I visited a Skechers store to investigate how it became one of America’s most popular shoe brands

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Skechers Facebook

Skechers has had a roller coaster year.

The brand’s sales have been soaring, and it recently surpassed Adidas to become the second-largest footwear company behind Nike.

But investors are concerned whether the growth is sustainable. Shares crashed as much as 30% this week after the company reported disappointing earnings.

We visited a Skechers store in Manhattan to see the company’s strategy in person.


When I entered the store, I had to double take to see if I was in the right place. For a moment, I thought I was in a DSW. The signature bulky Skechers sneakers were pushed to the back of the store, while the front was dedicated to boots and shoes that resembled Toms, Sperrys, Timberlands, and Uggs.

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Marina Nazario/ Business Insider

When I looked more closely, I could see the Skechers logo discretely embroidered on the back of the lookalikes, along with a tag advertising its acclaimed memory foam.

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Marina Nazario/ Business Insider

So I get what Skechers is doing now — offering knock-offs of other brands for cheaper prices.

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Marina Nazario/ Business Insider

At Skechers, you’re paying $65-$75 for a knockoff version of Timberlands or Uggs — usually less than half the price of the real thing.

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Marina Nazario/ Business Insider

The reason for Skechers’ quick growth rate was starting to click. Looks a bit like Birkenstock, right? By emulating the trends of other retailers, Skechers never risks going out of style.

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Skechers Facebook

Bobs by Skechers resembles Crocs…

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Skechers Facebook

While Bobs also look like Toms…

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Marina Nazario/ Business Insider

These shoes resemble Sperrys but retail for less.

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Marina Nazario/ Business Insider

Vans or Skechers?

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Skechers Facebook

Mark Nason by Skechers make work-appropriate shoes for $110. That’s cheaper than the $500 Ferragamo shoes they resemble.

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Marina Nazario/ Business Insider

I tried a pair on to see what I thought. The boots were actually quite comfortable and you would never know that they are Skechers! But if someone asked me where I purchased them, I wouldn’t want to admit where I bought them. For me, Skechers is the kind of brand that you don’t want to admit to wearing as an adult, but it’s cheap, and styles like these are acceptable.

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Marina Nazario/ Business Insider

Skechers may not be completely original in its styles, but it’s easy to see why the brand is the second-largest athletic footwear company in America. It capitalizes on selling cheap footwear that looks similar to designer styles. While I don’t like the idea of wearing Skechers, I wouldn’t mind purchasing a pair of its $70 boots that look similar to Steve Madden’s $130 boots. But for Skechers to have long-term legacy, it might need to adopt more original styles. Copying can only get you so far.

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Marina Nazario/ Business Insider