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Skechers Lobbied to Drop Shape Ups for Girls

Posted by Shirley Brady on May 11, 2011 03:00 PM

Abercrombie and Fitch got into hot water with its push-up bikini top aimed at girls. Walmart's tween makeup line raised a few parental eyebrows. Now it's Skechers turn in the hot seat.

The brand's Shape Ups for Girls commercial (above) has been out since September, but it's still raising hackles among parents and others who don't feel "slimming" shoes should be targeted at girls.

The UK's Daily Mail, catching up with an outraged blog post by Tammy Jones (aka Mom Entrepreneur) from last month, notes that it's "sandwiched between children's shows" on Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon in the US.

Although the shoes aren't (currently) available on the brand's website, the Huffington Post is piling on, and there's a petition at Change.org (with 645 signatures so far) calling for Skechers to discontinue the kids' version of the "body sculpting" shoes.

Also, as Jezebel points out, the American Council on Exercise found last year that Skechers' slimming claims for Shape Ups (along with those of Reebok's EasyTones) don't hold up.

Skechers has yet to address the flap on its blog, Facebook page or Twitter account, although its did recently ask its adult blog readers how Shape Ups work for celebrity endorser "Kim Kardashian and you."

However, a brand executive told New York's Daily News in a statement that the brand will clear up any confusion that it's targeting preschoolers with Shape Ups (the girls' version of the shoes start at US size 2, which would fit an average 7-year-old girl) and defended the slimming claims as being in keeping with First Lady Michelle Obama's anti-obesity drive.

Leonard Armato, president of the Skechers fitness group, told the News, ""The whole message behind Shape-ups is to get moving, get exercise, and get fit. This is the same messaging being used by the First Lady's Let's Move initiative, which is aimed specifically at children."


Debbie-Ann Estwick says:

There's a big difference between First Lady Michelle Obama's anti-obesity drive and the Skechers Shape-ups commercial. Obama's brand is clearly, genuinely about health and living a good, happy life, not about getting skinny to feel beautiful and fit in. Sketchers Shape Ups for girls, on the other other hand, comes across as a vain 'be skinny, be beautiful' pitch that has nothing to do with actual health. Perhaps it wouldn't have come across that way if the brand were more actively involved in caring about the health of young girls.
Really, the entire Shape Ups line just comes across to me as nothing but a shoe that they needed to sell so they put a bit of a heel on a sneaker and advertised it as a brilliant 'get skinny' shoe.

May 12, 2011 09:39 AM #

S. Brady (brandchannel) United States says:

Appreciate your comment, Debbie Ann. You might be interested in GutCheck's mini-focus group results (divided), too:


May 12, 2011 11:46 AM #

sarainitaly Italy says:

Face it, 15% of kids in the US are obese. Michelle Obama is promoting a campaign to get fit, get moving because kids ARE obese. Skechers Shape Ups are a tool used to *get moving*.

They are not like the *push up bra* bathing suits - they are no different than a bike, or gym class. Obese children/severely overweight kids aren't out running around and playing. They need to get out and walk. Obviously if your child is slim and plays outside every day, these are not meant for your kid. But there are a lot of kids, just like adults, that sit on the computer all day, and need to just get out and walk. They would be smart to market these to mother/daughters that need to get out, and get moving.

It's mind boggling that people want to limit the amount of salt restaurants can serve, forbid kids from bringing home made lunches to schools, and support a govt. funded program to control kids' diets, but are against a shoe that is used for walking.

May 15, 2011 08:33 AM #

Cheerfulchaos United States says:

As a Physical Therapy student specializing in pediatrics, I can tell you
that these shoes are a colossally bad idea! They are likely to be damaging
to growing joint, tendons, ligaments and muscles because they force
you to walk in an unnatural gait.  Children know how to walk and run
just fine. These shoes were originally promoted to shape up and tone the
butt and thighs. Do we really want our 8 year old girls to have a sexy ass?
The stress these stupid worthless shoes put on the joints (especially the
Knees and hips) is utterly ridiculous. And to the commenter above: I have
an eight year old girl who is "overweight." And guess what? She is active
in soccer, dance, and girl scouts. She eats a very balanced diet and loves
her fruits and veggies. She is twice as active as her beanpole skinny
brother, who eats nothing but junk. She is healthy and happy and I resent
ignorant bigoted people like you assuming that she is "overweight" because
she is lazy and eats junk. YOU are part of the problem, lady.

May 16, 2011 11:15 PM #

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