words // Nick DePaula:
While some so-called industry experts might trollfully call Skechers “the hottest sneaker brand,” volume sales be damned, they’re consistently missing the bigger picture of what’s taking place here.
This is a brand that for years has literally been stealing designs and technology from the industry’s actual leading innovators, and then re-packages them in a dumbed-down and most importantly, cheaper silhouette for a mass consumer that knows nothing about sneakers.
There’s no other way to put it.
“We’re firing on all cylinders with product initiatives and fresh innovative footwear styles that are clearly resonating with consumers,” Skechers President Michael Greenberg said last year after yet another growth quarter.
As we get into the close of 2015, once again, Skechers’ recent “fresh innovative footwear styles” draw on pretty direct inspiration, to put it lightly.
Like the Skechers Energy Burst, seen above in all its unoriginal and shameless glory. Yes, that’s the actual model name.
If the shoe and name both look and sound familiar, that’d be because it’s a direct ripoff of the adidas Energy Boost line. It’s a cushioning franchise that has single-handedly helped to reshape consumer confidence in the adidas brand’s ability to innovate.
Since Skechers is a corporation into equal opportunity theft, the Energy Burst’s upper is actually directly ripped off from Nike’s Flyknit Air Max, even down to the uniquely hued and nuanced knit pattern. “Designers” at the company’s Manhattan Beach, California headquarters must be proud.
Not only does the styrofoamesque midsole bear a striking resemblance to adidas’ Boost midsoles, but it also comes literally a full product cycle after adidas launched the the Pure Boost for the Spring 2014 season.
The timeline isn’t remotely a coincidence. Instead, it’s simply a ridiculous theft of the adidas Boost platform — as the lazy Skechers Burst name actually directly implies.
What’s even worse, unlike adidas Boost, which was created after years of engineering refinement and is made up of around 2,000 TPU-based capsules that offer unparalleled comfort, energy return and rebound, the Skechers midsole simply features a similar surface texture.
The real damage here is that an unknowing consumer might try out a pair of the Energy Burst, and not find much innovation in the platform — because Skechers has no innovation. That experience might then cloud and harm a consumer’s view of the similar looking adidas Boost platform, and cost adidas a chance at further sales.
As you’d expect, the adidas Pure Boost series retails for $120, and the Skechers Burst series is priced at $75 per pair.
This is far from the first time this has happened — it’s actual routine practice for Skechers — and it’s a damn shame. The fact that analysts actually congratulate the brand, in spite of its constant hijacking, is even worse.
More recently, Skechers has been sued for ripping off Chuck Taylors. They’ve also been sued for copying the iconic adidas Stan Smith, even down to the Skechers.com search term “Stan Smith” leading you to their ripoff model’s product page, which is 100% amazing.
Back in 2012, the brand was forced to pay a $40 Million settlement after a series of fraudulent claims regarding their toning series of “Shape-Up” shoes, which included unprovable claims about weight loss and cardiovascular health.
At the time, the FTC said that Skechers manipulated study results, and even touted the endorsement of a chiropractor without disclosing that he was married to a Skechers marketing executive and that Skechers paid him to conduct the study. They, of course, denied any wrongdoing, just as Toning footwear had become a billion dollar business. No shame, as usual.
The Skechers Energy Burst, ladies and gentlemen, full of that ever-present Skechers “fresh innovative” look that is often “resonating with consumers.”
Or, just another ripoff model from a brand with no shame.
above: Skechers’ noteworthy and innovative Energy Burst
above: Nike’s Flyknit Air Max
above: The adidas Pure Boost