Skechers, the shoe company that last year was forced to pay millions of dollars for making “unfounded claims” about its line of shoes that promised to tone, is under fire again for its marketing of sneakers to kids.
The company is being targeted by mom bloggers and parenting experts for marketing its high-heeled wedge sneaker line, called “Daddy’$ Money,” to pre-teen and teenage girls.
The shoes, which range in price online from $50 to $80, feature a hidden wedge heel and are sold on sites like Zappos.com with the description, “Step out in sassy style with these sweet high-top sneaks!”
Skechers itself uses the tagline, “Get spoiled with Daddy’s Money, ultra-cool shoes that will put you in the spotlight…” to sell the shoes.
“It teaches young girls that they can use their feminine wiles to get what they want, even from their own fathers,” Ericka Souter from the popular parenting blog, Café Mom’s TheStir.com, told ABC News.
“It’s totally sexist,” she said. “In this day and age a lot of mommies are footing half the bills if not all the bills.”
Commercials for the shoe line are airing on channels ranging from MTV to the children’s cartoon channel, The Hub, sending, according to one parenting expert, a dangerous message to young girls.
“The whole aspect of self-worth is off in this because you want to motivate children, especially in this day and age, to do for themselves, to be independent, to get things for themselves, to earn [money] one day,” said Tammy Gold, a parenting coach and psychotherapist.
“All of this is saying the opposite,” she said.
Skechers itself is saying the opposite as well, defending the shoes and the commercials in a statement to ABC News.
“The Daddy’s Money name and the collection’s advertising are designed to be fun and lighthearted,” the company said. “We regret that some people have been offended by the name.”