We get a lot of random cold emails in our inboxes daily, and it usually takes something special for us to really perk up and pay attention. In between all the C-level homie edits and requests to restock the Front Blunt hat, sometimes we’ll get a gem like the one we have for you today.
The people at Epic Grindshoes recently reached out and shared this video of people hitting the streets in their new “grind shoe,” which is basically just a revamped and retooled Soap Shoe. Remember those?
We couldn’t believe that someone out there was really putting money behind reviving a shoe that peaked in the 2000s and had a shorter lifecycle than most family pets, so we hit up Brand Manager Oli Benet to see what they were thinking and what they’re hoping to accomplish with their new product.
Has anyone ever told you that rebooting Soap Shoes was a bad idea?
Not really, to be honest. Nostalgically, it’s a great blast from the past. A lot of old-school Soapers are really happy about it, and especially people in parkour. They’re loving the possibilities. It’s also a product that doesn’t really exist in any similar form, and we always loved the concept.
People sometimes ask, “What’s the point?” I never really understood that argument, because why does anything “need a point?” If it’s fun and it makes you smile, that’s good. We didn’t create these shoes with the goal of helping you get to work, if that’s what people mean by what’s the point? I wouldn’t say there’s anything bad about it, it’s just another way to have fun and get creative.
What’s different between your product and the OG Soap Shoe?
We have the benefit of over 25 years of production of products that grind, so we could create a smoother, better, sliding plate. We also moved the grind plate to a more central, natural-feeling part of the foot. The shoes are much, much lighter and low profile. We also have hi-tops, for more ankle support.
Rumor has it that if you start a shoe brand you probably have a foot fetish, is that true?
I am bound by the Foot Fetish Sneaker Brands Society contract and am not permitted to answer that question.
Would you pull up to a wedding or formal event in these?
We have two black models and a white model among the designs, so why not? There’s even one for the bride if she is into a stylish, completely white hi-top sneaker.
Have you tried to get these in skate shops? What have shops said when you approached them?
We distribute all over the world and are in many skate shops already. And the shops that we’re not in, well… that’s on our to-do list.
Who is the Tony Hawk of your world?
It’s hard to say If you think about it, Soaping died out over 20 years ago, and the new generation of people using these shoes has only had a few months to try them. The old models of shoes from 20-30 years ago have mostly been destroyed, or have fallen apart. However, out of the new guys, Nick Lomax, Montre Livingston, Eugen Enin, and Bob Reese are killing it on the streets.
Is there any pro skater who you’d really like to see in a pair of these?
Nyjah Houston or Zion [Wright] are some names I’d like to see in the shoes.
Do you think this can make it into the Olympics like skating did?
I don’t think that’s the goal, really. The great thing about these shoes is anyone can just jump on something and experience grinding. We’re as excited about people using them as a stand-alone product as we are about people combining them with other sports. For example, we really wanted to see people using grind shoes with parkour, skateboarding, and scooters. Just getting creative and having fun with them. I feel like we’re getting a lot of people going that route. Olympics is not even on our radar, to be honest. Grindshoes are more of a tool than a standalone sport.
What would you say to someone who claims your shoes are just for people who aren’t good enough to rollerblade or skateboard?
I don’t really believe in the idea that some sports are better or worse, or easier or harder than any other sports. It depends on what you do with them. Is it harder to kickflip than grind a curb on these shoes? Absolutely. Does that make it less fun? No. If you can enjoy the feeling of gliding down a rail, or just coming up with creative ways to have fun on them, I don’t think you really care if you’re good enough or not good enough to do a completely different sport. I don’t think it needs to be compared. Different uses, different feelings, different enjoyment.
If you could collab with any brand, who would it be and why?
I would like to keep the options open to any, but to answer your question with a completely unrelated answer, it would be so amazing to do a Sonic the Hedgehog collaboration as he was the first “celebrity” on Grindshoes back in the day.
Has anyone tried to drink a shoey out of your shoes?
Not that I know of but I’m it’s a good idea if you don’t have a glass.