Kara Goucher Signs With Skechers

Kara Goucher has picked up a slew of new endorsement deals since leaving Nike at the end of last year.

After more than a decade with Nike, Goucher inks a multi-year, shoe-only deal with the California-based company. 

Just as Meb Keflezighi did three years ago, elite-level American marathoner Kara Goucher has signed a running shoe endorsement deal with Skechers Performance Division. But unlike when Meb signed in 2011, no one should be scratching their head in bewilderment this time.

Even before Keflezighi won the Boston Marathon wearing Skechers shoes two weeks ago, the brand had already begun to establish itself in the running category. Having the national phenomenon of Keflezighi’s win certainly created notoriety but adding Goucher, one of the most popular U.S. runners ever, will add considerably to the buzz the brand is experiencing.

“I am excited to be joining the Skechers Performance Division,” said Goucher in a statement. “The team is dedicated to making the best shoes possible for runners of all levels. They take direct feedback from athletes and apply it to their shoe development. Skechers Performance is willing to think outside the box in an effort to put their athletes first. I am honored to be joining this team and I look forward to a great relationship on and off the roads.”

Goucher, 35, is a two-time U.S. Olympian who has won several U.S. titles, most recently the 2012 U.S. half marathon championships. She had talked to several running shoe brands during the winter, but many backed away after she signed with Oiselle, an upstart running apparel brand. (Most big running shoe companies also have apparel lines and most wouldn’t agree to have Goucher wear their shoes while wearing another apparel brand.) Skechers Performance launched an apparel line in 2013, but the brand is apparently OK with the fact that Goucher will be wearing Oiselle with its shoes.

Terms have not been released, but the deal is believed to be a three-year contract that will continue through the 2016 U.S. Olympics. After an initial two-year deal with Keflezighi, the brand re-signed him to a new three-year deal last fall. Goucher said she turned down “a seven-figure” multi-year deal with another shoe and apparel manufacturer before she signed with Oiselle.

Skechers is an enormous lifestyle footwear company with more than $1.5 billion in sales, but its primary areas of focus have been skate shoes, utility boots and various fitness and casual shoes. The company launched a new performance division in 2010 and its first running shoes hit stores in 2011.

“When our team first met with Kara you could sense immediately that this was a partnership both parties wanted to make happen,” said Rick Higgins, vice president of merchandising and marketing for Skechers Performance Division. “Kara’s passion and desire to win coupled with our design team’s determination to build the best running shoes make for a great partnership. We view this as another major leap forward in building product that resonates with athletes and those wanting comfortable technical footwear.”

RELATED: Sole Man: Meb + Skechers = Huge Success Story

Goucher owns a 2:24:52 marathon PR. She placed 11th in the marathon at the 2012 Olympics in London and ninth in the 5,000-meter run and 10th in the 10,000-meter run at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. She also earned the bronze medal in the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan. She and husband, Adam Goucher, a 2000 U.S. Olympian, live in Boulder, Colo., with their 3-year-old son, Colt.

Like Keflezighi, Goucher found herself without a shoe contract after mutually parting ways with Nike, the only previous sponsor in her pro career. After signing a partnership deal with Oiselle in March, she also inked a contract with NUUN hydration. She has also been seeking timing (running watches) and vision (sunglasses) contracts.

RELATED: Goucher Signs With Oiselle

Skechers has established itself as a credible running brand, both because it has developed and refined a respected racing flat with the GOmeb Speed—Meb wore that GOmeb Speed 3 while winning the Boston Marathon two weeks ago—but also because it has continued to refine its line of shoes for recreational runners.

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