  • Lynne C.

    Why is the world becoming so over sensitive? Ffs it's a name of a shoe!!!

  • Malcolm L.

    It's so childish..why do folk get offended at the slightest thing,politically correctness numpties.

  • Justyna L.

    I better give my girls' GEORGE uniform back.

  • Lee-ane H.

    Pathetic!!! People need to get a grip they are girls shoes get over it !! Kids will grow up there own people regardless what foot wear you put them in but in my opinion my daughter will dress as girly as she likes !!

  • Rachel M.

    I bought these for my daughter the day before this hit the news. She loves them and they fit her well and seem good quality. I dont give a flying rats ass what they are called. In my opinion there are far more important things to worry about in this world than the name of a pair of kids shoes!!

  • Sam P.

    Bloody ridiculous it's only a name it's still a shoe at the end of the day. Oh well if the shoe fits...

  • Justyna L.

    Meanwhile there's millions of children worldwide that can't go to school because they can't afford shoes. Get a reality check people.

  • Karen H.

    Ffs whatever next :rage::rage: how ridiculous :rage:

  • Andrea N.

    Some people need to get a life. IT'S JUST A SHOE.

  • Sarah B.

    Ridiculous, the world has gone fecking mad! Seriously there are more important things going on than a name of a pissing shoe ffs!

  • Susan V.

    OTT. Who picks a pair of shoes based on their name. You tend to choose a pair based the style and if you like them!

    • Barbara R.

      These are the ones Rebecca chose this year. Had no clue shops named their shoes. Totally ridiculous.

  • Alison P.

    I think the worlds gone mad. It's a shoe FFS!

  • Sarah K.

    I did the clarks shop for my 2 yesterday, shoes they chose are lovely and fit them well, will hopefully see the year out.. Wouldn't have a clue what the names of them are though! Not something that comes in to deciding on a school shoe! :thinking: x

  • Louisa Y.

    Oh god people need to get a grip!!!the world has gone pc crazy!

  • Cheryl S.

    Stupid overreaction to something insignificant. Be thankful our daughters are given the chance to have an education and afford shoes on their feet. In some countries girls do not have these options...get a grip :angry:

  • Clare F.

    How ridiculous.. people that make a meal out of something this silly are more than likely the people that create a big uproar over sexism that isn nescessary. Its a girls shoe.. my daughter had bright pink shorts with babe on the butt years ago pretty sure my 4 yr old boy would wear them and not give a dam!

  • Jodie M.

    It was never about the name....I think the point has been missed.....The point made was that there are limited choice in terms of style of shoe for girls.....girls should be able to make a choice between shoes like these or a more robust type/style shoe that might enable them to run/climb/jump etc more easily......withdrawing it isn't the way forward, introducing an alternative is!

  • Jennifer H.

    Can't see what's wrong with the name it's only a pair of shoes

  • Georgina Y.

    Sometimes being politically correct just goes to far :confused:

  • Carol W.

    Aw whats that all about its a pair of shoes for gods sake

  • Ketta W.

    I think it's so silly the world has got to this the children don't even no the name of the shoe they go by what they look like!! Think it's gone to far!!

  • Penny B.

    How dare a girls shoe have a girly name!!!! :scream:

  • Rachel A.

    It's just a name... what is wrong with the world when ppl worry over what a shoes called:persevere::persevere:

  • Jen B.

    Wouldn't stop me buying them, world's going mad!

  • Corinne P.

    Totally ridiculous. It's about the look, quality and fit. Not a name..for crying out loud.

  • Amanda C.

    Why is everyone getting their knickers/pants/backside coverings in a twist over these things?! They're shoes. Don't like em don't buy em, go looking elsewhere....

  • Dolores L.

    People need to get a grip, it's a shoe lol

  • Colette M.

    What an absolute joke! All because the boys ones were called Leader!?! Beyond a farce!

  • Gemma B.

    I think it's a nice enough shoe with a poorly chosen name. My child had then last year and she loved them, tbh I didn't know what they were called. I probably would have bought them anyway because they fit the best but I do agree the name is poorly chosen by Clarks. The implicit suggestion is that girls are pretty and boys are successful. This really isn't about gender specifics and runs much deeper than that.

  • Hayley S.

    My daughter had these shoes, I never even knew the name of them. To be honest I don't care what they are called as long as they fit and are comfortable and last what difference does it make? I wish I had enough time on my hands to worry what my daughter's shoes are called

  • Emma F.

    Ridiculous. Wouldn't even look at the name on a pair of shoes!

  • Rachel Y.

    Simply the world has gone mad. It's a shoe, get over it!!

  • Pamela O.

    It's a fecking shoe! WTF People have too much time on their hands!

  • Jade M.

    Good it will save me a few £1 as if I can't buy them, they can have normal cheaper shoes! X

  • Penny H.

    My daughter would love this shoe. Isn't the world turning sexist making girls have to lose their femininity???? What is wrong with choice! My daughter went scooting in her glitzy jewel sandals even after my insistence of trainers. She like pretty! She climbs trees flips cartwheels plays football mostly in her pretty shoes! Quit with the enforcement of you must wear ugly clumpy shoes.

  • Joanne H.

    Really...??? If u don't like the shoe or the name of shoe don't buy it.... !! Problem solved!! Some People really need to get a life or a job.. you have far too much time on your hands...

  • Ros Q.

    I totally agree with you

    • Ros Q.

      I'm showing my age lol but I always shopped at Clark 's for SJ shoes never looked at the name .More important fit.x

  • Donna H.

    Aww I wouldn't have even looked at the name...dsughter likes she gets...i then wouldn't have said these are called XY or Z...shame nice shoe now of the shelves!!

  • Nic M.

    I bought them yesterday. Didnt even look at the name! I dont look at the name on my own shoes so why would i check the name. So if they were called something else would they be a 'better' shoe. Beyond ridiculous. Companies need to stop giving into this nonsense!

  • Fearne S.

    I only noticed the name of my shoes from Clarks before because I realised it was my name! :joy::joy:

    • Fearne S.

      Soon we will have shoes for any gender! It doesn't matter what the name of the shoe is! As long as it lasts and does it's purpose! It's just a bit fun, adding a name to it like nail polishes etc!

    • Kerri T.

      Getting a little silly isn't it xxx

  • Natalie N.

    It's not the names of their shoes that concerns me.....it's the price of the friggers!! :smirk:

  • Marianne M.

    Who cares!! They're called shoes. Black school shoes. As long as they're well made. Reasonably priced and last a full term who actually cares. Get a grip people :rolling_eyes:

  • Lorinda C.

    Oh the first world problems to worry about a name. To think there is kids and parents who could not care less and will just be thankful to have shoes. World gone mad

  • Karen M.

    I can't believe people get their knickers in a twist over the name of a shoe & it made the news, wtf??!!

  • Nicola S.

    I know, she loves her shoes lol xx

  • Nicola N.

    Oh ffs. Get a grip. Bigger world problems

  • Lisa S.

    Seriously???? People need to get a life, it's a bloody name :rolling_eyes:

  • Melanie T.

    My daughter has those shoes I didn't even know they had a name!

  • Jane W.

    I don't give a fig what they are called. If we find a pair that fit my daughter, that my daughter actually likes and I can afford.....then I'm buying them. Boys , girls or made for a unicorn, shoe shopping for school is hard enough without having a problem with the name lol

  • Claire S.

    People really need to get a life it's a pair of bloody shoes ffs

  • Siân E.

    What a load of bollocks. So stupid it's a name of a shoe! And rightly who takes notice? I certainly don't!

  • Debbie F.

    . They have withdrawn them!

  • Rhiannon A.

    Look at those tiny soles!

  • Tina M.

    The world has gone mad!! I do not find this sexist, I just find it differentiating between gender preference. Do we all have to want to be gender non specific?? What about girls who do want a shoe like this with pink inner sole and love hearts?????? Why is it wrong to have things that are considered 'girly'??? Ok, I get that people want a choice, but clarks do stock sturdier girls shoes. My daughter naturally wants 'girly' shoes!! It's not wrong for some girls to actually want to be 'girly'. If they don't, then buy the damn boys shoes and Moab about something that really matters!!

  • Dannie G.

    Same my daughter had them I don't care what name they have I let my children pick there shoes they like them then it's good.. this day and age all these stupid debates are silly get a grip....

  • Susanne C.

    The name of a shoe wont stop me buying them. If they fit well and my kids like them then its a winner.

  • Lisa L.

    Oh come on... My children get to choose their own shoes. The boys shoes are traditionally fully enclosed and my little lad would wear nothing else (bar football boots!) and my daughter will always choose pretty girls shoes, which tend to be like those pictured - If its bad weather then I can always get her some little boots! Who looks at shoe names anyways?!

  • Jane H.

    What a load of twaddle, too pc!

  • Charlotte A.

    My daughter is a c fitting. Every year she has the same shoe. Pretty sure it was these although they were called dolly somethimg else as they are the only shoe clarks make in a d fitting and the only one she could ever have. If she wasn't now nearly a size 5 (the dolly stop at a 4) I would be very very peeved. I care if they fit I don't give a monkeys what the bloomin things are called. Political correctness gone mad!!

  • Rachael W.

    Pathetic people need lighten up !!

  • Marie H.

    Really!!! So they are letting a few bored people who find anything to moan about win!! Absolutely ridiculous what is this world coming too they are a pair of bloody shoes :sleeping:

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