The Skechers Friendship Walk 2019 concluded successfully at IOI City Mall, Putrajaya on the 7th of April. It was conceptualized to celebrate friendship amongst family, friends, and colleagues of all ages and races, from all walks of life.
The Skechers Friendship Walk also encourages all Malaysians to take a little time to show their appreciation for existing friendships and forge new ones. The overwhelming turnout at the event showed the passion and dedication to sports, lifestyle, and performance from Mr. Vincent Leung, the President of Skechers Hong Kong and South East Asia.
We asked Mr. Vincent how he is driven by his enthusiasm and commitment to keep thriving on the brand.
Please tell us more about the Skechers Friendship Walk, from its origin to now multiple editions in various Asian countries.
Beyond being a family bonding experience, the Friendship Walk holds a deeper purpose as it aims to improve the lives of underprivileged groups. Started in the USA in 2009, the Friendship Walk finally made its way to China, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.
Skechers Friendship Walk first started in Manhattan Beach, California, which is also where Skechers was founded. It is all about celebrating friendship and family bonding through walking and for a good cause.
It is also the spirit of Skechers Friendship Walk to have a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) element where we give back to society. The USA edition has been supporting children with special needs and education for 10 years.
Why did you decide to hold the Skechers Friendship Walk in South East Asia, especially Malaysia?
It’s always beautiful to bring family and friends together. You know, Skechers has always been a family brand. We have shoes for men, women, and children. Skechers shoes are fit for people from 3 to 80 years old. It is also good to do it for a good cause. In the USA, it has always been supporting children with special needs and education.
I am very happy for the team that we have been giving out shoes to the local NGOs for underprivileged children and elderly. Apart from bringing people together, it is also raising awareness to help those people around us. It is not the same as other companies organizing their business. Walking is always part of our business. We are one of the biggest walking brands in the USA. We want to make it one too in Asia.
We have done Skechers Friendship Walk in different cities in Asia, including China and Singapore. Moving on, the next one will be the first edition in Thailand which will be held in May. As we grow the brand here in South East Asia, especially Malaysia, then this can be a successful model that we can bring to other countries.
Skechers Friendship Walk is about walking for a good cause, and Skechers Shoes are known for comfortability. What are the latest products made to enhance the walking experience?
The latest product is the Skechers GOwalk Evolution Ultra. Skechers has used the lightest material for the outsole, at the same time, keeping the comfort and cushioning. The latest GOwalk is 20% lighter than the previous model. The shape of the GOwalk is actually built around to make it more comfortable. GOwalk lets you enjoy walking every day. On top of that, the GOwalk is a very good travel shoe or everyday shoe. It is a shoe that you can wear to the gym.
What will be the upcoming plans for the near future? Will there be any new product development?
Starting this year, we will be having more collections. Even though we are now going into bigger and better locations, there are a lot more we still haven’t tapped. With bigger locations, we can have more apparels and accessories. We need bigger locations to enhance the shopping experience. We want to have that space for people to walk around.
There are mainly casual and lifestyle products in Skechers stores. For the near future, we will have a new look which is completely different from what you see from the usual stores. In China, we are also developing into different concepts. In the past, we have done concept stores and outlet stores with more discounted products. Of course, we also have city outlets, which carry a mixture of new products with slightly low premium products.
We will also be releasing the performance collection. Walking is the strongest in our performance collection. Now, we are coming up with the GOwalk Evolution, which is one of the lightest products. It will always be good for traveling. It’s light and flexible. The highlight for the next coming up is definitely the GOwalk 5.
One more feature of the GOwalk 5 is the washability. You can just chuck into the washing machine anytime, especially the washability is good in South East Asia because the weather is always tropical. Washability helps to keep the shoes fresh and clean all the time.
Apart from walking, what is the running scene in the Skechers community?
As we observe the running community, we see that there are more and more people that like the cushion and lightweight of Skechers shoes. We are also moving towards the trail, so we have a mixture of Ultra GO cushioning, very light EVA foam upper and slip-resistant rubber outsole.
Nowadays, there are more people who enjoy hiking and trail running. There are more trail races in Malaysia where the shoes will come into play. We have seen more interest in that. We sometimes call ourselves the new guy in the running market. There are a lot more for us to learn. Skechers is not the long-standing traditional running brand.
However, for the most entry-level running shoes in Skechers, we have launched the GOrun Ride 7. In this September, you will be seeing the launch of Skechers GOtrail Ultra 3 too.