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Sketchers: Are They the Yugo of Shoes?

Posted by on Jul 13, 2011 | 19 Comments

Sketchers appears to have single-handedly ruined the “fitness shoe” market by flooding the marketplace with what many consider to be inferior products.  Guess what market they appear to be flirting with now?

That’s right… minimalist shoes.

As both Bill Katovsky of Zero Drop and Pete Larson of Runblogger pointed out, Sketchers’ new ad hints that  their Resistance Runner shoe is designed for a midfoot strike.

Of course, the graphic highlights the area in front of the heel as the “midfoot”, and the dude running in the picture is overstriding horribly and about to land on his heel with a locked knee.

What does this mean?

First, Sketchers must assume the general public is really, really stupid.

Second, I think Sketchers is about to bring the same bang-up quality of the Shape Ups to the minimalist shoe world.  I bet there’s a true minimalist shoe on the horizon.  I predicted it earlier this year with this post:

“At some point, I’m sure Sketchers will jump on the bandwagon, produce a seriously inferior product, get some fading Hollywood starlet or retired sports legend (Joe Montana, you should be ashamed) to peddle the crap, and give the entire movement a bad name.”

Quite frankly, the prospect of a Sketchers minimalist shoe scares the Hell out of me.  If the marketing team at Sketchers is really stupid enough to have designed this ad, the minimalist shoes their design team comes up with could make the Shape Ups look like a masterpiece.


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  1. fredbros
    July 15, 2011

    I had a pair of SRR ProSpeed reviewed on my (sorry in French) website
    The person who tried them had an history of heel striking. Using these ProSpeed made her middle-of-the foot strike provided her speed was not too low. The effect of these shoes is similar to Newton’s but does it more softly.

  2. Diggs
    July 14, 2011

    I see so many people in my shoe department trying on sketchers shape-ups(wish our company didnt carry them), and then putting an orthotic in the shoe. Are you kidding me, are you freakin’ kidding me. Is the general public still this uneducated about footwear. And then when you try to help them or ask why they are doing this they give you comments like “my podiatrist told me to do this-are you a doctor?” or “my friend just learned to run and said this was ok, arent you just a salesperson”. Jason, we still have a long way to go and it doesnt help that companies like sketchers put us 2 steps back every time we take one step forward. Many battles to fight before this war is won. Soldier on!!

  3. Aaron
    July 14, 2011

    Speaking of my mother-in-law (see my previous comment), she actually has a pair of Sketchers Shape Ups (which the Sketchers Resistance Runners are), that my father-in-law bought for her. He thought they would help her tired feet, as she is on them all day working at Wal-Mart (ironic, I know). She usually wears big-soled, heavy, leather foot coffin “sport” shoes for the cushioning, but her feet still hurt at the end of the day. She thought the Shape Ups were weird and asked what I would do. She knows I run barefoot and wear VFFs and Trail Gloves. And, to her credit, she actually listens to my opinions about such matters and doesn’t worry that I’m going to step on a dirty heroin needle. I told her that the Shape Ups are a worthless joke and that she needs to strengthen her feet first. I didn’t dare suggest that she get a pair of VFFs or Merrells and use them for work. That would just invite an injury. I suggested that she start slow and try going barefoot at home and then, once her feet start to strengthen, to look into a good minimilist shoe for work. I like a lot of people have taken the time to do it right and now have no problem going long stretches on my feet without the aid of 2 inches of structured cushioning. Hopefully she will ditch the Sketchers and focus on shaping up her feet first.

    And yes, Sketchers are the Yugo of shoes.

  4. Jonathan
    July 14, 2011

    These don’t look like minimalist shoes to me. They look more like Newton shoes. The idea is for mid-foot strike, as you can see the hacked off or rounded heel. But these sketchers still have a large amount of sole. Which would make it obviously not barefoot.

    Either way all sketchers suck and this is a horrible idea. But I agree mots public is really really stupid.

    • Jonathan
      July 14, 2011

      oh, plus it looks like there is more than a zero drop in the shoe on the poster. looks like even more of a lift than the new balance minimus.

  5. Chris
    July 13, 2011

    Clearly you’re not paying enough attention to the habits or the cerebral capabilities of “the general public”.

    They will eat this up…

  6. Arun
    July 13, 2011

    And I thought I had seen everything after the Fila “Four”Fingers…

  7. corey
    July 13, 2011

    We don’t actually know that the guy will land on his heel, Look at some of the video on Pete Larson’s site to see how deceptive some pre-landing pictures and video can be.

  8. kigogal
    July 13, 2011

    It was just a matter of time. I remember a show a while back when a Slugworth like character (you remember him from Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, yes?) came into our booth and TOLD us that we needed to cover our stuff if we saw them milling around. I don’t see why they don’t just stick with making cheap, painful light up shoes for kids whose parents don’t know any better. Too bad folks like us and Invisible Shoes (hi Steven!) don’t have that kind of budget.

  9. The Maple Grove Barefoot Guy
    July 13, 2011

    I think calling them a Yugo implies that they are Communist. I don’t think Sketchers should be given THAT much credit.

    Maybe the Delorian of shoes? After all, they too produce ridiculous looking spaceships (for feet at least) that don’t work worth crap.

  10. Ash
    July 13, 2011

    I owned a pair of Sketchers once. It was the mid-90’s and I couldn’t afford Dr. Martins. I ended up buying a pair of Dr. Martins later, though.

  11. Viper
    July 13, 2011

    I was just offered a free pair of Skechers SRRs in exchange for a “positive or neutral” review. Had I known they were minimalist shoes, maybe I wouldn’t have refused! Ridiculous.

  12. Aaron
    July 13, 2011

    I simply can’t wait for the call from my mother-in-law to tell me that she saw a “barefoot” shoe on sale at Wal-Mart. I know she will be talking about this abomination from Sketchers.

  13. Wiglaf
    July 13, 2011

    Thanks for the laugh. It’s amazing how many barefoot articles I’ve seen with pictures of someone running barefoot or minimalist shoe and heel striking.

  14. Chadisbarefoot
    July 13, 2011

    Good Gawd Mother Effin…. AAAHHH!!!

    Curse you, Sketchers. Curse you to HELL!

  15. Nora
    July 13, 2011

    Sketchers.. really! You know people will buy them, kind of like those stupid shoes that rocked when people walked.

  16. steven sashen
    July 13, 2011

    Well, it’s certainly no Payless ActiveFlex Performance Runner, that’s for sure.


  17. Andrew Klein
    July 13, 2011

    Holy broken ankes, Batman!

  18. briderdt
    July 13, 2011

    “First, Sketchers must assume the general public is really, really stupid.”

    Problem is, they’re mostly right…