NEW YORK (AP) — Sex toys and shoes? Try sex toys IN shoes.
A small streetwear brand has teamed up with a giant in the adult toy industry to create a shoe derived in part from unused and defective amusements that roll off the production line as misfits.
Looking a lot like Merrell’s popular Hydro Moc or Yeezy’s Foam Runners, Plastic Soul is about 15% sex toys. The rest is non-bleaching EVA, a hard-to-recycle petroleum-based foam.
The shoe is the brainchild of David Teitelbaum, founder of Rose in Good Faith, and Chad Braverman, chief operating officer of Doc Johnson, the adult toy company his father founded in 1976.
Over two years in the making, Plastic Soul has yet to create the buzz of a Yeezy or the kicks of other titans of sneaker culture. And it doesn’t particularly live up to its own marketing hype as a major sustainable option, but the two Los Angeles businessmen are proud nonetheless.
“Personally, I love shoes. So it was a cool product, a really cool way to involve Doc Johnson in something that I would never do,” Braverman said from the company’s headquarters in the North Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Teitelbaum is a collaboration king with hoodies, t-shirts and other Ed Hardy, Lil Peep and Juice Wrld merchandise under his belt. Before the pandemic, he was looking for something new. He met an adult film company, which put him on Doc Johnson.
Braverman doesn’t send a lot of sex toys to landfills and is able to reuse some of the raw material from his manufacturing scraps, but he was happy to know what to do with the rest. He said he took on the shoe collaboration not as a garden strain publicity stunt, but to promote sex positivity through fashion and innovation. It’s good with Teitelbaum.
“Something like 28% of sales go to women,” Teitelbaum said. “We are reaching an interesting narrative. I think there is a deeper connection.
The shoes were introduced in white last month and were not a phenomenon that sold out in seconds online or in multiple retail stores around the world. Next up is a black colorway.
Braverman and Teitelbaum reduce defects in sex toys to millimeter cubes of thermoplastic elastomer, a mixture of rubber and plastic that lends itself to injection molding. This is how the $130 slip-on shoes are made. Teitelbaum, who designed the shoe, added a natural cork insole for extra support.
Teitelbaum showered LA with cheeky ads to begin with. To promote exclusivity, the two are doing limited batches, but a rollout of more colors is planned. A month after introduction, the first iteration of 1,600 pairs had yet to be sold.
Online feedback has been mixed, Teitelbaum said.
“A big part of it was, ‘You look like Yeezy, go (expletive) yourself,'” he said. “But we’re also getting so much love.”