The Cringiest Sneaker Gimmicks

Skechers Daddys Money Front Shot

By its true definition, a ‘gimmick’ is a tool used to attract attention. Sometimes they’re used well, and sometimes they turn out so bad they leave us rattled to the core.

The sneakersphere has seen some pretty bad attention-grabbing gimmicks over the years, whether offensive, outright weird, or just plain wrong. So, in order to make you feel slightly uncomfortable, we compiled a list of some of the cringiest sneaker gimmicks.

Take a look down below, and prepare to squirm…

Daddy’s Money

When we think of the term ‘Daddy’s money’, there is no shortage of cringe-worthy moments that come to mind. In an attempt to be the shoe that represented all the sugar babies and girls spoilt by their fathers, Skechers went too far and used the term in an advertising campaign. Directed at tween girls, the campaign introduced its target audience to a new range of hidden wedge sneakers by using the tag-line: ‘Get spoiled with daddy’s money, ultra-cool shoes that will put you in the spotlight, with a dose of swag and a 2-inch hidden wedge’. You don’t even need hindsight to know that this was one of the worst sneaker advertising campaigns we’ve ever seen.

Skechers Shape Ups Kris Jenner Side Shot
Image source: Drapers

Skechers Need a Shape-Up

We cringed so hard when our High School science teacher wore Skechers Shape-ups in an attempt to lose weight. Did they work? Well, let’s just say he wasn’t able to slim down walking back and forth from his classroom to the vending machine. Endorsed by the Kardashians, it turns out the curved outsole that was meant to tone your legs and bum was all just a big hoax – actually causing major injuries to wearers instead of staggering weight loss.

Shoes Give Me Strength

As seen on an episode of Seinfeld, here is another shoe with promises that it couldn’t deliver. With a design that made shivers go up our spine, the Strength Shoe gave wearers the idea that they were going to receive toned muscles, an amazing bod, and a massive improvement in how high they could jump. Instead, they were given muscle injuries and false hope.

,Air Jordan 15 Retro Stealth Lateral Side Shot
Image source: StockX

Michael Jordan’s Tongue

The tongue is a very intimate part of the body, and using it as a gimmick in order to sell a shoe is pretty weird, don’t you agree? Well, this goes out to all you Air Jordan 15 fans, because the bit that pokes out on the AJ15 is actually directly inspired by Michael Jordan’s tongue – specifically the way it used to pop out while he was driving the lane or hitting game-winning jumpers.

We don’t know about you, but the AJ15 was ruined when we heard this…

Adidas Jeremy Scott Roundhouse Lateral Side Shot 1
Image Source: Sneakernews


Here at SF HQ we are all for Jeremy Scott x adidas kicks, the maximalist vibes bring us the utmost joy. However, sometimes designs can get misinterpreted, leaving us ducking for cover and wishing we hadn’t seen what we just witnessed. That’s what happened back when Jeremy Scott released a ‘Shackle Sneaker’. Not a lot of explaining is needed, we’re sure you can imagine why we were all cringing at these.

Swipe up

Chinese sneaker manufacturer Kaiwei Ni took clickbait to a whole new level back in 2017. In a gimmick invented to increase traction on their IG stories, they placed a fake piece of hair’ onto their story in order to trick people into swiping up.

We’re torn, was this a cringeworthy attempt to gain traction, or a simple case of clickbait evolving into scrollbait’?

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