Who Makes Kirkland Athletic Shoes (Are they Good? Review)

Who Makes Kirkland Athletic Shoes

Do you know who makes Kirkland Signature men´s Athletic shoes? Well, you are at the perfect place to find the answer to such a question.

Kirkland shoes are a blast from the past for anyone who is a millennial or even a boomer. These shoes quickly became a cult classic after they were introduced and quickly gained popularity amongst people of all ages.

While their production was halted in the middle where the company which makes them didn’t produce them anymore, their production was restarted.

The manufacturers of Kirkland athletic shoes, however, choose to remain anonymous due to reasons best known to them. While people thought that it was store brands like Costco that made and manufactured these shoes, they actually just commission them from the bigger brands by placing an order or giving them incentive to let them sell a similar copy.

This article explores in detail the reality of who actually makes Kirkland athletic shoes, along with other information you may find useful.

Who manufactures Kirkland athletic shoes?

You’d think that store brands like Kirkland make their own products, one of them being footwear, but that is not the case. Most of these products are made by the biggest names in the industry, which you may have thought they’re competing against.

Recently, the brand Fila has come out with their own version of the Kirkland athletic footwear, the production of which was discontinued a while ago, mainly because the manufacturers changed from some other brand to Fila. These shoes are readily available for purchase at all Costco stores, under the brand name Kirkland.

Although Fila is manufacturing these shoes, they don’t have a brand logo or name on the shoes, hinting that it was probably commissioned by Costco.

The shoes are now called Costco’s Kirkland athletic shoes made by Fila, hinting that Costco owns the brand Kirkland, even though most products under the brand might not even be made by Costco itself.

Read also: Running Shoes in the Washing Machine? (How To Wash)

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the national brand made shoes are identical to Costco’s Kirkland shoes, there are some differences because the store brand wants to differentiate themselves, the differences being the quality, sizes, price, manufacturing, or anything else to differentiate them from bigger brand’s footwear.

In a nutshell, store brands or private-label brands such as Kirkland are not manufactured by the store Costco that sells them.

Instead, bigger companies and national or renowned brands make the products and sell them to stores and allow them to put their own labels on it.

Why don’t store brands make their own shoes and other products?

There are many reasons why private-labels or store brands don’t manufacture their own shoes, along with other products.

Firstly, their productive capacity isn’t as large as many of the national brands that can afford to produce at such a massive scale and magnitude.

Secondly, they avoid the risk that comes with setting up industry and hiring factors of production in a market that cannot be easily judged or discerned by many.

They avoid various monetary and economic losses this way and instead choose to commission the higher-end or national brands to manufacture the products for them, since that would be more profitable for them.

The national brands also have more experience working in the market and gauging consumer behavior to produce things that sell, because they’ve been established for longer, and have a better reputation.

Compared to this, the store brands are relatively newer and won’t survive as a new entrant in the market, so they avoid doing all this effort to save their time and money.

What incentives are given to bigger companies to let others sell a copy of their shoes?

Stores like Costco commission the bigger national products to make products that they can sell which look similar to their own products, but are not identical. Basically, store brands want the products made in their own version, and thus proceed to give a massive order for commission.

There might even be horse trading going on where the store brand gives incentives for the bigger brands to allow them to sell a generic version of their products. In return, the store brands will give them end cap spots, good or preferred product placement over other products, ads, and more in the stores.

Another incentive is for brands like Costco to agree to only sell that national brand’s products (along with their store-brand version) in their store in return for a massive commission. This is a big incentive since it eliminates competition for the national brand that’s manufacturing the products.

Some bigger companies even publicly announce that they’re going to be doing a massive commission for this store brand, or put their names on the Kirkland products to announce it, making them eligible for perfect product placement within the stores, eliminating competition, giving them monopoly power in this aspect.

This means that the competitors of that generic product lose out on massive sales, while all the profit goes to national brands.

What other Costco products are made by the higher end brands?

Other than Kirkland shoes, there are other major products you’ve been using but might not know are being produced by one of the bigger and more renowned companies, here we’ll briefly discuss some of them:

·        The Kirkland brand coffee is roasted by Starbucks.

·        Kirkland brand diapers actually come from Huggies.

·        Kirkland brand batteries are manufactured by Duracell.

·        Kirkland red disposable cups are made by Chinet.

·        The baby formula of Kirkland is produced by Perrigo.

·        Diamond Natural Dog Food produces some of the Kirkland brand dog foods.

·        Jelly Belly produces the jelly beans sold under the Kirkland brand name.

·        Stearns & Foster produce the Kirkland mattresses.




Lindsey graduated with an MBA in 2009. Since then, Lindsey has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Lindsey is also the head writer and Co-founder of Rvandplaya.com. Lindsey is based in Morgantown, West Virginia.

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