When we think of Skechers, we immediately think of trendy and comfortable shoes. The company has come a long way since its humble beginnings of selling skate shoes out of a beach house in California.
Today, Skechers is a global brand, and its sneakers, boots, and sandals are worn by people of all ages across the world. In this blog post, I will take you on a journey through the history of Skechers and how it became the successful footwear company it is today.
The Humble Beginnings (1992-1995)
In 1992, Robert Greenberg and his son Michael Greenberg founded Skechers after they saw an opportunity in the rapidly growing utility-style boots market. The first Skechers product, called the ‘Utility Logger,’ was designed for men who worked in construction, logging, and other outdoor jobs.
The boots were made of durable leather and came with unique features such as steel-toe protection and rugged lug soles that provided excellent traction. The boots became an instant success, and Skechers soon expanded its product line to include various types of boots and shoes for men and women.
However, like any new business, Skechers had its share of challenges. In 1993, sales slowed down as a result of the recession that hit the US economy. To stay afloat, Skechers had to pivot its focus and rebrand itself as a lifestyle-shoe company.
The Greenbergs hired fresh designers to create edgier and trendier products to appeal to younger consumers. The decision paid off as the brand quickly gained popularity among the youth, who loved the trendy and comfortable designs of the new Skechers products.
In 1995, Skechers launched its first television advertisement campaign, which featured the popular football player Joe Montana. The ad was a huge success and helped Skechers generate massive sales quickly.
But things weren’t always smooth. In 1996, Skechers faced a setback when its products were deemed unsafe and recalled due to their propensity to fall apart. The incident significantly impacted the brand’s reputation, but Skechers bounced back by collaborating with famous celebrities like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera to promote its products.
Skechers continued to innovate and create new designs throughout the years, including the popular Shape-Ups line that received huge attention globally. The brand also expanded its product line to include various footwear styles, such as athletic shoes, boots, sandals, and slip-ons.
Innovation and Growth (1996-2000)
Skechers’ rise to the top began when they recognized the need for variety in the male footwear market. They realized that the market was saturated with similar designs and decided to fill the gap in the market by introducing chunky sneakers. They started with the Skechers Energy, a style that was initially ridiculed by people in the industry.
However, Skechers persevered, and the product eventually gained popularity, leading to a subsequent uptick in sales. The company went on to create other classic men’s designs such as the Skechers Eminem, the Skechers D’Lites, and the Skechers Luminators. Through these designs, Skechers set an approach that many other shoe brands have since emulated.
The 90s brought with it not only a change in fashion but a shift in cultural influences. Skechers took advantage of this by making strategic partnerships with prominent cultural figures in the industry. The brand collaborated with famous athletes such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, who endorsed their designs.
They also partnered with musical artists like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. These partnerships helped build the brand’s visibility and popularity and ultimately contributed to the growth of the company.
The adoption of e-commerce during the dot-com boom of the late 90s was another strategic move by Skechers. The company established an online presence as early as 1998, making it easy for customers to place orders online.
They capitalized on the opportunity to provide in-depth information about their products and kept their customers informed about their new releases through email newsletters. The company’s early adoption of e-commerce played in their favor, as they’ve been able to keep up with the ever-changing digital landscape.
In the late 90s, there was increased demand for fashionable footwear, and Skechers capitalized on the opportunity by introducing their Skechers Sport line in 1998. This line was focused on providing comfortable and stylish wearables, which have since become a prominent feature of Skechers’ designs. The Skechers sport line is still going strong today, often referred to as the spirit animal of the brand.
Innovation, strategic partnerships, and an aptitude for online retail efforts played a significant part in Skechers’ rise to the top during the 90s and early 2000s. The company’s success can be attributed to its willingness to adapt to current trends and breakthroughs, and innovation. It is no coincidence that Skechers has managed to remain relevant in the ever-evolving fashion industry.
Today, Skechers is a well-known, beloved brand worldwide, a testament to the foresight and work ethic of its founders and their team. Standing the test of time has proved invaluable for the brand, and we can expect to see more of Skechers in the future.
Diverse Product Lines (2010-Present) Technological Innovations
Over the years, Skechers has introduced several technological innovations to their footwear. One of the most significant technological advancements is the use of memory foam in their shoes.
This technology allows the shoes to mold itself according to the shape of the feet and provide maximum comfort. The memory foam also helps in reducing stress and impact on the feet while walking or running, making it an ideal choice for athletes.
Skechers also introduced the SkechersGO line, a collection of shoes equipped with the revolutionary Goga Mat technology. This technology delivers high rebound cushioning, providing the ultimate comfort and support making it a favorite of health enthusiasts and fitness buffs. The SkechersGO line also features the 5GEN technology, making it lightweight yet sturdy.
Apart from technological innovations, Skechers has diversified its product line to cater to the needs of every individual. In 2010, Skechers launched a range of lifestyle shoes with a focus on fashion. The Skechers Memory Foam line offered comfort and style, making it a hit among fashion-conscious individuals.
In 2016, Skechers introduced the Burst collection that featured a range of running shoes with the Air-Cooled Memory Foam technology. This technology is designed to keep the feet cool and dry making it an ideal choice for marathon runners. The Burst collection was a huge success, and it became a sought-after choice for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
Skechers has also catered to the needs of people who require specialized footwear with their Shape-ups line. The Shape-ups range has been designed to provide maximum comfort and support for people with plantar fasciitis or other foot conditions. The Shape-ups range also helps in toning muscles while walking, making it popular among people who want to stay fit and healthy.
From Lifestyle to Performance (2006-2015)
In 2006, Skechers launched its first ever performance shoe line, Skechers Performance, featuring footwear specifically designed for running, walking, and training. To kick things off, Skechers signed world-renowned marathon runner Meb Keflezighi – who would eventually win the Boston Marathon in 2014 wearing Skechers – as the face of their new performance line. By doing so, Skechers was able to penetrate the running community, showing that a relatively new entrant to the athletic footwear industry was there to make an impact.
Over the years, Skechers has continually upped its game in the performance footwear market, developing new technologies and materials to improve performance, comfort, and durability. One such technology developed by Skechers is the GOrun, which is a midsole cushioning system designed to provide a responsive, lightweight and comfortable run. Skechers also developed the Resalyte Cushioning technology, which is an injection molded midsole that provides cushioning and support.
Skechers Performance launched its first signature footwear line in 2014 with pro golfer Matt Kuchar. The Skechers Go Golf line features a range of golf shoes for all levels of golfers, including professionals and amateurs, designed to provide comfort and performance on the course.
In the same year, Skechers signed pro football quarterback Joe Montana as an ambassador for the brand, further cementing their foray into the sports industry.
One of Skechers’ most successful performance lines is the Skechers GoRun series, which has been worn by professional athletes such as Keflezighi, Kara Goucher, and Meaghan Wilson-Anastasiadis.
The GoRun line is designed to be lightweight and responsive, using various technologies such as GOga Mat insoles, GOknit uppers, and M-Strike to enhance performance.
In 2015, Skechers Performance signed an exclusive partnership with the Los Angeles Marathon as the official footwear and apparel sponsor of the race. Skechers launched a special edition of the GoRun shoe, which featured the LA Marathon logos and colors, and received positive feedback from the participants.
This partnership helped elevate Skechers even further in the running community, showing that they were capable of producing high-quality footwear for one of the biggest marathons in the world.
Skechers’ Iconic Product Lines
Skechers is a well-known footwear brand across the globe, known for its stylish and comfortable shoes. It has become a household name and is known for its versatility and design in every product line that they offer.
Skechers’ iconic product lines have garnered loyal customers, and the brand’s popularity has gone beyond its function and comfortability. There are several remarkable product lines that Skechers offers; let’s take a closer look at some of them.
Skechers Memory Foam: One of the most iconic product lines of Skechers is its Memory Foam shoes. These shoes have a comfy cushioned insole that conforms to your feet’ shape, providing unparalleled comfort. The Memory Foam product line has several options for all sorts of occasions, including athletic, casual, and boots. It is one of the most comfortable shoes that the brand offers, making it a must-try for anyone who prioritizes comfort.
Skechers D’Lites: This product line is another iconic brand that Skechers has been known for since its inception. It features athletically designed shoes with chunky soles that provide excellent shock absorption. The sneakers’ design and colors have gone through several updates, making it a trendy and fashionable choice for a variety of occasions.
Skechers Burst: The Skechers Burst product line is designed for people who are always on-the-go. The brand claims that the shoes are light on your feet while providing excellent support. This product line offers several styles that cater to both casual and athletic needs. Additionally, these shoes come in bright and bold colors, making them stand out in a crowd.
Skechers GOrun: Skechers GOrun is a product line that is specifically designed for runners. The shoes come with innovative performance features that help runners have a comfortable and efficient running experience. The product line includes a variety of running shoes designed to cater to runners with different needs, including road running, trail running, and walking.
Skechers YOU: The Skechers YOU product line is for people who love to embrace an active lifestyle. The brand claims that these shoes’ design caters to the wearers’ individuality by being both comfortable and stylish shoes. It is designed as a lifestyle product line and offers choices that cater to both casual and athletic needs.
Sustainability Initiatives Iconic Campaigns and Collaborations
Skechers has been working towards sustainability since 2008 when they started their formal environmental sustainability program.
The company’s major focus on sustainability consists of different areas like reduction of waste, sustainable product development, and promoting the concept of eco-friendly work environment and practices. They have achieved numerous milestones in their sustainability initiatives in the past, and continue to progress with new innovations and technologies.
Skechers’ iconic campaigns are always inspiring and aim to raise awareness about the impact of our choices on the environment. One of their most famous campaigns was the GOrun for a cause initiative. Under this campaign, Skechers aimed to promote fitness, sustainability, and social causes by donating a portion of proceeds from Skechers Bobs eco-friendly footwear line to charities. This campaign was a grand success and gained a lot of popularity due to its strong message and appeal.
Skechers has collaborated with many organizations, including the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the American Cancer Society.
The collaboration with the WCS aimed to create a sustainable footprint in the manufacturing process and contribute to forest conservation. Skechers’ collaboration with the American Cancer Society aimed to support research and raise awareness towards cancer.
In recent years, Skechers has made significant efforts to develop sustainable products. They introduced a new line of footwear, “Sustainable at Skechers,” made with environmentally friendly materials.
This product line features natural and recycled materials like plant-based foam insoles, recycled rubber outsoles, and upper materials made of recycled plastic bottles, to name a few. This initiative marked a significant milestone in Skechers’ journey towards a greener future and showed that sustainability can also be fashionable.
Skechers has also pledged to reduce its carbon footprint by shifting to renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. They have deployed solar panel systems in many stores, which have resulted in significant energy savings and efficiency gains.
Skechers has also been recognized for green practices, such as reducing water consumption and implementing environmentally friendly packaging designs.
Skechers’ sustainability initiatives, iconic campaigns, and collaborations represent a real commitment to make the world a greener place. They have implemented various practices and innovative technologies to drive sustainability and reduce their environmental footprint.
Skechers’ sustainable product line, renewable energy sources, and eco-friendly work environment practices strive to create value and contribute positively to society. As consumers, we can actively participate in supporting companies that prioritize sustainability, and Skechers is one example of a company that cares about its impact on the environment.
Global Expansion Challenges and Controversies
Let’s begin with Skechers’ controversy over labor practices. In 2017, three former Skechers employees in Indonesia filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging that they were subjected to inhumane labor conditions while working in a Skechers shoe factory.
Among the accusations were claims of forced overtime, harassment, and inadequate wages. Skechers immediately launched an investigation and cut ties with the factory in question. Although this was a significant blow to Skechers’ reputation, the company took swift action to rectify the situation and implemented measures to ensure that its factories adhered to ethical labor practices.
Another obstacle that Skechers has faced in its global expansion is trademark infringement lawsuits. With designs that frequently include bright colors and bold patterns, Skechers has been accused of copying the styles of other brands.
In 2020, Nike filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Skechers in which they claimed that Skechers’ “Skech-Air” line copied Nike’s “Air Max” technology. While Skechers denied these claims, the lawsuit is still pending. This legal battle highlights the importance of protecting intellectual property rights in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.
Aside from legal issues, another hurdle Skechers has encountered in its global expansion is cultural differences. As Skechers expands into new territories, it must navigate the nuances of different cultures.
For example, in Muslim-majority countries, Skechers must be mindful of its designs, as certain symbols and images may be deemed offensive. They must also be cautious of marketing campaigns that may be insensitive or inappropriate in different cultural contexts. By hiring diverse teams and conducting thorough research, Skechers has been able to overcome these challenges and carve out a successful global presence.
Despite the many challenges Skechers has faced in its global expansion, there have also been notable triumphs. One such success story is Skechers’ rapid expansion in China. Skechers entered the Chinese market in 2009 with just five stores.
Today, they have over 4,000 stores throughout China, making it their second-largest market after the United States. Skechers’ success in China can be attributed to their understanding of the local market and ability to develop products that cater to Chinese consumers.
The Future of Skechers
One of the biggest trends in the overall footwear industry is the push towards sustainability. As customers grow increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of their shopping habits, Skechers is striving to meet these demands by focusing on environmentally-friendly initiatives.
For example, Skechers is partnering with a number of suppliers and third-party organizations to ensure that their products are sourced and produced using sustainable materials. This includes recycled polyester made from plastic bottles and ethically-sourced leather. Additionally, the company’s manufacturing processes are being optimized to reduce waste, pollution, and energy consumption.
Another area where Skechers is thriving is in the increasingly important world of athletic footwear. As consumers embrace an active lifestyle, more and more people are looking for shoes that can keep up with their workouts.
Skechers is at the forefront of this trend, with its high-performance sneakers that feature advanced cushioning technologies, superior traction, and lightweight designs. In fact, the brand is now competing head-to-head with other top athletic shoe brands like Nike and Adidas, and is positioning itself for continued growth in this segment of the market.
Of course, successful marketing is essential to any company’s continued growth, and this is another area where Skechers is excelling. The brand has a strong social media presence, engaging customers with visually striking campaigns such as their “Walk the Walk” campaign that encourages customers to upload pictures of themselves wearing Skechers products.
Skechers is also making a big push into influencer marketing, partnering with key social media influencers, to reach new markets and tap into new demographics. These marketing strategies are helping to drive sales for the brand, and are positioning Skechers for continued success in the years ahead.
In addition to their sustainability efforts, athletic footwear, and marketing strategies, Skechers is also setting itself apart from the competition with their trendy and unique designs. The brand is known for their colorful sneakers with trendy patterns and prints, and has even launched collaborations with popular brands and celebrities such as Demi Lovato and Howie Mandel. Skechers has an eye for what’s trending in the fashion world and manages to stay ahead of its competitors by offering stylish and innovative designs.
The story of Skechers is one of hard work, dedication, and innovation. Over the years, the company has transformed from a small-scale skate shoe company to a global fashion brand.
Through its groundbreaking designs, commitment to comfort, and innovative technologies, Skechers has cemented its place in the footwear industry. As the company continues to evolve, we can only imagine what exciting products it will bring to the market in the future. Nevertheless, one thing is for sure – Skechers is here to stay!