One of my favorite shoe brands has put its foot in its mouth. A sales clerk in the UK told a little girl that the shoes she had picked out were for boys. So Sophia Trow wrote the UK-based Clarks Shoes and told them exactly what she thought: she didn’t like flowery shoes. She wanted dinosaurs. Her mother tweeted it to Clarks, and a PR nightmare was born. #InMyShoes on Twitter, if you want to weigh in. I did!
As someone with a similar loathing for “girl shoes,” I feel for Sophia, I really do. It was my desire to wear what are traditionally thought of as “men’s shoes” – oxfords, wingtips, cap toes, monkstraps – that drove me to start blogging in the first place. One cannot rule the world in a ballet flat, and thank heaven for little girls who recognize that. Kudos, Sophia.
Let’s not crucify Clarks
But, please, let’s not vilify a good company because a clerk made a sexist, ill-informed, thoughtless comment. Clarks Shoes makes some of the best choices available for women who want comfortable, attractive, SANE shoes. I can’t remember a time that I didn’t have at least one pair in my closet. They do make some heels, but they’re pretty tame by today’s standards. And they also make a womens wingtip; my 17-year old daughter has a pair. They’re good shoes that hold up well. They even carry some in wides and narrows, which are extremely hard to find Kudos, Clarks Shoes. Unisex shoes
One extremely encouraging development is that a new company is starting a line of gender-neutral footwear. Nik Kacy’s motto is “Style should not be defined by gender.” Amen, brother! Or sister, I can’t really tell. And it doesn’t matter: The shoes are fantastic! Handmade in Portugal. And you can pre-order a pair by contributing to the Kickstarter campaign. Kudos, Nik Kacy, I salute you. Hopefully gender-neutral will be the start of a new wave in shoe design!