Footwear firm Clarks has sparked a sexism row after naming a girls’ shoe range Dolly Babe and a boys’ line Leader.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was among those to criticise the well-known company, which has apologised for any offence caused.

The Dolly Babe range, featuring a heart print detail, has been withdrawn from the website and the firm said it is removing the name from in-store products.

The Leader footwear, which carries a football image, remains on sale online in the boys’ school shoes section.

Writer Laura Waddell tweeted: “Clarks have named range of girls’ school shoes ‘Dolly Babe’ while the boys’ equivalent is called ‘Leader’. Out of touch, sexist & insulting.”

But replying to Ms Sturgeon, a Twitter user by the name of Tod said: “My daughter went though all phases from dolly babe to goth. It’s called choice & made no difference to her self esteem/worth.”

Clarks released a statement saying the Dolly Babe range is “an old and discontinued line, with only remaining stock being sold through our stores”.

The footwear giant apologised for any offence caused (JohnLewis.com/PA)
The footwear giant apologised for any offence caused (JohnLewis.com/PA)

It said it had removed the shoe from sale online “following customer feedback regarding the name” and added it is currently working to remove the name from remaining in-store stock.

It added: “We are working hard to ensure our ranges reflect our gender neutral ethos and we apologise for any unintended offence caused.”