What were those shoes that were popular in the 90s and were called Soap shoes? Why aren’t they made anymore? What happened to them?
Soap shoes ruled the 90s and the mid-2000s, and It was popular among the teens.
In fact, Sonic the hedgehog wore Soap shoes in one of their games and also wore them in a few anime episodes later on!
But what happened to them, and where did they go?
And remember, this was during the time when skateboarding and rollerblades were extremely popular.
Let me tell you about the rise and fall of some of the growing storms in the world that were suddenly put off.
Who Founded the Soap Shoes
So, who invented the trendy soap shoes In The 90’s? Chris Morris, in the year 1997, started making Soap Shoes by attaching a grinding plate in the outer sole of the shoe. Which will allow you to grind on handrails, pipes, and just about anything that you could normally grind with a skateboard or rollerblades.
The only difference is, now you don’t need a skateboard and you could do them wearing these shoes. Thanks to the Soap shoes.
Before he came up with the idea of Soap shoes, he worked at Rollerblades in Torrance, CA, for more than 16 years and envisioned a shoe that could allow you to grind.
He met his coworker Dave Edmond and told him about his idea of shoes that could allow him to grind. And then, both quickly experimented with a Nike shoe and attached a grinding plate on the outsole of the shoe.
Once it was ready, Mr. Morris quickly tried it out, fell on his rear, and immediately ran to his lawyer to file a patent.
He then reached out to Concept 21, a design firm that was recently founded, and asked them to design a prototype shoe to finalize it.
And then Mr. Morris, with the marketing partner Patt Parnell formed a company called Artemis Innovations, in which the brand Soap Shoes sold for four years until 2001.
The First Fall
In 2001, Chris Morris lost the license of Soap due to legal problems, and due to this, inactivity within the company was growing.
Due to these reasons, the other executives decided to sell the company.
In-Stride, who makes wrestling gear, bought Soap. Some people believed the Soap brand is going to be reformed under the management of In-Stride.
Even to date, it is still debated if In-stride ever released any Soap shoes after acquiring them.
But there is evidence that suggests that In-stride did sell a few soap shoes but without attaching the grinding plate. Later in 2002, In-stride went bankrupt, again leaving the brand Soap shoe up for sale.
Heeling’s Sports Limited, who makes shoes with wheels under the brand name Heelys acquired the Soap shoe because they thought using both grinding plate and wheels on their shoe would be extremely profitable.
In 2003, Soap shoes, under the new management of Heeling’s Sports Limited, released six new shoes in multiple color schemes. At the same time, Heeling Sports Limited was also working on hybrid models that use both grinding plates and wheels to sell under their Heely brand.
They were later criticized for releasing too many models in a short period, and not frequently providing the stock that was requested by the retailers.
The sport didn’t catch up with the mass market, like skating or rollerblading. But the “Soap” had a professional team consisting of pro inline skaters. Soap was very popular in the early 2000s and in the 90s, as competing crews across America and Europe were posting their videos on the internet regularly, starting an online community of “Soapers”. Since then, the crew has been disbanded, and the website forum has been taken down.
Again in 2006, Soaping started to grow in popularity as people were getting attracted to it, and Heeling’s Sports Limited did relaunch one of Soap’s old successful models called Express model in limited quantity, but it was difficult for them to stand back on their feet as Heely has been using the grinding plates with the combination of wheels.
Final Fall of Soap Shoe
When the recession hit in 2008, HSL, whose stock price was once trading at $38 per share, was reduced to $21.99 to $11.42 in a single day.
A year later, Soap shoe Express was discontinued by Heeling’s Sports Limited, and within the next five years, the stock price was even further reduced to $2.25 per share.
Sequential Brand Group later purchased HSL for $63.2 million, acquiring all the soap shoes and other grind patents.
During the same time, the Soap shoe website was taken down with a message that says, “site is under development”.
Sonic the Hedgehog and Soap
Sonic the Hedgehog wore the soap shoes in a video game called Sonic Adventure 2, and this game was marketed heavily with billboards, benches advertising the games, and they used blimps to promote.
In the game, sonic wore a custom version of scorcher/nitro shoe that is exclusive to the game’s title.
While Shadow, who is Sonic’s arch-rival, wore hybrid jet hover skate/grind shoes since grinding was an important part of this game’s gameplay.
While grinding is an important element in recent Sonic games, Soap shoes were replaced with his normal shoes.
In the Sonic Forces, the soap shoes made a comeback with an unlockable accessory that came in 3 different colors, one that matches with the Sonic adventure 2’s color scheme.
The partnership between Soap and Sonic was discontinued when it was sold to In-stride and later HSL. But in the anime, Sonic X, Sonic’s Soap shoes were brought in for two episodes to give him an advantage over the enemies.
While Soap shoes aren’t made anymore, but they still enjoy great relevance and popularity. Fans of Soap shoes are still scouring through the internet and buying them from resellers online just to enjoy them again and live the time.
Will there be a revival of Soap shoes? I wish they do!