Skechers USA Inc. is facing legal action over its popular light-up children’s sneakers.
The footwear maker is being sued by an Illinois mother who claims that its battery-powered shoes are “dangerous and defective,” and could potentially cause chemical burns.
In the proposed class-action complaint, Rikki Guajardo alleges that a pair of the brand’s light-up sneakers, which she bought for her 6-year-old son early last year, contained “a number of design or manufacturing flaws … which can lead to multiple failure modes, including a dangerous electrical or thermal event that can lead to heat, fire or the release of electrolyte vapors that can cause skin burns.”
She said that the alleged defect caused “persistent personal injuries, including swelling, burning, blistering and pain” for her son. In the first instance, Guajardo said that her son wore the shoes to school but changed into another pair after complaining that his feet were burning due to “intense heat emanating from the back of the lighted shoes.” Unaware of the cause of his discomfort, Guajardo’s son wore the sneakers several more times, with another incident causing a “heat blister” on the back of his foot, the suit contends.
Guajardo added that she attempted to return the shoes to the retailer only to have them rejected because they were already worn. She further claims that Skechers “actively concealed and failed to disclose” the alleged flaws, naming the brand’s kids’ footwear that feature S-Lights and rechargeable technology, including the Energy Lights, S-Lights, Twinkle Toes and Shopkins shoes.
“All of the lighted shoes contain inadequate mechanical protection,” the complaint read. “Further, the design of the lighted shoes is not sufficiently robust to prevent moisture and contamination (i.e. sweat or water from children jumping in puddles), allowing opportunities … which could result in burns when in contact with the skin.”
The case also claimed that Skechers has been aware of the alleged defects in its boys’ and girls’ footwear since at least last year, when another parent reached out to the Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based company about a similar complaint with his young daughter’s shoes. Separately, in November, New York mother Sherry Foster hit Skechers with a proposed class-action lawsuit after she claimed her 9-year-old son suffered second-degree burns from an allegedly faulty battery in his S-Light sneakers.
At the time, Skechers wrote in a statement that its “footwear products are rigorously tested for safety. Skechers, a family brand, has sold tens of millions of pairs of children’s lighted footwear worldwide and has not had one incident of chemical burns reported. Despite the lack of any other similar reported incidents, we are taking this complaint very seriously and giving it the highest priority.”
Guajardo has alleged breach of contract, unjust enrichment and negligence, as well as accused the shoemaker of violating Illinois’ Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. She is seeking unspecified damages and injunctive relief.
In a statement sent to FN, Skechers wrote, “Our footwear is rigorously tested for safety, following all industry standards and guidelines. No shoe is put to market until we are confident in its fit, comfort and safety — most especially with our children’s footwear … We take all complaints and issues seriously and are doing so with the lawsuit filed by Ms. Guajardo, which we believe is without merit.”
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