Cerian Wathan wants shoes for her daughter in which she can climb trees, and Sarah Hughes is sick of girls’ clothes adorned with pictures of princesses and kittens

Your article Clarks pulls ‘Dolly Babe’ shoe after accusations of sexism (14 August) struck a chord with me. As we prepare to go back to school in September, I am faced with the dreaded trip to the shoe shop to buy school shoes for my seven-year-old daughter. She is not a fussy child, but she does have a fussy mother. I am unwilling to spend £30-£50 on a pair of shoes in which she is not able to kick a football with her brothers, climb a tree or even go out in the rain without having wet feet for the rest of the day. The unfortunate sales assistant is usually the recipient of my ire and often responds: “It’s what sells.” It may be what sells, but when it’s all that a company (or companies) produces, there is no other choice but to buy them. By not producing suitable footwear we are denying our girls the same opportunities that we give to our boys. We have decided to get boots instead of shoes for this year.
Cerian Wathan

• I have a 14-month-old daughter and have been dismayed to find how little choice is out there for girls in both clothing and shoes. On a recent trip to Clarks, we were confronted with mainly pink and sparkly shoes, adorned with bunnies, hearts and flowers. When I clarified what sort of shoe I was looking for (something not garish, pink and sparkly), the shop assistant admitted he’d better not bother showing me the contents of the boxes he had brought out. He laughed and admitted that was the limited choice they had available. We went home empty-handed and rather disappointed.

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