How Skechers Has Secretly Become Nike’s Biggest Rival

Photo: Courtesy of Skechers.
Thanks to an oft-quoted callout in the teen comedy 10 Things I Hate About You and campaigns starring pop queens like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, Skechers has cemented its place in '90s pop culture. But, believe it or not, the sneaker brand is still going strong in 2015 — in fact, the company is so profitable, it's swiftly becoming Nike's biggest (and unlikeliest) rival. According to Business Insider, Skechers is one of the most underrated brands on the market today. A recent report by the investment firm Morgan Stanley states that "Skechers is a much better company than the Street appreciates." Case in point: Not only was Skechers named Company of the Year by Footwear News in 2014, it pulled in a whopping $2.4 billion last year alone.  This massive success marks a major change from the company's early '80s beginnings, when it was best known for churning out affordable knockoffs of popular styles like Dr. Martens (eventually leading to a lawsuit between the two in 1999). Since then, Skechers has expanded its offerings from bulky skate shoes into boots, sandals, and even sleek-looking sneakers that resemble a rainbow-hued Nike Flyknit. With a largely neon color palette, they're about as opposed to the minimalist athleisure sneaker trend as you can get.  But, as Business Insider notes, much of Skechers' rise has to do with its celebrity endorsements. Over the years, the company has shelled out for some major players: Along with Spears and Aguilera, it's recruited Ashlee Simpson, The Voice winner Danielle Bradbery, and most recently, Demi Lovato (who collaborated on a collection of sneakers, as well). Plus, long before her Vogue  cover and fashion-industry domination, Kim Kardashian modeled for Skechers Shape Up shoes alongside mother Kris Jenner. Although it's hard to believe that all of these stars actually wear  Skechers on a regular basis, that's not stopping everyone from scooping them up. Nike might be the number one sneaker company right now, but analysts predict that Skechers could become America's second most popular sneaker brand before long. Whether this means athleisure is on its way out, or that celebrities are the best salespeople is up for debate. Just don't be surprised if an influx of loud, neon kicks start invading a shoe store near you. (Business Insider)