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The Original Grind Shoe Company
|» Soap Shoes are shoes made for grinding. They were invented in 1997 by Chris morris of Artemis Innovations Inc. The activity is based on the extreme sport of Aggressive Inline Skating - but without the wheels. They have a plastic concave "grind plate" in the arch of the sole, which allows the wearer to grind on surfaces such as benches, handrails, and ledges.
Soaping became a very big hit on the west coast and across the nation. It's something fun to do while you're out. It's something you can literally do anywhere at any time. You could be walking through a mall and slide across a ledge or rail. The company even had sayings like, "The street is your playground" and "Play with yourself" Over the course of 3 years the company became more and more popular introducing tons of excellent new shoes that were continuously better than the previous.
However, in 2001 the CEO of Soap seemed to duck out and run around the world for a while. During this time the company seemed to halt to a complete stop. No new models were being invented, marketing slowed way down, and ultimately the remaining management decided to sell the company.
Another shoe company called In-Stride, based out of Texas purachased Soap Shoes. In-Stride's company focused primarily on wrestling and cheerleading shoes, which led many to believe that they were probably a bad candidate for buying Soap. During the entire duration of In-Stride owning Soap Shoes nothing happened. They screwed up big time and almost put Soap Shoes completely under. No new models were released, no marketing was done, and ultimately they killed the Soap Shoe buzz.
In the summer of 2002 In-Stride went bankrupt and had Soap Shoes up for sale again. Heeling Sports Limited (the company that makes Heelys shoes) jumped at the deal. Roger Adams, the inventor of Heelys had been in contact with Chris Morris when he still ran the company. Roger actually tried to work together with Chris in 2000 to try to release a Soap shoe with wheels. Artemis Innovations ultimately shot the deal down and so Roger started his own empire which has now grown tremendously. Given this original interest in Soap Shoes, HSL bought Soap Shoes and gave a complete running start at bringing Soap Shoes back to life.
The only problem with HSL's approach is that they released far too many shoes on their first run with too many similarities. Vendors weren't playing ball due to the failure that In-stride invoked. This caused HSL to fall back and is now selling only 2 models of the Soap Shoes that they released in the first run.
The fate of Soap Shoes is ultimately in HSL's hands. They are doing an excellent job keeping the company alive and have a great marketing team... however, due to the success of Heelys, they're obviously focused more the shoes that roll.
Help us out, buy some Soaps. Send soapshoes.com an email. Tell them that you want new shoes. Tell them that you want shoes with sole plates. Give them feedback on what YOU want in a shoe. They are great people, they're very open to suggestion. The inventors and innovators - they love customer feedback. Just be constructive, be mature, and as always, keep grinding.
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