Girls, sparkles and buying shoes

Kids shoes and adult's shoe

I have a message for you Clarks Shoes: In 2015, not EVERY girl wants their shoes covered in flowers and sparkles.

Maybe, just maybe, you might want to think about that when designing your 2016 range. Because, at the moment, you’ve got a pretty dire choice in your kids’ product range for girls who want something a little different.

Girls don’t just like princesses

I’ve just spent an exciting afternoon (by which I mean a frustrating afternoon) trying to buy trainers for my little girl. She’s a bright, energetic, inquisitive little thing who’s just over two and half years old. And, at the moment, her favourite things are:

  • Dinosaurs (especially triceratops)
  • Tigers
  • Cuddly toy rabbits (lots of those….eight, in fact, at the last count!)
  • Spaghetti hoops
  • Running around at top speed
  • Looking at things through her Peppa Pig magnifying glass

What she isn’t massively interested in is:

  • Princesses
  • Pink (she’s much more into purple at the moment)
  • Sparkles (unless they’re sequins she’s sticking on a picture at playgroup)
  • Pink (did I mention that already?)
  • Oh, and PINK!

Girls have a whole world of things to explore

You see, Clarks, little two-year-old girls have a different viewpoint on colour and style to your designers and marketing people.

They don’t genetically like shoes with sparkles and flowers on, just because they happen to be female. They don’t automatically like footwear (or clothing, or toys for that matter) that’s pink, just because they’re little girls and not little boys.

And, here’s the real crux of the matter: little girls like lots of different things *shock, horror!*

They might like tigers (my daughter loves them), they might like diggers and construction toys like Lego, they might even like superheros, or bats, or baking, or dolls, or elves and goblins. In fact, there’s probably no limit to what a little two-year-old girl might have taken a liking to.

So, why are you only offering them shoes with flowers, glitter and sparkly bits on?

Why do kids shoes need to be split by gender at all?

The boys shoes have engaging things on them like dinosaurs and action heros etc. Exciting things. Active things. But, equally, why shouldn’t there be some boys shoes with a bit of bling and sparkle on? Not all boys are little Bob the Builders, after all.

In fact, why do there have to be ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ shoes at all? Small children just need the right shoes for the right weather and the right activity. So why not just divide your product range up into these more practical, real-world categories:

  • Running-around-in-the-park-getting-dirty shoes
  • Kicking-a-muddy-ball-around-the-garden shoes
  • Playing-at-princes-and-princesses shoes
  • Being-cosy-and-watching-CBeebies slippers
  • Jumping-into-muddy-puddles boots
  • Kicking-sandcastles-over-in-summer shoes
  • Splashing-in-the-sea flip flops
  • Looking-smart-at-a-family-wedding shoes

I think you’ve got just about everything covered there, whether the child in question is a boy or a girl. If you put things into categories by their usage, and not just by gender, you’ll be amazed how much easier it is for parents to find the right shoes for their kid.

Oh, and my daughter chose the cool, rugged trainers with a dinosaur on the sole….from the ‘boys’ range. And I’m sure she’ll have a heck of a lot more fun in them than the sparkley, pink, lightweight ones in the ‘girls range’.

And I’m fairly certain she’s not the only small girl who loves running around after imaginary dinosaurs. So maybe you need to start designing some shoes for energetic, inquisitive little girls too…maybe even with a triceratops on the side, eh!

Let me know if you need a feisty two-year-old to test them out…


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