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."