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 30 miles 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.

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