Skechers was founded in 1992 by Robert Greenberg, a retail industry veteran who created the women's athletic brand L.A. Gear in 1983. His career involved selling wigs to beauty vendors, importing designer jeans for retail markets and also owning his own roller skates stores.
Greenberg initially intended to use the Skechers brand to distribute the British made Dr. Martens shoes but after a dispute between them in 1993, Skechers went on its own and relied on its own designs for success. By 1997, they began selling their shoes overseas to southeast Asia and eastern Europe and by 1998, 15% of their profits came from the overseas market.
The original goal of Skechers was to provide men with casual nonathletic shoes. Nike was during that time the dominant maker of men's shoes but it didn't offer very much street shoes. The first successful design by Skechers was called the 'Chrome Dome' and debuted in 1993 which appealed to both men and women. The shoe, inspired by the grunge fashion trend back in the 1990's was made to look worn and scuffed somewhat like the pre-ripped and stone-washed jeans of the time.
My involvement with the Skechers brand of shoes, more significantly the running series of the shoe started close to a year ago. Back then, I would make a wide berth around the Skechers outlets and if you mentioned Skechers to me as a running shoe, I would sneer at you, which is exactly what I did when the wife decided to one day walk into a Skechers outlet and buy herself a pair of Skechers Shape Ups.
I honestly tried to discourage her from buying the shoe. Even though the newer release was so much less bulkier than the original one that Kim Kardashian used to endorse, it still looked like a brick to me. But she persisted and surprisingly enough for her, she loved the shoe. Okay, whatever, I said. If you're happy I'm happy but you wouldn't catch me dead in a Skechers.
Little did I know how those words would come back to haunt me. The wife was still doing research on the Skechers brand and told me about a new 'real' running shoe they were launching called the GOrun. After seeing the Shape Ups, I wasn't holding my breath too much. The day the shoe was launched in the stores here, I happened to pass by the KLCC outlet and saw it on display.
|Our first Skechers ...|
I called the wife and told her I was coming to pick her up and we were DEFINITELY going to purchase the shoe right away. To cut a long story short, I ate my own words about the brand and have since then come to love the Skechers brand, albeit the running side of it and have never looked back.
The Skechers brand has come a long way worldwide and especially in this country. From a time where the general perception of the brand was, 'Skechers? Running? Seriously?' to the numerous pairs of running shoes I've seen on people's feet during races speaks volumes how successful the brand is becoming. It's heartwarming when someone comes up to you during a race or even in the parks during training and asks if it's a Skechers I have on and how it performs.
The success of the brand is all due to the excellent marketing and PR that's being done. I thought they made a great move in signing up Meb Keflezighi after he was dropped by Nike to endorse the brand. His success in the US Olympic trials and his excellent performance in the recent Olympics, even though coming in fourth gave the Skechers brand a significant boost in the running shoe industry.
|Meb Keflezighi (Image courtesy of skechersblog.files.wordpress.com)|
The marketing team at Skechers Malaysia has also done a tremendous job in seeing the brand get a bigger share of the running industry. The steps and strategies they've taken to create awareness for the shoe such as being a sponsor for the Shape Men's Health run event, the weekend Running Workshop at the Lake Gardens and the Indoor Training Workshops has been bearing fruit.
|Photos from the respective owners (Jamie, Yvonne & Tristupe)|
Right from their very first pair, the Skechers GOrun right up to their latest (the latest that I have anyway), The GOrun 2, it's all been a very positive experience for me. Judging by the feedback and responses I've got from numerous others who have been running with the shoe, it's also been more positives than negatives. Like I mentioned earlier, I'm seeing a lot more Skechers running shoes on the feet of runners than I did almost a year ago which is good for the brand.
After a quick check with Adeline of Skechers Malaysia, I found out that the original GOrun is still the top selling shoe in Malaysia. A little surprising though cos I thought the GOrun Ride would have topped it. But it's good to note that more and more people are actually taking to the brand.
I've loved every single iteration of the GOseries that I've tested and used. Both the wife and me have tried and tested every model under the running range from the Skechers GOrun, GOrun Ride, GOrun Ride Ultra (basically the same shoe as the GOrun Ride), GObionic, GOtrail, GOrun 2 though she's also tested out the GOtrain, an all weather GOrun and urmmm, the Shape Ups. We even have the GOwalk. She likes the brand so much that she even went out and bought a casual Skechers sandals for herself.
|The wife's Skechers Tone Up Sandals ...|
As a brand, Skechers have seriously come a very long way and moved on from strength to strength since the launch of their very first GOrun running shoe way back in March last year. With a slew of new models slated for release in the coming months, I can only foresee that the brand will (if not already) be giving the more established brands out there a run for their money.
Right now though, I'm waiting with bated breath for the GOrun Speed, GObionic Ride and GObionic Trail to hit our shores. For more information on Skechers Malaysia and its products, do visit their website, Skechers Malaysia Facebook or the Skechers Performance Malaysia Facebook page.