Skechers USA Inc. gained traction in New York trading today after Meb Keflezighi, the American runner who endorses its shoes, triumphed at the Boston Marathon.
Keflezighi, 38, led for more than half of the 26.2-mile race and finished in two hours, eight minutes, 37 seconds, making him the first American man to win the race since Greg Meyer in 1983.
The performance today “is just a huge leap forward for the entire Skechers performance division, the entire brand as a whole,” Rick Higgins, vice president of merchandising and marketing at Skechers’ performance division, said in a telephone interview. “Just having that legitimacy and credibility in that market.”
Skechers signed Keflezighi to an endorsement deal in 2011, about two years after he’d won the New York Marathon. The company, which was founded in 1992 and known mostly for its skateboard shoes and boots, introduced the GOrun line later in 2011, with Keflezighi as its main pitchman. Skechers and Keflezighi extended their agreement in November. Higgins declined to comment on the financial details of the deal.
The company’s website today featured a banner-width, black-and-white photo of the runner with the tagline “Congratulations, Meb!”
The shares climbed 1.9 percent to $35.92 at the close in New York. Manhattan Beach, California-based Skechers has gained 8.4 percent this year.
Rita Jeptoo defended her title in the women’s race in Boston today. The 33-year-old Kenyan was wearing Nike Inc. shoes.