Skechers thinks there’s a lot riding on people’s sneakers. The footwear company is teaming up with Goodyear Rubber & Tire to use the latter’s rubber technology, starting with three running shoes from the Skechers GOrun collection.
The company also plans to expand the use of the Goodyear Performance Outsoles to a wider assortment of running and walking sneakers, athletic lifestyle, trail and work footwear in the year ahead.
The Manhattan Beach, California-based sneaker company says the high-tech collaboration results in enhanced stability, excellent grip on slippery surfaces and durability. It uses a polymer that includes sustainable soybean oil, a renewable, bio-based material also used in some Goodyear’s tires.
The move comes at an interesting time in the sneaker biz, as key players struggle to keep their footing. Overall, the NPD Group reports that the category managed a small gain in U.S. sales in 2019, rising in the low single-digits. And the persistent trend of fashion-y, athleisure shoes triumphing over performance shoes continued.
So sales at Skechers, a pioneer in the athleisure look, are booming. Earlier this month, it reported a 23% jump in revenues to a record $1.33 billion, including a 13% increase in sales in the U.S. And comparable-store sales in its American stores rose 10%. Ad campaigns starring football stars Tony Romo and Howie Long drove increased sales among men.
But it’s also trying to step more aggressively into the performance arena as well. Recently, Runner’s World named Skechers’ GOrun Razor 3 Hyper performance training shoe as the “Editors’ Choice.”
The company has also been intent on expanding international appeal, with that market accounting for almost 60% of sales. It’s especially strong in China, and fears about the coronavirus are tempering its forecasts.
“We are deeply concerned by the health crisis in China,” says Robert Greenberg, CEO of Skechers, in its earnings announcement. “We continue to monitor this situation and its potential disruption to our global business. The Skechers brand is strong in China, and we remain confident in our long-term prospects in the country.”