A New Fit In Toning Footwear

in Design

Innovations in the athletic footwear industry seem never ending. Product designs and materials evolve year after year making shoes better for consumers in a number of ways – some last, some don’t. Enter “toning” shoes; will they create a sustainable category or is it just the latest non-exercise, exercise fad?

Ad Age recently published an article on the upside of the business. The product concept is not new, but the marketing strategy is. In the 90’s, Seinfeld produced an episode titled “The Jimmy” about performance enhancing basketball shoes and a wacky character that used them to improve his game.

Reebok and Jimmy

So what’s different? Everything, the target, the motivation and the product. Sketchers is targeting multitasking women who don’t make it to the gym, but want to feel like they are “exercising” while they do everything from commuting to shopping with friends. Sketchers and Reebok have introduced products that are noticeably different up close, but look like everyday casual and athletic shoes from a distance (much different Jimmy’s jump high b-ball trainers above).

Does the concept have merit? In the new economy this category looks attractive. It’s like buying a pair of walking shoes that come with the implied benefits of a gym without the cost or time involved. Win/Win; a marketers dream.

How do you think the ladies version of “The Jimmy” will do in the market place?

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