Clothing retailer Matalan is under fire following the inclusion of ‘statement’ high heeled shoes in its latest children’s summer collection.
The retailer is selling girls Broderie Wedges in various sizes – including a size 10, which is usually worn by children aged between three and four.
‘Perfect for holiday wear’
The product description for the shoes, which have already sold out in some sizes on the company’s website, reads, “Your mini fashionista will love rocking her summer wardrobe when paired with these statement sandals.
“Constructed in white Broderie Anglaise, style notes include a pretty bow front, alongside an espadrille style wedge heel and an adjustable ankle strap fastening. Perfect for holiday wear.”
Wedges pose a health risk to children
However, experts say that the shoes pose a health risk. According to the College of Podiatry, millions of children are at risk of experiencing problems with their feet due to wearing unsuitable and unstable shoes at such a young age.
These can include blisters, callouses, bruising and ligament problems.
The college also suggested that celebrities could be encouraging girls – some as young as six – to wear high heels, with one in 10 now doing so. One in five parents admitted to feeling under pressure to spend money on fashionable footwear for their children.
Experts recommend that children’s everyday shoes are fitted by a professional, after their feet have been properly measured.
Matalan also came under fire in 2016 for marketing a ‘wonderbra’ designed to be used by children.