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A Brief History of Skechers Shoes

Posted on August 01 2016

Robert Greenberg founded Skechers in 1992. At the time, L.A. Gear had a lock on the women’s athletic market and Nike dominated the market for men’s athletic wear. But there were no industry giants who controlled men’s and women’s street shoes. This provided Skechers an opportunity to champion a new and expanding niche market in the U.S.A.

Before Greenberg went out on his own to create Skechers, he was one of the founders of L.A. Gear, which within seven years of business was already grossing more than $900 million in sales—the yield of neon tennis shoes that favored female preferences. By 1992, L.A. Gear saw a huge loss in market share and the company forced out Robert and his son Michael.

It wasn’t the first taste of the unpredictable, significant shift in the retail trade for Greenberg. He began his career in the 1960s and worked in various retailing roles: from selling wigs to beauty parlors to importing designer jeans to founding a roller skate store. But his first major break happened after he purchased the license to place the image of the film character E.T. on his shoelaces.

That move netted him $3,000,000 in fewer than eight weeks.

Hello, Hollywood. Hello, influence and recognition.

And it was with that revenue that he decided to found L.A. Gear.

Now, Let’s Head Back to the Future!

Did you know that Skechers was initially supposed to be a distributing outlet for Dr. Martens shoes? It’s true, but within one year, Greenberg focused on designing, developing, and marketing his own unique brand. And he saw the opportunity in casual street shoes, so he aimed for appealing to young and hip consumers.

Skechers also brought other brands into its label, including Cross Colours and Karl Kani. In 1993, it was decided that refining its own label (Skechers shoes) would be more profitable. It was also this year that the Greenberg’s  Skechers introduced the “Chrome Dome.”

The Chrome Dome …

The “Chrome Dome” shoe was manufactured to appear well-worn and scuffed (primarily at the heel). It was the footwear version of stone-washed, pre-torn jeans, which were incredibly popular at the time. Because of this unisex look, the shoe appealed to both sexes and became an urban street boot icon for the “grunge” youth.

Skechers Today …

Skechers is now a global leader in footwear. A two-billion-dollar leader in thousands of stores to be exact. With more than 3,000 styles designed, developed, and marketed for men, women, and children, Skechers focuses on two distinct categories of footwear:

  1. Lifestyle offers Memory Foam: Contours to the singularity of your foot for ultimate comfort.
  2. Performance offers GOrun and GOwalk
    1. GOrun offers innovation in technology that facilitates a midfoot strike coupled with cushioning and impact protection.
    2. GOwalk offers GOga Mat Technology boasting high-rebound cushioning and other materials made specifically for athletic walking.

And you can find Skechers and other great footwear at SRI Shoe Warehouse.

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