Skechers Out With New Product, Advertising. Will History Repeat Itself?

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Washington, DCSince the announcement of the Skechers Shape-Up lawsuit settlement, in which a proposed $40 million settlement offer to consumers who either sustained Skechers injuries or were simply disgruntled at the allegedly false claims made by the company pertaining to their products, things have been somewhat quiet on the Skechers front.

But will that change with the roll out of new product, and marketing campaigns? And will there be new allegations of Skechers false advertising?

Industry pundits note that an industry as competitive as footwear can take its toll on companies that guess wrong at emerging trends and stockpile inventory for which there is little demand. In Skecher's case, the debacle over Skechers toning shoes and allegations of false and misleading advertising by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) resulted in a drop in value of company stock and the dumping of unsold Skechers inventory.

Now, it has been reported, Skecher's stock price is rebounding and the company is eyeing two emerging markets: the minimalist runner, and men's relaxed fit.

With the former, there is a growing trend towards minimalist running. While those who run barefoot are still in the minority, a growing number of runners are nonetheless embracing the idea and seeking a less-rigid shoe that more closely replicates barefoot running, but helps protect the feet from burs in pavement or sharp objects.

Skechers, until now known primarily for their Skechers toning shoes, is trying to gain some profile in the running community with new product.

As for relaxed fit shoes, Skechers has recently released a line of relaxed-fit shoes geared for men and inspired by the concept of relaxed-fit jeans. According to Progressive Media (9/4/12), the shoes are said to afford a roomier construction and enhanced cushioning, yet make men's feet appear slimmer.

The focus will be on the advertising. It has been reported that Skechers has re-teamed with football superstar Joe Montana and Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks—two individuals who have appeared previously in television campaigns for the company. Tommy Lasorda has also reportedly signed on to endorse Skecher's Relaxed Fit men's footwear collection.

It remains to be seen if there will be forthcoming accusations of false claims, or—in the case of the Skechers minimalist running shoe—injuries reminiscent of Skechers injuries related to the aforementioned Shape-Up toning shoe.

Many a Skechers Shape-Up lawsuit has claimed the particular design and construction of the Skechers shoe negatively impacted a walker's gait. Rather than toning muscles, claims that the FTC said could not be substantiated, the shoes in some cases fostered injuries amongst consumers. Others were simply miffed over the allegedly false advertising.

Time will tell if Skechers toning shoes history repeats itself.

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