Brand ambassadors Brooke Burke-Charvet, Sugar Ray Leonard and Denise Austin met up on Sunday at Manhattan Beach Pier in Manhattan Beach, Calif., to support the 8th annual event, which raised $1.6 million to support children with special needs and educational programs.
The funds benefit Friendship Foundation, an organization dedicated to facilitating meaningful relationships and friendships between teen volunteers and children with special needs through confidence-building activities.
Skechers — which has its headquarters in the picturesque coastal area — launched the event in 2009. It has grown into the country’s largest event of its kind.
“It’s become a key event for Skechers, our sponsors and the celebrities that support it — and, most importantly, for the thousands of children, parents, teachers, community leaders and businesses who walk with us every year,” Skechers President Michael Greenberg told Footwear News.
“We’re all here to make a better life for our kids. It’s great to see how much their confidence grows every year as they take the stage alongside celebrities and sports legends you usually only see on TV,” Greenberg added. “They know this event belongs to them and all the children in our community.”
The walk attracted more than 12,000 people and included entertainment by Jordyn Jones, New District, Aidan Prince, and Asia Monet Ray, plus appearances by actor Ian Ziering and his family, as well as model Camila Alves, who shared with FN: “The beauty of life is that someone helps you and you help them — that’s the exchange.”
The mother of daughter Vida and sons Livingston and Levi, with her husband, actor Matthew McConaughey, promoted her new line of Yummy Spoonfuls organic baby food and said that she already has a special pair of shoes in mind that she plans to give to her 6-year-old daughter one day.
“I have fashionable pairs and ones for personal wear,” Alves said of her shoe closet. “When I was about 16 years old, my grandmother — who lives in a small town in Brazil — saved money to take me to the nicest store in town to pick out a pair of sandals. We were in that store for over an hour, trying everything. It was important to get me a nice pair to come back to the U.S. with,” she continued. “The straps wrap around the leg. They’re falling apart, but I still have them. Hopefully when Vida gets old enough, I can pass them down to her.”
Below, Skechers ambassadors reflect on their relationship with the brand and its philanthropy.
“[Skechers] hired me for my very first print campaign almost 20 years ago, which is crazy. I’ve been working with them as the face of the brand for the last five years with all of their lines. It’s an honor to be a part of a brand that represents the whole family — I’m proud to be involved with the greatest family brand out there. My husband and kids join me [at the Friendship Walk] every year.”
“Helping families in need means a lot to me, so it’s great to be a spokesperson for Skechers. This [area] is where I was born and raised — I went to high school a mile away. I’ve been with Skechers probably almost 10 years. I’ve known the Greenberg family for so long. When I was on Lifetime TV with my exercise show, which I did for 20 years, they were a sponsor. Now I do everything online.”
Sugar Ray Leonard:
“Boxing is a platform that has given me so much. I made an impact inside the ring, and now it’s about making an impact outside the ring. In my most recent [commercial for Skechers] I was jumping rope. I’m 60 years old now — I think people forget that I’m 60 years old — so a lot of things I do, physically, sometimes I have to go home and get a massage. When I joined forces with Skechers, I stopped wearing other shoes. They are the most comfortable shoes. My wife says, ‘You wear them everyday?” I say, “Yeah, it’s about comfort.”
Other celebrity appearances included Dodgers legend Tommy Lasorda and actors Melissa Carcache, Lance Lim, Lizzy Greene, Jakob Hopkins, and Terrell Ransom Jr.