K-Swiss, Inc. is an American athletic shoe brand based in Downtown Los Angeles. It was founded in 1966 and is currently owned by Chinese sports equipment manufacturing company Xtep.

Company typeSubsidiary
IndustrySportswear, footwear
Founded1966; 58 years ago (1966)
  • Art Brunner
  • Ernie Brunner
Area served
ProductsFootwear, sportswear


K-Swiss Tubes running shoes

K-Swiss was founded in 1966 in Los Angeles by Swiss brothers Art and Ernie Brunner. They became interested in tennis after emigrating to the United States. They imported leather tennis shoes from the Swiss shoe manufacturer Kuenzli. K-Swiss is the pairing of "K" in Kuenzli and "Swiss".[1][2]

K-Swiss purchased the majority stake of Australian brand Royal Elastics in 2001.[3] It sold Royal Elastics to a management-led investment group in 2009, recording a gain of $1.4 million in the second quarter.[4]

In January 2013, the company — which posted $195 million in losses between 2009 and 2012[5] — was sold to Korean firm E-Land World Limited for $170 million.[6] The following May, E-Land named a new executive team to oversee the newly formed K-Swiss Inc., including Truman Kim as chairman and Larry Remington as president and CEO.[7]

On June 1, 2015, K-Swiss acquired Supra Footwear.[8] It moved its headquarters from Westlake Village to Downtown Los Angeles in 2016.[9][10][11]

In August 2019, E-Land Footwear USA Holdings Inc. and consequently K-Swiss was acquired by Xtep International Holdings Limited, a Chinese sports equipment manufacturer.[12]


K-Swiss has signed professional tennis players Liudmila Samsonova and Cameron Norrie (both pictured in 2023).[13]

In the 1990s, Steven Nichols boosted K-Swiss's marketing budget, and hired a number of key individuals from large companies, such as Procter and Gamble. Award-winning Creative Director Mindy Gale led her NY based agency team in developing and producing K-Swiss advertising and publicity campaigns from 1997 until 2008. The "I Wear My K-Swiss" multi-media campaign ran for five consecutive years, targeting young urban consumers in print and on TV.

A re-branding campaign featuring Anna Kournikova rolled out in 2007.[14] A 2011 advertisement, featuring Danny McBride as fictional character Kenny Powers, drew attention for its use of profanity.[15]

In September 2014, the company unveiled a new marque. The new identity was created by a recently appointed internal creative team and plays up the company's heritage as an American tennis brand. All aspects of the new brand's design, including its 1966 typeface and tennis court color palette, hark back to this identity.[16] The company has been sponsoring events that appeal to their market as well as events which are likely to shape buying attitudes and help generate a positive reaction. One example is the sponsorship of Ireland's first sneaker convention run by Dub City Sneakz in Dún Laoghaire which K-Swiss sponsored.[17]

In 2016, K-Swiss president Barney Waters made it the brand's mission to "make sneakers for entrepreneurs."[18] The brand furthered this marketing angle by launching a collaboration with entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk in 2017.[19] The company has since launched campaigns with other entrepreneurs, including Karen Civil, Ben Baller, and Natalie Ellis.[20][21]

In 2019, K-Swiss debuted a shoe collaboration with TV series Breaking Bad.[22]


  1. ^ "Geschichte" (in German). Retrieved 2023-02-07.
  2. ^ Mandour, Joseph (2012-03-12). "Swiss Shoe Maker Loses to K-Swiss in Trademark Infringement Dispute". California Trademark Attorneys. Retrieved 2023-02-07.
  3. ^ Lenetz, Dana (November 19, 2001). "K-Swiss nab Royal Elastic". Footwear News. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  4. ^ "K-Swiss sells Royal Elastics division". Los Angeles Business. 4 May 2009. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
  5. ^ "View Filing Data: K-Swiss". Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved 2023-01-05.
  6. ^ Nellis, Stephen (January 25, 2013). "Korean firm pays $170M to get toehold in U.S. with K-Swiss". Pacific Coast Business Times.
  7. ^ "K-Swiss Inc.: Private Company Information". Bloomberg Businessweek. Archived from the original on February 22, 2011.
  8. ^ Verry, Peter (June 1, 2015). "[Breaking News] K-Swiss Purchases Skate Brands Supra, KR3W". Footwear News.
  9. ^ Belgum, Deborah (August 2, 2016). "K-Swiss Moving Headquarters to Historic Downtown Los Angeles". California Apparel News. Retrieved 2019-11-16.
  10. ^ "K-Swiss Global Brands to Move HQ to Downtown L.A." Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America. Retrieved 2019-11-16.
  11. ^ "K-Swiss Global Brands moving headquarters to downtown L.A." L.A. Business First. August 3, 2016. Retrieved 2023-01-05.
  12. ^ "Chinese sports brand Xtep to buy owner of U.S.' K-Swiss for $260 million". Reuters. 2 May 2019. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020.
  13. ^ "K-Swiss Appoints New Apparel Licensee" (Press release). K-Swiss. 2022-01-18. Retrieved 2022-07-19 – via SGB Media.
  14. ^ Phalon, Richard (April 16, 2007). "Turning Tennis White Into Green". Barron's. Retrieved 2023-01-05.
  15. ^ Rovell, Darren (2011-07-12). "K-Swiss' Kenny Powers Ad Draws Attention, Questions". CNBC. Retrieved 2023-01-01.
  16. ^ "K-Swiss' new brand retains American heritage". Transform magazine. 7 October 2014. Archived from the original on 18 October 2014. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  17. ^ "The Beatyard Playlist presented by Dub City Sneaks". Air // Million. August 8, 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2023-01-05.
  18. ^ Verry, Peter (2018-10-01). "K-Swiss Is Trying Unconventional Moves — Will They Help the Brand Make a Comeback?". Footwear News. Retrieved 2019-11-16.
  19. ^ "Why Gary Vaynerchuk Is Putting His Name on a K-Swiss Sneaker". Entrepreneur. 2017-11-14. Retrieved 2019-11-16.
  20. ^ "K-SWISS Launches "We are the West Campaign" w/ Ben Baller, Karen Civil, Natalie Ellis & More". Respect. 2019-03-11. Retrieved 2019-11-16.
  21. ^ Miller, Claudia (2019-03-14). "K-Swiss Takes Inspiration From West Coast Moguls in a New Collection". Footwear News. Retrieved 2019-11-16.
  22. ^ "This K-Swiss Classic 2000 Is Inspired by 'Breaking Bads Infamous RV". HYPEBEAST. October 17, 2019. Retrieved 2019-11-16.