The offering will feature six colorways of Skechers’ popular D’Lites chunky lace-up sneakers, each inspired by a different character from Toei Animation Inc.’s popular anime series. Previously exclusive to the South Korean and China markets, the sneakers will be available in North America this July at Skechers retail stores, Skechers.com and select specialty stores.
“One Piece” is based on Japanese artist Eiichiro Oda’s bestselling manga series of the same name, which has sold more than 430 million copies worldwide. The anime adaptation debuted in 1997 and has since rolled out more than 890 episodes. It chronicles the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy — a boy whose body gained the properties of rubber after he unintentionally ate a Devil Fruit — and his fearless band of Straw Hat Pirates.
Skechers president Michael Greenberg said the success of the “One Piece” collaboration overseas motivated the company to share it with North American fans. “Pairing this iconic, long-running anime series with one of our top heritage [sneaker] styles resonated with consumers in South Korea and China, who have been driving trends for the past few years,” he explained. “As influencers around the world have already been embracing Skechers D’Lites and the chunky sneaker trend, we started to see style purveyors covering the Skechers x One Piece collaboration as a must-have fashion style. We knew it was time to introduce the collaboration to the U.S. and Canada — and fast.”
According to Skechers, sales of its D’Lites sneakers have surged across Asia over the past two years, fueled by regional marketing including K-Pop groups, making the retro-inspired shoes a shoo-in for the “One Piece” collaboration. Skechers first pioneered the chunky sneaker trend more than 20 years ago with its Energy and Stamina styles. As the trend evolved over time, the brand introduced D’Lites, a lighter version of the original, in 2007. Last year, Skechers relaunched an even lighter update in celebration of D’Lites’ 10-year anniversary.