April 21, 2008— -- TOKYO -- Japan has instructed the maker of Crocs to alter the design of the footwear after complaints that the feet of children wearing the colourful plastic clogs have been injured on escalators.
Japan's trade ministry said yesterday it issued the warning after receiving 65 complaints about Crocs getting stuck in escalators between June and November last year. Most of the cases involved small children.
Similar complaints have come from the United States, where Crocs has its headquarters in Niwot, about 48 kilometres north of Denver.
The Washington Metro – one of the largest subway systems in the U.S. – has even posted ads warning about such shoes on its moving stairways. The ads feature a photo of a crocodile, the company logo, although the signs do not mention Crocs by name.
There are reports from Singapore to Virginia of instances in which children's toe nails, and even toes, have been torn off while wearing Crocs-style shoes on escalators.
In Singapore, the big toe of a 2-year-old girl wearing rubber clogs – it's unclear what brand – was completely ripped off in an escalator accident last year, according to local media reports.
At the Atlanta airport, a 3-year-old boy wearing Crocs suffered a deep gash across the top of his toes in June, one of at least seven shoe entrapments at the airport last year; all but two of them involved Crocs, airport officials said in September.
Crocs Inc. in Colorado was reviewing the report from Japan yesterday. About 3.9 million pairs of Crocs footwear were sold in Japan last year, the ministry said.