Shoes: Mary Janes

Mary Jane shoes came with some of the most beautiful dresses. Which did they come with and what shoes go with what?

Shoes: An overview and reference links

Mary Jane shoes were manufactured by Coleco throughout the entirety of their production. However, the characteristics of the shoes varied by factory and over time.

Hong Kong Shoes

Click for a definition of Hong Kong Kids.

In the beginning, when production took place in Hong Kong [HK], the shoes had a very distinctive look. In general, they have a number of these features but do not need to have them all.

  • They have a thicker feel to the vinyl. In some cases, the vinyl did not mould well and may have a runny look on the inside.
  • Not all have HK shoes have black text in the heel, but if it is black, it’s likely an HK shoe.
  • They tend to look less ‘finished’ than other shoes. The edges look more like they’ve been cut out, or the vinyl around the edges has been trimmed.
  • HK shoes are more likely to get pox than later shoes.
A picture of three different white Mary Jane shoes for comparison. HK P, HK OK, and a later regular shoe.
HK P vs HK OK vs. later regular shoe
OK  Some have black text. I have found some made with a very hard, almost grey vinyl. Some are very narrow and long. 
PThe text runs vertically, not horizontally, in the heel. I have not found any P with black text. The vinyl is very malleable. 
KTUnable to comment. I don’t have any in my collection.  

Post HK Shoes – 1986ish shoes

After the ‘experimental’ Hong Kong period, the shoes became more uniform but still had many characteristics that varied by factory. It can be very difficult to ‘match’ shoes. You THINK they look like they should match, but when you put them side by side, they are nothing alike! They aren’t the same shape, colour, texture, etc.

Most of the shoes have the factory indicator and the words HONG KONG stamped on the inside by the heel, on the bottom. The factory indicator can be inside a circle or not.

After production moved to China, the shoes became more uniform in appearance but continued to vary by factory. Indeed, as more factories began production, the amount of variation increased.

Disclaimer: The following observations have been made based on my collection. I welcome any information and will not hesitate to make revisions as needed.

OK Factory
There are two different sizes of text font.
They generally feel thin & malleable.

P Factory
The vinyl feels like OK shoes but is whiter in colour.
The text is very clear and easy to read, and larger than that in the OK shoes.
The text can include numbers. I have recorded the following:  1,2

KT Factory
The inside tends to be very smooth and clean.
The text is raised and easy to read.
Some have slightly thicker vinyl and feel less malleable.

PMI Factory
They feel like the thicker KT shoes.
The text is raised, easy to read, and quite large.
This shape is inside:

UT Factory
They are slightly bigger than the other shoes.
They are very white, with almost a bluish tinge.
The text is raised, larger, and very clear.
There is a line across the inside bottom.
The text says, Made in Taiwan and has a raised relief, embossed along with a circle with UT inside it.

The IC, SS, FD, and CY factories do not appear to have produced Mary Jane shoes.

Mary Jane’s come in two distinct sizes, one more oval than the other. Within those sizes, there are also differences in length and width depending on age and factory.

Picture of the traced soles of 6 different Mary Jane shoes. The picture shoes the different sizes of shoes that are available and which factories they are from.

All the coloured shoes are of the smaller, rounder type, like the KT shoes.

1986ish – 1989

CHINA Shoes (1987-1988ish)

Eventually, they changed or made new shoe moulds. They now said CHINA instead of HONG KONG (only a few years late), but they no longer used factory indicators. I believe these shoes came next because I have coloured shoes which straddle this situation, some with factory indicators, some with CHINA.

Picture of the inside of a white Mary Jane shoe that says "CHINA".

No Text Shoes (1988ish – 1999)

I believe the last shoes produced had nothing in the heel except possibly a mould number. They are essentially blank. Either this was the final change before Hasbro took over, or these shoes may have all been produced by Hasbro during the transitional period; it is hard to know.

Coloured Shoes

Black and brown Mary Janes appeared in 1985 on Spanish Girl and Scottish World Travelers.

In 1986 the black Mary Janes started appearing on Cornsilk Kids. It wasn’t until 1988 that other colours came out on Growing Hair kids and were sold separately. In addition, occasionally, they can be found on regular transitional kids, probably done as they were getting rid of stock.

I have recorded shoes in the following colours:

  • Black
  • Brown
  • Pink
  • Purple
  • Light purple
  • Yellow
  • Light blue
  • Teal/ Mint green
  • Bright red (not confirmed real)
  • Red (rather bright)

25th Anniversary Mary Janes (separate post)

Foreign Shoes

All the foreign factories produced Mary Jane shoes.
Tsukuda produced a lot of Mary Jane’s shoes, many in colour. It’s not unusual to find a Tsukuda boy wearing Mary Janes. The only Tsukuda Mary Janes I have seen had no markings inside.
For information on Jesmar Mary Janes jump to Shoes: Jesmar Shoes

What outfits did they come with?

Shoes: Regular ‘lace ups’ Pt 2

Which outfits came with regular ‘high top’ shoes, shoes without factories, and more. Part 2

Other relevant posts: Regular Lace-Up Shoes Pt 1, CPK Shoes: An Overview and Links, Lacing CPK Shoes

Regular ‘lace-up’ shoes appear to come in a variety of sizes as well. Some are longer and narrower, while others are shorter and wider. Some are just smaller, period.

1986ish – 1989

CHINA Text Shoes (1987-1988ish)

Eventually, they changed or made new shoe moulds. They now said CHINA instead of HONG KONG (only a few years late), but they no longer used factory indicators. I believe these shoes came next because I have coloured shoes which straddle this situation, some with factory indicators, some with CHINA.

No Text Shoes (1985ish – 1999) (Dates unsure)

I believe the last shoes produced had nothing in the heel except possibly a mould number. They are essentially blank. Either this was the final change before Hasbro took over, or these shoes may have all been produced by Hasbro during the transitional period; it is hard to know.

UPDATE
I’ve been provided evidence of these ‘number only shoes’ on a 1985 MIB SS preemie. This would seem to indicate that at least this factory started using them earlier than I thought. (Messanger, Jana Smith, May 2022) If you have more evidence, I would like to see it.

Coloured Shoes

Coloured versions of lace-ups started appearing in 1988 on Toddlers and Transitional kids. It could be that they were all produced by Hasbro, not Coleco, as they continued to be sold on Hasbro Preschoolers after 1989. For foreign Tsukuda factory also produced coloured lace-ups

I have recorded Coleco-coloured lace-up shoes in the following colours:

  • Pink
  • Vibrant Pink
  • Red
  • Purple
  • Blue
  • Baby blue (maybe mint green?)

25th Anniversary Lace-ups (separate post)

Jesmar Shoes

What outfits did they come with?

Shoes: Regular ‘lace up’ Pt. 1

What to know about regular ‘high top’ cabbage patch shoes, part 1.

Other Relevant Posts: CPK Shoe Summary, Lacing CPK Shoes

Regular lace-up shoes were manufactured by Coleco throughout the entirety of their production. However, the characteristics of the shoes varied by factory and over time.

The information in this post is chronological. If you don’t ‘recognize’ your shoes, keep going.

Hong Kong Shoes

For a definition of ‘Hong Kong Kids’, jump to the Glossary.

In the beginning, when production took place in Hong Kong [HK], the shoes had a very distinctive look.

In general, they have a number of these features but do not need to have them all.

  • They have a thicker feel to the vinyl. In some cases, the vinyl did not mould well, and they have a runny look to the inside.
  • They have textured bottoms.
  • Not all have HK shoes have black text in the heel, but if it is black, it’s a HK shoe.
  • They tend to look less ‘finished’ than other shoes. The edges look more like they’ve been cut out, or the vinyl around the edges has been trimmed.
  • In some cases, the tongue has not been cut out and is still attached.
Picture with a Hong Kong shoes comparing it to a regular shoes . Both are P factory.
Hong Kong P shoe versus later P shoe. Compare the thickness and edges of the vinyl.
OK  Some have black text. I have found some made with a very hard, almost grey vinyl. The bottom edge can be more rounded than in other factories.
PThe text runs vertical, not horizontal, in the heel. I have not found any P with black text.  
KTIn general, KT shoes have more have black text. There are two versions, one with a font smaller than the other. 

For more information on Jesmar Hong Kong shoes visit HERE

Post HK Shoes – 1986ish shoes

After the ‘experimental’ Hong Kong period, the shoes became more uniform but still had many characteristics that varied by factory. It can be very difficult to ‘match’ shoes. You THINK they look like they should match, but when you put them side by side, they are nothing alike! They aren’t the same shape, colour, texture, etc.

Most of the shoes have the factory indicator and the words HONG KONG stamped on the inside by the heel, on the bottom. The factory indicator can be inside a circle or not.

After production moved to China, the shoes became more uniform in appearance but continued to vary by factory. Indeed, as more factories began production, the amount of variation increased.

Disclaimer: The following observations have been made based on my collection. I welcome any information and will not hesitate to make revisions as needed.

OK Factory
The vinyl feels rather flimsy and thin.
The bottoms are flat.
The text is either raised and clear or very blurry.
The text comes in two sizes, the larger being closer to the heel.

P Factory
The stitching decoration is in higher relief than the OK shoes, standing out prominently.
The text is in relief and very clear to read. The text can include numbers. I have recorded the following: 4, 3, 2, 1, 6, 7 They can develop pox.

KT Factory
They look like a regular white P except: They still have a textured bottom.
The vinyl is slightly thicker and continues to have a slight ‘cut’ or ‘trimmed’ look to it, especially the tongue.
The text is raised and clear.

IC Factory
They have very prominent relief stitching decoration, and the vinyl feels more like Jesmar vinyl. The text is embossed and very clear.
A second type looks like the other but has thicker vinyl, which creates a more structured feel. The laces are a nicer, finer, whiter string.
The text can include numbers. I have recorded the following: 5, 2

PMI Factory
They look and feel like OK shoes.
The text says, HONG KONG PMI, in two lines.
A line (like that below) was created by the mould and is visible in the heel. They can develop pox.

UT Factory
The vinyl is firmer but not rigid, very white, and very smooth (almost glossy).
The stitching decoration is in VERY high relief, and it looks like stitches rather than dots.
There is a line, in a U shape, around the heel section of the shoe, on the back, not the bottom.
It was likely left by the moulding process. There is a pronounced sole ridge.
The text says, Made in Taiwan and has a raised relief, embossed along with a circle with UT inside it.
The text can include numbers. I have recorded the following: 1, 4

SS Factory
There are two styles.
The first feels and looks like an OK shoe but is slightly smaller sometimes. They are softer and more malleable.
The second looks more like a P and has high relief decoration.
There are no words, just the factory identifier, either in a circle or not.
There may be numbers located beside the letters. I have recorded: 1,2

The FD and CY factories do not appear to have produced lace-up shoes.

Continue to Part 2

PTP: Fabric Play Accessories

Did you know that there are different versions of the play accessories that you know and love? I didn’t!

Today I noticed that the fabric CPK accessories are also factory marked, and that there are variations by factory.

There are five accessories that were produced, starting in 1984:

Factory Variation

By examining the pieces in my collection, I have determined that these items were made by at least three different factories. The first two, IJ and SS, are well known. The third has no factory indicated on the tag; however, they must have been created for the Canadian market as the tags say Cabbage Patch Kids in French, P’tits Bouts de Choux [PBDC].

I can see visible differences in the colours and quality of the pattern on the fabric used to make 4 of the 5 items. I only have one Kid Carrier so cannot make any comparisons.

The IJ factory used a darker mint fabric for the edging and straps. The pattern is crisp, dark, and rich.   
The PBDC manufacturer used a lighter mint green fabric for the edging and straps. The pattern is in a lighter colour, more washed out, but still fairly crisp.   
The SS factory also used the lighter mint edging, but the pattern is quite rough. The figures are not crisp, and the printing is badly done.   

I do not have an example of an SS carrier, but the buckles used on the IJ and PBDC carriers are very different. The IJ buckles are plastic and square. The PBDC are metal and rounded.

More Information Needed

I was unable to look at any of the Soft Travel Beds as I do not have one (or more) in my collection. Here are the items I have been able to examine, based on factory. If you have one that I am missing, I’d love to get pictures and your opinion!

Picture of a spreadsheet showing which fabric accessories I have recorded and which I do not.