I have always loved Stuffed Animals. I probably had more than anyone should have had, especially with various allergies, but I always found them comforting. Now, while plushies are still around, there’s a lot more different types of fabric used and one in particular that we will bring up numerous times in this post: Polyester. Polyester is a synthetic fabric which is not only incredibly soft, but due to it being synthetic, it also is less likely to draw in bugs such as Carpet Beetles and tends to not attract as much Dust which, for me at least, is really helpful.
This post isn’t in any particular order nor is it any kind of ranking, but will mainly just be to talk about what I think of them and their availability.
I based my criteria generally on plushies that had a very similar type of feel fabric-wise and the same squishy type of stuffing. Honorable mentions are based off ones that still felt very similar even if the fabric wasn’t quite the same. Ones that generally didn’t make the cut, while close, were generally very firm and didn’t have that same squishy feeling when hugging as the ones listed do in the long run.
These will likely be the most well-known on this list and considering they’ve been called the “new Beanie Babies”, it’s not really a surprise. I got my first Squishmallow back in 2018. It was small and very soft and off to the side with another one in Target. It didn’t even have a name.
If I had one regret, it’s that I didn’t keep up with them thinking they were just a random one-off as maybe then my wish list wouldn’t be so long. I do still have a nice collection regardless:
While the popularity and crazy inflation/scalping is reminiscent of the Beanie Baby craze, I would say the biggest difference is that while Beanie Babies had a lot of various shapes, Squishmallows are generally the same shape– a Marshmallow-esque/Potato-y body with various appendages. There are the Hugmees as well though which are more loaf shaped with longer arms and legs. However, most Squishmallows can come in two or more of various different sizes: 5 inches, 7 inches, 8 inches, 11 inches, 12 inches, 13 inches, 16 inches, 20 inches, and 24 inches. There’s also Clips that are 3 and a half inches and recently, the new Squishville additions that are about 2 inches.
In addition, some Squishmallows have seasonal variants where they may have something embroidered on them for the season. While I personally am only hoping to get one of each of my favorites regardless of size or seasonal ones, there can also be color variants which I will admit can be a bit tempting if I like them both such as Ilene where I have both versions of her– they share different fringe colors and a slightly different shade of pink for the body:
My personal favorite size are actually the 5 inch ones. They’re the squishiest to me and I feel most of the bigger sizes are a lot firmer. Some are still quite soft, but with the prices, I still tend to prefer the tinier ones. That said, some of the inflation has some of the smaller sizes somehow costing more than the bigger ones.
There are also the Squishville ones that recently released that I wish I liked more as their size is really cute, ignoring that their tush tag is nearly the same size, but when it comes to actually squishing them, they feel incredibly lacking. They still have that soft fabric, but it feels more like just pressing on a really fluffy plush button rather than something really soft and huggable/squishy. Like it just feels a lot firmer than I’d expect.
Unfortunately, the biggest issue with Squishmallows is that they just… are a huge pain to get. While some people enjoy the hunt, it’s not something I find much fun (and honestly, the stores around here aren’t great with their selections) or have many opportunities to do in the first place. The online shop is relatively deserted, the prices are so all over the place that I couldn’t even tell you what the MSRP is and until July, there wasn’t any kind of official Collector’s Guide or Checklist to even tell you what ones there are. The Collectors Guide doesn’t even have them all.
Of course, even if I did do the hunt, there’s the issue of some being not just store exclusive, but region exclusive. One of the ones I’d love to have was exclusive to a Store in Australia which is pretty disheartening. Very few Squishmallows have been limited to a specific number, but with how hard they are to find, the official website not really being dependable, no real idea what’s new and releasing when through any official sources, and no rhyme or rhythm to what ends up inflating, it just becomes frustrating.
I hope one day I can maybe get a lot of the ones I really adore, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say my hopes were incredibly low.
Thousand Skies was the very first place I had seen these types of Plushies and how I fell in love with them to such a degree. I adore dogs, especially Corgis as my very first dog was one, so as soon as I saw these posted, I had to have one, pre-ordered it, and was completely floored with how soft it was. I’ve gotten all five regular sized ones and I can’t wait until the next one.
I hope I can get one of the big ones too some day, but I have no idea which I would pick.
Moosh-Moosh are honestly very similar to Squishmallows and I’m surprised they seem to be relatively under the radar. They tend to be more loaf-esque (though, there are also cube-shaped and a few other special ones) and like a cross between Squishmallows and the Thousand Skies Plushies with certain appendages having different textures.
Their website stays fairly up to date (though, you can only really get the medium or big sizes), you can be alerted when certain ones restock, and I actually have pretty much all my regular favorites:
They’re SO soft with a kind of silky velvet soft texture and I love just fluffing them because they’re super squishy. While not on the site, they also have these Squishy Stress-Ball-esque ones called “Skwishies” and as someone who’s generally not a fan of slow-rising squishies, the soft fabric outer paired with the gel-like squishy is actually super pleasing. Unfortunately, it’s something that hasn’t been for sale regularly on the website and was just a bonus inclusion for limited time.
On the downsides, there’s not much news nor can they really be found online off their website so anything not there is pretty hard to find. Even the new reversible plush that were mentioned not long ago on Social Media about appearing in stores soon. Even if they say “In Store Only”, it’d be nice to see some of these other things in their shop along with finding out about some of the stuff that I haven’t seen for a while or have only been mentioned on social media.
Like Mooshmallowz look very cute, but as they aren’t on the online store, I don’t have one. I’d love Doe, who was my very first Moosh-Moosh, my favorite, and also the one I have a Skwishy of. I’d also love one and a Skwishy as well of Handi Andi as I think the round shape fits better than the loaf one for them.
Cats vs Pickles
Cats vs Pickles is probably one of the ones I follow the most with their small handheld size and soft laid-in designs. Unlike the others on the list, in addition to some fluff, they also have quite a bit of small beans in them. I feel like the fluff in the regular sized ones have lessened a bit in some of the Series 2, but it could just be the ones I got– they are still very squishy and soft though and the beans give a nice kneading texture even if I do miss the fluffier ones from the original wave. I have yet to get a Jumbo (though, I am leaning towards Twinkle Starlight’s…) or Hugger-sized so I’m not sure how those stack up in comparison, but hopefully I can get some one day. A Chonky size (between the regular and Jumbo sizes) was also announced at Sweet Suite @ Home, but I don’t believe it has a release yet (likely by the end of the year though).
As you can maybe guess from the names, Cats vs Pickles involve either Bean-shaped Cats or Pickles with various appendages. While Cats usually have Cat ears and a tail and Pickles usually have nothing beyond maybe a little tuft of hair, occasionally, depending on the Cat or Pickle, this could change depending on a theme such as mermaid tails for Mercats and Merpickles or even a Cat missing an ear or a Pickle pretending to be a Cat…
While the shapes may not change much, the real eye-catcher is their design. Each Cat/Pickle’s design is actually fully screen-printed which makes it very smooth to touch. The only embroidery used is for their eyes, mouth/nose (if any) and their tiny arms and legs (if any) but since it’s such a small percentage of the actual plush, it still leaves most of it just feeling soft and smooth in your hand. The Pickles especially are great for this as the only embroidery they have are for their eyes so they’re even smoother.
And I already have a big list of ones I am looking forward to. There’s even a checklist people can download right on their website, though it could absolutely use an update.
On the downside, and I know part of this is due to the pandemic, the release schedule is a bit hard to follow. Picking a random part of the checklist, one thing you’ll learn very quickly is it’s not in order. For example, Key West Cat who is #32 was actually a late release of Series 1. Meanwhile, some of the first releases of Series 1 were The Great Catsby (22), Majicat (44), and Angelicat (111). There’s even ones like Bandit (36) and Bubbles (57) who had been announced for the newest late Summer/Early Fall was part of the “Purple Wave” (Series 2) which is slowly arriving in stores. There’s even some on the sheet we hadn’t seen anything of yet and even the opposite where some we’ve seen/heard of have yet to be added to the sheet or may only be on the sheet some people got in the UK.
It can feel somewhat confusing because there’s no real order to it. With so many right off the bat and many people who want to collect them all, one of the questions I’ve seen asked the most is clarification on who’s out and if they are out, how to get them.
Some are exclusive to certain sets such as Pawberry Shortcake to the Sweet Shop Playset or Clownie to the Cornhole Set. And with the Condos that have been teased, it’s something that will continue which I have mixed feelings on.
There have also been Blind Bags which can sometimes have timed exclusives of certain new releases or in the case of the Holiday ones, exclusives in addition to the ones you can get in Bundles… And you’ll notice I said Bundles because unfortunately while you CAN buy Cats vs Pickles on the official shop and some other online store fronts, they’re generally sold in some kind of Pack– either 2 Packs, 4 Packs, and 12 Packs– sometimes even more. While those work well for people who want to collect them all (though, not always, sometimes a Pack may overlap with another one), as someone who is incredibly picky, sometimes it’s a bit disheartening to see one you really want and it’s only bundled with other Cats and/or Pickles.
While some places will let you get them as Singles, it feels a lot rarer and with so many coming out, I wouldn’t even mind paying a bit extra if Cats vs Pickles had a “build your own” bundle. I just want so many already, I can’t justify getting a bunch of others too
especially when I get attached so easily.
Thankfully, and maybe this is in part with having a social media community person who constantly has to deal with all our craziness, it’s nice to see some improvements happening with that upcoming “Purple Wave”– even if the
points numbers don’t matter. They have given us a checklist of all the Cats and Pickles available in the upcoming Purple Wave and confirmed that none of them will be Blindbag Exclusive which is great. People who like blindbags still have fun and those who don’t can still try and find them along with having a list of everything they can find. Of the 72 shown, there’s 13 of the ones I have been definitely wanting and one I’m debating on and unlike the usual checklist, this one actually features a much more accurate color palettes to what we’ve seen (though, not all of them are perfect). This list will also be included with every opened Blind Bag so maybe I might try one… (and hey, if we get our set-up finally done, it could be fun recording it whether a box of those I wanted or some blind bags). Anyway, I have made a “favorites” checklist for myself so here’s hoping we have some luck when these are finally in stores!
Sadly, the Holiday wave which is considered to be relatively limited will have 6 of the 18 available Cats/Pickles exclusive to Blind Bags– the other 12 can be gotten through Blind Bags and for sale in general. While I am very thankful a friend was willing to split a Holiday Bundle with me for the two I want, I do really want one Holiday Blind Bag one too– Mr. Waddles and with a 1/18 chance of getting the only one I’d be looking for, it’s hard to justify trying a Blind Bag and I mainly need to just… hope someone gets an extra and will sell them.
Considering the Holiday Wave was announced before the Purple Wave though (despite some of those Cats and Pickles having been shown long before the Holiday Wave reveal), hopefully maybe the way the Purple Wave is being done will be the future and the Holiday Wave will be the last to have any Blind Bag exclusives.
I would say the only other thing I want to bring up is occasional changes during production. While it’s not too odd for things to change during production, some are pretty surprising and recently even the tags that come with them have had slight changes to their names or personality changes in the description (For example, Miss Bumblekitty previously having “She is full of cat-titude and loves to send a zinger!” to now having “She is as sweet as honey!” or PBJellie who could have that name or spelled as “PB Jelly” instead). On a more noticeable scale, sometimes colors or designs end up changing later. This can especially feel the case when seeing certain Cats or Pickles as Purples/Pinks are considered fairly hard to properly photograph. For example, this is Bandit– on the left is one of Bandit’s first pictures when known as Raccoon Cat and had been seen during the 2020 Toy Fair video. On the right is the newest photo of Bandit which fits a bit closer to the checklist, but while they seem like a huge difference, it’s apparently a lot minor and lighting may have something to do with it meaning I won’t know for sure which Bandit is closer to in person until I get them (and I will. I will get them).
Regardless, you might be thinking, “well, Bandit is purple in the checklist!” and you are correct– In the original checklist, Bandit does look much more purple, but one issue that often happened with the original checklist is the colors are odd at times– the Pinks printed much more purple and most of the ones on that list with that Purple hue are/were actually more pink than purple such as with Finnley and Twinkle Starlight:
Even Bandit’s main body color still goes that Purple-Pink route and Twinkle Starlight follows suit with a lot of the same color beats, but Finnley is an especially prime example where she doesn’t actually have a single bit of purple on her in person. I still adore Bandit either way, but I can’t help but be partial to the pastel and raspberry colored pinks of the first sightings so I will admit I hope it hasn’t changed too much… Not that I’ll love Bandit any less, but still.
That said, it can happen both ways– Mer-Kitty, for example, has a nice hot pink line for where her Mer-tail starts, but in a lot of the store photos, it looks like a really bold red. As you can maybe tell from my picture above, in person, it is hot pink like it shows on the checklist.
Of course, while maybe a Cat or Pickle doesn’t show up quite as you hoped with their colors, some changes can be really good and like most things in early production, changes happen! Bubbles, for example, now has actual bubbles closer to the checklist aappearance over just the foamy color (I personally adore and would buy both though).
I’m hoping whenever we get a new digital checklist (as while I am excited they are taking the steps to make things easier for collectors with including checklists with blind bags, printers don’t always do a great job keeping the right colors), things could be more accurate or even add some kind of order or symbols for like… What a Cat/Pickle may be from or what Series they’re part of.
Regardless, I’m really excited to see what’s to come.
As I don’t have too many straight from Japan and these mainly involve importing, I just wanted to give it its own sections as they share a similar manufacturing regardless of the company. These plushies, usually described as “mochi” plush, have a very soft/light silky feeling and have a fabric that just feels so incredibly light while also being very squishy.
I have Yeast Ken plush which is essentially a line of bread dog merchandise and a very cute Squishy Cat plush from Pocchari Life that I won through Toreba. I love them both so much and I’d definitely like to try and get more from Japan at some point… But in general, Japan has a lot of great soft plushies at least.
As for on the smaller side, there are these adorable Sea Slug plush by San-ei Boeki called Yumemiushi. Like Cats vs Pickles, they also feature little beans, but they do have various different fabrics/textures based off which ones you get. It can be nice if you want to have various different textures to fidget with at least and the main base is still that usual soft fabric (with the exception of some of the more fluffy ones.
Finally, the ones in this section do not tick all of the boxes of the plushies I mentioned above, but I wanted to include for one reason or another.
So firstly, Cutie Beans! Unlike the others in this list, these do not have the same soft fluffy fabric texture as everything else. It’s soft, but relatively generic with various felt appendages and embroidery for the eyes and mouth. The big highlight for them though is that they have one of the best fluffy-beany textures I’ve ever felt. It’s perfectly even and it just feels so great to hold and squish around even if the fabric isn’t as smooth as the other options on here. I only have one, this Axolotl, but I love him:
They are blindbags unfortunately, though they come with their own little carrying case which is nice. Each one is bean-shaped, usually with some appendages. There’s been several different series, including variations, though, it hasn’t felt like I’ve seen any new ones in a while or any since that first time.
I would say the biggest issue I had was that the tags are absolutely huge– being both bigger and longer than the Cutie Bean itself, I actually had to cut the tags off which is something I don’t usually do, but it was just impossible for them to not get in the way.
Our other honorable mention is not really a plush at all and honestly, I’m only really including it because I want them to make a plushie out of these materials even though they likely never will: Secret Lab’s Memory Foam Pillow. I recently got a chair from them and honestly, my favorite part was easily the pillow.
It has a soft velvet texture making it a bit heavier-feeling than the actual plushies on this list, but a really nice soft squishy gel inner and it’s just… genuinely really nice to hug ang squeeze and I would absolutely buy a plushie made with this material.
And that sums this up! If you have any suggestions of other super squishy marshmallow/mochi plushies, feel free to suggest them as I’d love to check them out :)
Now to just… try and check off more things on my wish list…