Besides his teeth, shiny rings and ability to move at Flash-like speeds, the other notable Sonic the Hedgehog trait are the shoes that help him travel at such velocities. And given that we’re talking Sonic sequels these days, it’s worth pointing out that in 2001’s Sonic Adventure 2, the sequel to Sonic Adventure that marked the 10th anniversary of the series, Sonic was supposed to have his normal shoes. But months before the release of the game, Soap shoes contacted its creators and asked if they wanted to feature their infamous grind shoes on Sonic’s hedgehog feet.
The collaboration took place so late in the game’s development that in early photos of Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic is still wearing his normal red and white shoes. “In the opening cutscene in Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic’s normal shoes are seen as he jumps out of the helicopter,” reports the Sonic 2 News Network. “However, in the next shot of Sonic, he is wearing the 2G Hi-Speed Shoes.”
These 2G Hi-Speeds were based on a custom version of the Scorcher/Nitro shoe from Soap. They featured more foot-shaped proportions than Sonic’s typical red and white boots. The outsoles were yellow, red and gray, highly detailed and possessed a red recess below the in-step, and of course, they were virtually friction-proof. The shoes were so detailed that some fans preferred the old ones if only because they were easier to draw.
Nonetheless, the collaboration between a still burgeoning shoe company and Sonic was a match made in heaven. Freestyle grinding had reached such epic proportions by 2001 that the Wall Street Journal published an article warning parents about the dangers of Soap shoes. And what better video game character to feature grinding shoes than a blue hedgehog famous for his running ability and acrobatics?
Did the collaboration work? If Reddit is any indication, nearly a decade later, Sonic fans can’t help but wish to get their hands on the 2G Hi-Speeds again. “When I was a kid, I thought they were so cool we bought several pairs,” one redditor recently wrote on the Sonic the Hedgehog subreddit. “Every time I see these shoes on the actual Adventure 2 on the stage complete animation, it looks like he’s wearing high heels, the shoes are huge!” another added. “And that’s fucking awesome! Also, I love that these shoes actually existed!”
Unfortunately, Soap wiped out in 2008, and the Soap ads that appeared in Sonic Adventure 2 were removed from the game. But the 2G Hi-Speeds remained in later re-releases of Sonic Adventures 2. They also appeared in Sonic Pinball Party as well as Sonic Forces.
Unfortunately for fans of the 2G Hi-Speeds, there’s little if any hope for a re-release. Again, Soap is gone. But also, if this latest Sonic movie is any indication, the illustrators have gone in a different direction. These days, at least per his current incarnation and the announcement that Sonic has teamed up with Fila to release his latest movie shoes, Sonic is less skater boy and much more the latest casualty of the chunky sneaker takeover.