10. 04. 2005
Heelys hidden-wheel skate shoe
A few days ago I saw a little girl skate across the floor of a department store. I saw her head glide by but what she was actually skating on was obscured by racks of clothing. She noticed that I was watching her and when she got to the end of the aisle and I could see her feet, she was walking normally on what appeared to be regular sneakers. I thought I was crazy but a few minutes later I saw her do it again. This time, when she popped out of the aisle, I had caught up with her and saw her gliding and then coming to a sudden complete stop before walking again. I was an obsessive roller skater as a kid, even had those stupid, insanely dangerous Pop Wheels sandal rollerskates, so I was really curious and had to ask her what kind of skates she had. She denied that she was wearing skates. Repeatedly. I was pretty much arguing with this little girl ("don't lie, I saw you!") when I finally realized that she was afraid of me, thinking I was going to yell at her for skating in the store like a mean school principal and not a cool big-sister type she could play skate-tag with down the slippery floors. After practically making her cry, she let me in on her secret: Heelys shoes, with a hidden wheel in the sole.
After doing a bit of research, I found out that Heelys aren't new and have been popular in Asia for some time, but have been slower to take off in the US. They look like normal walking/running shoes, and are, until you lean back on your heels, and the wheels pop out. The skaters are called "heelers" for obvious reasons. So far, most of the early adopters of these shoes have been serious inline skating enthusiasts, but I don't see why Heelys couldn't be a great mode of transport for adult commuters. I don't see many people on foot-powered scooters these days, but Heelys would be great for people who enjoy the leisurely exercise that a Razor provides. And when you get to your destination, you don't have to put on your shoes.