#InMyShoes: Scientists Show Off Their Footwear On Twitter In Support Of 8-Year-Old Girl Denied Dinosaur Shoes

Consumer GoodsFashionGenderGirlsSTEM 24 Comments

On March 3rd Jane Trow Tweeted the following to Clarks, the international shoe manufacturer and retailer, “My daughter has written you a letter about your sexist shoes. Not all girls want to be pretty princesses.” She attached a copy of Sophia’s letter, which the 8-year-old English girl penned after a miserable shoe shopping experience that ended with the sales associate informing her that the dinosaur-inspired Clarks Stomp Claw shoes she wanted “were for boys’ feet and not for the ‘female bone structure.'” GASP!?!?

Sophia_LetterJane’s Tweet made its way to the shoe maker and they responded. “Clarks are sorry to hear that Sophia was informed these shoes aren’t suitable for girls. The Stomposaurus range can safely be worn by all children.” Hhmmm… really Clarks? Then why on your UK website do you specifically describe this shoe collection as, “BOYS’ styles featuring our fun Stomposaurus character. Exciting dinosaur inspired designs that are bound to be a monster hit.” The Clarks’ reply continued, “We are also developing a broader range of unisex styles which will be available from Autumn/Winter this year.” Of course they are… what uncanny timing.

Sadly, what their statement did not include was any mention of Clarks putting plans in motion for much needed sales team training… the kind that would teach their adult employees how not to say really imbecilic things to little girls.

But the silver lining of Sophia’s tragic shoe story is that it did not end with Clarks’ obligatory and predictable PR response. As word of her experience and brave letter spread on social media, something incredible happened.

Using the hashtag #InMyShoes, countless women scientists and academics took to Twitter to rally around the science, fossil, and color blue-loving 8-year-old. What emerged was a veritable stampede of geologists, engineers, PhDs, archaeologist, etc., all Tweeting pictures of the shoes they wear to do their very important jobs, many of which revolve around the dinosaurs that Sophia loves so much.

It’s really refreshing to see when social media fuels a positive movement, so check out some of our favorite #InMyShoes Tweets inspired by Sophia.

Lead picture of Sophia credit: NNP

  • Tamsin Parker

    When I was 7 or 8, I wore a pair of boys’ sandals from Clarks for years, and no one batted an eyelid.

    • JoDa

      It’s not whether shoes in boy’s sizes fit girls, but the idiotic marketing and sales tactics, topped with a non-apology that doesn’t address the issue. If they had said “you’re right, we’re changing our website to indicate that these are ‘children’s’ dino shoes, and will display the male and female size side-by-side. We will also conduct full training informing our sales staff that all of our shoes may be worn by either sex, and how to properly size those shoes for each customer.” Boom, solved. As is, still idiotic.

      I often buy men’s sport sandals because the small size I take (compared to most men) is often on sale near season end. And the sales people I have dealt with (not Clark’s, stores like REI, CitySports, etc.) have never said anything other than “would you like me to size you for them?”

  • NancyEH

    I had a similar experience trying to find a Minecraft hoodie for my granddaughter. The retailer said that black and dark blue were unisex even though every picture of those color items were on boys.

  • Yup, I’ve always encouraged my daughter to look at both boys and girls clothes (and toys, books, etc.) and pick out what she likes. She’s 14 now and still shops on both sides of the aisles.

    • RF Pearson

      same here – mine’s 7, and also always shops both sides of the aisle. She gravitates towards “action and adventure” themes and anything with a skull on it. All too often these items are targeted toward ‘boys’ but she just zeroes in on what she likes, and no one says a thing about it – other than “Great choice!”

      • There was some concern from my extended family once: daughter’s 6th birthday party, with a bunch of my cousins’ kids over (all 4-8 years old, mostly girls with 1 boy). I got each kid a little 2 shot Nerf gun. Kids ran around outside having a great time.

        After everyone was gone and we were cleaning up (with my Mom helping): my wife and mom both got complaints from not just my aunties (my Mom’s generation) but also from my cousins (my generation), about giving boy toys to girls. I was afraid someone might be upset about toy guns and such (this is American south west, though). Had no idea such ideas were so ingrained.

        After that, made sure to give cool, non-gender specific toys to the kids each year (small Lego sets, science kits, etc). I don’t mind being the weirdo of the family if it helps more girls have fun and see that they don’t have to go along societal gender roles.

    • Good for you! I’d be interested to hear how many people do this with their boys, too. For some reason, it seems most people want their daughter to be a “tomboy”, but not the other way around….

      • Carrie Wilson

        Until my son was 4 we had to buy his pants in the girls section.because he was so tall an skinny that the boys didn’t fit right

      • HappyEmeritus

        OFGS My grandson and I are very good at “kitchen” but the whole point is that virtually the entire world should be gender neutral in terms of what you buy.

        • Oh I agree! What I was getting at, though, is it still a fact that while many people don’t mind their daughters playing with tools or “boy” stuff, very few of them want their sons playing with barbies or “girl” stuff. I totally agree that toys shouldn’t even BE labeled as “for girls” or “for boys” but they are, because adults keep supporting that system.

  • Brandon Binczak

    This is a little silly, isn’t it? Of course they are marketed to boys. Little boys, in general, like dinosaurs more than little girls do. That doesn’t mean girls aren’t allowed to buy them. The shopkeeper was in the wrong for implying the girl shouldn’t get them, but all the outrage is a little misplaced I think.

    • MJ

      I completely disagree…you can see the damage in these types of marketing campaigns in your very statement that “Little boys, in general, like dinosaurs more than little girls do.” My experience has been the opposite. This idea that men (boys) are more inclined by their very nature to science and math than women (girls) is BS. It’s a societal implication through things like this. Nothing wrong with liking Disney princesses, but both of my little princesses LOVE DINOSAURS and their brother is fascinated with the founding fathers. Let’s stop telling our kids what “most” other kids who look like them are into.

    • Origami_Isopod

      How’s the view up there on Mt. Male Privilege?

    • HappyEmeritus

      screaming nonsense. My father of the bride dance with my daughter was “if brontosaurus came to lunch today”

    • Brandon Binczak

      You guys are missing my point. Shoe manufacturers are in it to make money, and nothing else. If their market research shows that it is more profitably to market to boys, then that is what they are going to do. If you want the cultural norm to change, shoe makers are not the place to start.

      • Tana Siemaszko

        Market research is not the point in this particular case. I think it’s dumb to market by gender expression, but even if they do, it’s not on to say “you can’t have this because it’s a boy thing and you present as a girl.” Marketing notwithstanding, the sales clerk was an idiot.

        For years I wore mens loafers because my foot is high and womens loafers were too short and pressed down on my foot at the top side of my arch. The shoes were marketed towards men, even occasionally sold in stores that only sold shoes and leather goods to men, but never did a sales clerk say that I could not buy a pair, nor argue about fitting one on me. Did it look weird to see someone presenting as female being fitted in a mens shoestore? Yep, but I was never turned away.

        In this case it’s not the marketing per se, it’s the idea that a clerk would take it upon themselves to say that a product that fit a child could not be purchased by one that presents as female. “Female feet?” What the heck is that?

        Drag queens and cross dressing men wear high heels designed for women. Women often wear shoes designed for men or boys. Trans* persons at some point in their lives wore shoes designed for both males and females. It’s not the marketing (although that really, really needs to change.

        Heck I admit it I’m a rabble rouser, I’d get my kid’s size and then go buy the bloody dino shoes ANYWAY. What was the clerk going to say? “I’m not taking your money?”

    • Angela

      What?!?! I am a girl (well … grown woman of near 34) and I love dinosaurs, and there are a LOT of girls/women who love them.

      Your world view needs some readjusting there dude.

  • Le A. Barucikufusuki

    Maybe… merge Boys’ and Girls’ aisles and just make stuff for Kids! Maybe this way pink and blue will cease to be gender denominators. Kids are really smart and they observe the division that encourages falling into different roles. The weird “gender colour tradition” has about 85 years, and it’s time to die. Here’s some interesting stuff:


    btw, Clarks UK page still states these are boys’ shoes.

  • frodofrog

    I absolutely love Girls Will Be’s line of clothing for girls, and funded them when they had a kickstarter. They have dinosaurs! And shorts that are long enough for exploring! http://www.girlswillbehq.com/

  • brb39

    People have to make money making shoes , someone has to decide what those shoes look like ,,, No one is ever going to get it right every time ,, we could go the rout the PC Socialist say and all wear Grey Burlap boots with tire tread soles , like good commies

  • brb39

    Why didn’t they just find the boys size that fits her and move on ,,, its got to be a Earth destroying drama session , so they can spout their Commie views

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