A small streetwear brand collaborated with a major player in the adult toy sector to develop a shoe that was partially made from abandoned, flawed toys that were rejected from production.
Plastic Soul is about 15% sex toy and resembles Merrell’s popular Hydro Moc or Yeezy’s Foam Runners. The remainder is non-bleach EVA, a foam made from petroleum that is challenging to recycle.
The idea for the shoe came from Chad Braverman, chief operating officer for Doc Johnson, the adult toy company his father founded in 1976, and David Teitelbaum, founder of Rose in Good Faith.
Plastic Soul, which has been in the works for more than two years, hasn’t yet generated the buzz that a Yeezy or other titans of sneaker culture have. The two Los Angeles businessmen are nonetheless proud, even though it doesn’t really live up to its own marketing hype as a significant sustainable option.
“Personally, I love shoes. So it was a cool product, a really interesting way to get Doc Johnson on board with something that I would never ever do,” said Braverman from the business’s headquarters in Los Angeles’s North Hollywood district.
Teitelbaum is the king of collaborations, having produced high-end hoodies, T-shirts, and other merchandise with Ed Hardy, Lil Peep, and Juice Wrld. He was searching for a new opportunity prior to the pandemic. The adult film company he met with introduced him to Doc Johnson.
Braverman recycles some of the base material from his manufacturing rejects and doesn’t send many sex toys to landfills, but he was happy to figure out what to do with the rest. He claimed that he took on the shoe collaboration not as a typical publicity gimmick but rather to advance sex positivity through style and creativity. To Teitelbaum, that is acceptable.
Women make up about 28% of sales, according to Teitelbaum. “We’re hitting an interesting narrative. I think there’s a deeper connection.”
The shoes weren’t a sell-out-in-seconds phenomenon online or in numerous retail stores around the world when they were first released in white last month. The next colorway is one in black.
The flaws in sex toys are being ground down by Braverman and Teitelbaum into thermoplastic elastomer cubes that are millimeter-sized and suitable for injection molding. The $130 slip-on shoes are created in this manner. The shoe’s creator, Teitelbaum, added a natural cork insole for added support.
To begin with, Teitelbaum covered LA in snarky advertisements. The two are producing in small quantities to promote exclusivity, but a rollout of more colors is planned. One month after launch, the initial 1,600 pairs had not yet sold out.
Teitelbaum said there has been conflicting online commentary.
“A lot of it has been, ‘You look like Yeezy, go (expletive) yourself,’” he said. “But we also get so much love.”