We spent £60 on Lelli Kelly school shoes for our daughters – they’ve gone MOULDY but brand's blamed us, we're livid | The Sun

FUMING parents have hit out at a leading children's brand after their kids brand new £60 school shoes turned MOULDY.

Dionne Spence, from Glasgow, has bought Lelli Kelly shoes for daughter Jessica for the past four years.

And this school term was no exception as the mum of three, 30, picked up a new pair from Glasgow Fort shopping centre this summer.

Dionne, a nurse, said: "My wee girl's in primary four and I've been buying Lelli Kelly shoes since she started school.

"They've been absolutely fine in the past, but she wanted different ones this year."

Little Jessica, seven, chose the brand's 'angel' shoes which features a detachable heart charm bracelet, and comes with a free smartphone makeup pallette.

Lelli Kelly, founded in Italy in the 90s, are renowned for their colourful and sparkly shoes, and soft leather.

This year, the company launched its new eco-friendly school shoe range with apple skins being used in the insole and lining. Jessica's shoes were not bought from this range.

Dionne said her daughter wore the shoes a maximum of nine times before she noticed mould spores all over the insoles.

"I took them out of her room to put them away and I noticed they were all mouldy", she revealed.

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"She's in primary four so she gets herself ready and puts her own school shoes on. I wouldn't even have noticed if I hadn't put them away for her that night.

"I was disgusted. I was horrified. I started to worry about mould in my house or thought Jessica had left something lying around that went mouldy.

"It's disgusting to think my child's been wearing these. She obviously doesn't know what mould is, she doesn't know any different. she's seven.

"So for all I know she could have been wearing these for two weeks with mould in them."

After getting in touch directly with Lelli Kelly to complain, the Italian shoe brand emailed Dionne back to inform her that the "shoes were fine at the moment of purchase".

Dionne added: "They said the fact that they got mould is due to the fact that the shoes got wet or the foot has sweated and they have not been dried in the right way.

"We've been having a heatwave, it's not been raining. It rained one day that she had to wear them and she got a lift that day, and the school have an indoor policy at break times when it's raining.

"I don't feel like they're taking it seriously. They made me feel like it was just me, but there are so many other people.

"Mould is obviously a dangerous thing for anybody, but my kids have health issues. Jessica has spina bifida and my two youngest have severe asthma. It's just disgusting.

"If shoes go mouldy with sweat, they shouldn't be school shoes. I've got Jessica's old Lelli Kelly's from last year and they're not mouldy or anything.

"She wore them the full year. It seems to be this year's batch of school shoes. It's the ones with the wee charm bracelet on the back."

Dionne has since been issued a refund from her local store, but was forced to spend £15 on a pair of ASDA shoes while she waited for the issue to be resolved.

Her daughter even got in trouble at school for wearing trainers until Dionne had time to pick up some last-minute replacements.

Dionne said: "Once I explained, the school were brilliant and said it's fine she can wear them.

"Then when I bought her the Asda ones she said 'I'm not wearing them'. But I told her, yes you are.

"I'm quite privileged in that I can go out and buy other school shoes, but what about the parents who can't?

"Lelli Kelly school shoes are not cheap. £60 is a lot of money for any shoes, I wouldn't even spend that on trainers for myself.

"I would never buy another pair of Lelli Kelly shoes in my life. Not a chance in hell. And my wee girl's still at the age that she likes them, all her friends have got them, she wants to wear them. But no way.

"I will get her Doc Martens or something with the refund money, but not Lelli Kelly's again."


Emma Watterson, 31, grabbed five-year-old Sophie's Lelli Kelly shoes on Sunday to give them a polish. 

It was only then that she noticed mould was forming inside the shoes, purchased on August 15.

The mum, from Lanarkshire, said: "I was absolutely horrified. 

"The external structure of the shoes are normal with no defects. I have maintained the shoes as per Lelli Kelly’s advice and not once have they gotten wet. 

"I feel incredibly guilty that I have only noticed her shoes being like this. I feel it’s an issue that the wider general public need to be made aware of."

Emma was also informed by Lelli Kelly by email that the shoes "did not present any mould problem" when delivered to retailers.

She added: "Lelli Kelly have taken no responsibility for this despite hundreds of parents having the same issue. There is clearly a fault in the manufacturing process of the shoes which in turn is exposing our children’s feet to mould. 

"I have never had shoes go mouldy and the blame clearly sits with the manufacturer.

"I have returned the shoes to the shop I purchased them from and received a refund."


Another mum, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Scottish Sun Online her daughter has even contracted athlete's foot and a fungal nail infection after being repeatedly exposed to mould in her school shoes.

"Our GP told us they have never known a child so young to have one", she told us.

Hundreds of outraged parents have also taken to social media to share similar experiences and grim pictures of their children’s mouldy shoes.

Emma Coffield, who bought them in Schuh, said: “I checked [my daughter’s] and they are covered in mould. 

“Been worn for three weeks, cost £60 and they’ve done this. Honestly disgusted.

“I’m 40 years old, I’ve had plenty of pairs of shoes in my life, leather ones, expensive ones, I'm well aware how to look after them.

“My little girl has had Lelli Kelly boots and shoes before but sadly I’ll never be buying them again.

“Why would anyone want to buy shoes that might do this, regardless of the weather?”

Leonna Findlay, from Bellshill, Lanarkshire, added:  “I thought surely not but double checked [my daughter’s] just in case. Sure as ever there it was at her toes. Mould growing everywhere on both shoes. 

"Please check your wee girls shoes.”

Another mum, Kailey, wrote: “Went to polish my daughter’s three week old Lelli Kelly school shoes to notice mould spores all growing inside them.

“They have never been soaked in water and she wears them 3-4 days a week for six hours a day.

“The shoes are still immaculate on the outside.

“Why the hell are they mouldy? I’m absolutely horrified.”

Fellow parent Kylie Rose revealed: “My little girl’s went mouldy after two days of wearing them. Go to keep the shoes that I binned and full refund.”

Caroline Grant, from Motherwell, wrote: “Shocked by this. I checked my daughter's who just got them for the new term and there's mould on the insoles.”

And Hannah Stevely said: “Checked my wee girl’s, she’s wore them 9 times since our schools went back on the 21st August.

“Absolutely horrified. My wee girl is in primary 4, every year we’ve had the exact same school shoe only bought the newer bigger size. Never had this issue before and just checked last year’s she wore for the whole school year and they are immaculate inside not a mark. 

“This year’s is absolutely disgusting. We couldn’t work out why her new white socks were stained. We thought she had been using paint or something. It’s obviously been stained from the severe mould growing inside 

“We keep ours [shoes] on a metal rack in the hall. It’s an open space. The same place the shoes have been kept every year and never had an issue. There’s definitely an issue with the shoes this year for sure.”

Lollipop Boutique, who sells Lelli Kelli shoes in their Glasgow store, also said in a social media post: “We have been made aware there are posts circulating on social media with regards to mould on Lelli Kelly school shoes [this season’s only].

"As it stands just now, we have not been made aware from Lelli Kelly that there is an ongoing issue at the moment.

“We ask that if your child’s shoes do have mould on them that you bring them into the store, with proof of purchase.

“We can then be in contact with Lelli Kelly on the next steps.”


When approached for comment by the Scottish Sun, a Lelli Kelli spokeswoman blamed "improper use by consumers" for the mould.

She said: "We dispute the allegations and believe that this problem is not due to a manufacturing defect on our part, but to external factors such as improper use and poor product care by consumers.

"We believe that the cause of the mould, in case of being proved, will be attributable to the improper use by some consumers, who did not take due care in handling the shoes.

"If it were a technical problem of the products, the shoes displayed in the retailers should also have this defect at the moment of sale.

"Therefore, any spontaneously produced mould problem of the shoes would already have been visible at the time of fitting and purchase, since several months elapsed from production to sale.

"On the contrary, the fact that the shoes have been purchased by consumers, proves that there was not any mould problem.

"Furthermore, the fact, to be of general concern, would have to affect a high percentage of shoes sold and not just a few units.


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"Lelli Kelly Ltd sells around 100,000 pairs of school shoes annually, and so far we have received around 60 complaints about the mould problem.

"This means that the problem affects around 0.060% of the products sold, which is an extreme small number to claim that there are manufacturing defects."

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