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.
|OK||Some have black text. I have found some made with a very hard, almost grey vinyl. Some are very narrow and long.|
|P||The text runs vertically, not horizontally, in the heel. I have not found any P with black text. The vinyl is very malleable.|
|KT||Unable 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.
There are two different sizes of text font.
They generally feel thin & malleable.
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
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.
They feel like the thicker KT shoes.
The text is raised, easy to read, and quite large.
This shape is inside:
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Light purple
- Light blue
- Teal/ Mint green
- Bright red (not confirmed real)
- Red (rather bright)
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?
- Only three of the 1983 regular series outfits used Mary Janes, #1 Swing Dress, #4 Frilly A-Line Dress, #11 Knit Ducky Dress
- The Spanish Girl and Scottish World Traveler outfits
- They may have come with some of the 650s Regular Mimic Dresses
- They may have come with some of the 700s Dresses
- Cornsilk Series 1 and Series 3 came with either black or white
- Some outfits in Cornsilk Series 4 may have come with them
- Growing Hair Kids came with coloured Mary Janes to match their dresses.
- Separately packaged