The Nineties was a time of possibilities. New trends were setting in and people were experimenting to bring novelty into the ideas. In short, it was the best time to do business. People started bending the rules on long-held beliefs as the internet began creeping slowly into public life at large. Things were changing and that too at speedy pace. On the verge of the year 1999, a guy by the name of, Roger Adams pushed the boundaries further than they’d ever been pushed before when he submitted the patent for a revolutionary product by the name of Heelys. This brand was poised to inflict a huge impact on current and future generations especially those individuals in the United States and Canada.
Adams designed the shoes during his self-titled mid-life crisis. One afternoon while staring off into space, Adams dreamt of floating down hallways with just a little change in balance. He decided to put a pair of wheels in his old Nike shoes. With such a humble beginning, he gave birth to the Heelys brand. Slowly he began to create different designs to make his dream a reality. In the end, he created history with a historic brand he developed – Heelys. Adam’s design was simple. All he did was that he merely placed a removable wheel into the heel of a casual skateboarding shoe, transforming this padded foot protection into one the world’s smallest form of transportation that is highly convenient for students and other persons who just want to swing by some places by Heeling their way.
Heelys entered the market the following year that Adams came up with the idea and took the new millennium by storm. Heelys took off almost immediately, selling out within hours at the first shops that sold them and even online too. Adams sold his design at trade shows around the country, and soon stores everywhere began picking up this new hot product to make a profit from each pair that they sold. Within the first year, Heelys sold over one million pairs of shoes and the sales were increasing rapidly as time went by. At the time when Heelys just arrived on the market they were priced at around $50 to $100 USD and trust me even if the price was more, they would still be sold, millions of them too. This is how powerful these shoes were on the market. The popularity of Heelys also began to heighten when celebrities started wearing them. Rapper and singer Usher wore them sometimes during his stage performances and famous basketball player, Shaquille O’Neal order over six pair Heelys for his personal collection.
Since that first year, sales of Heelys have continued to grow and cement their place in the elementary and middle school hallways around the nation. As the company grew in popularity, they have branched out into different designs and styles, furthering their market share and captivating many individuals with the classy designs and colors that they came in. A huge factor that caught many person attention was the removable wheel in the heel of the shoes. That allowed individuals to heel and skate their way along any path while wearing the shoes or walk as if they are wearing a normal shoe, by just removing the wheel from the heel. Roger believed in his dreams about the Heely shoe, so he went for the gamble. On his way to becoming a top brand owner he faced many obstacles such as the bad publicity with many schools prohibiting Heelys to be used. Nevertheless, with those things happening, Heelys managed to sell over 1.25 million pairs of shoes in just a year and were highly popular in areas such as China, South Korea, and the United States.
For as long as Heelys have been on the market there have been concerns from parents about their safety. The dangers of having young children riding around without protection on these little efficient shoes, have been largely exaggerated, however, study in 2007, conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, investigated these concerns and found that there needs to be no undue cause for alarm. While the riding style of the shoes did increase the chance of injury, these injuries were largely caused by novice users, with 70% of all Heely related injuries happening within the first five times using the shoes. One death has been attributed to Heelys when a kid rode into the street and got hit by a car. Some doctors raised concerns over their safety, but considering over 20 million pairs of Heelys that have been sold in the last 15 years; this number is still relatively small.
The central placement of wheels in Heelys gives them the shape like that of a pair of inline skates. These could easily get out of control once you lose your balance which could lead to accidents and injuries. Bruises can occur if you are not wearing protective gears as well. Newbies should learn to keep balance straight on two-wheeled Heelys as it helps in maintaining their posture. Studies have shown that it takes you very little time before you learn to keep your balance right. Minor bruises and drops have been reported by users who did not have a substantial amount of experience. However, Heelys have been reported to result in lesser number of injuries compared to those caused by skates, bicycles, and other outdoor activities.
The authorities representing the company claim that the packaging of the Heely shoes include safety tips and recommendations to use protective gears. You should avoid gaining high speeds while rolling around on your pair of Heelys. Rolling at a speed not more than your walking speed is the best way to start your practice with them. Too high speeds can facilitate the risk of falling. Heelers have been found to fall backward on their hands, twisting or bruising their wrists. Wearing a helmet, elbow wear, wrist protectors and knee pads is highly suggested. This will ensure the safety of your kid even if he comes across an undesired situation.
The experts suggest that maintaining a good balance is the key to becoming a good Heeler. Rolling with both feet side by side would increase the risk of falling. You should always keep your strong foot ahead when on the wheels. In case you are not rolling, the wheels should be removed before walking. If you don’t feel like removing them, then you should walk with your toes touching the ground.
Ensure that you and your child avoid heeling in crowded areas like malls or bazaars. In such places, there is an extreme likelihood of you losing control. In such a situation, you would not only hurt yourself but someone else as well in the process. Moreover, you should avoid heeling on hard surfaces. Neither should you heel around on the hard floor inside your house or skate around in a skating arena on your Heelys because falling on a hard surface could end up in serious damage to body. Despite the fact that the number of incidents associated with Heelys are very small, you should still take full responsibility for ensuring maximum safety before rolling on Heelys.
Ask a kid, who owns a pair of Heelys, why he likes them so much? They might look at you like you have two heads. Isn’t it obvious? Heelys let kids have freedom and mobility that they would otherwise enjoy by paddling or riding bikes on the streets. A large amount of kids who own Heelys are too young to skateboard, therefore Heelys help them to feel like they are skating, and it is way much safer, compared to actual skateboarding. Heelys are popular not only with kids but within the skateboarding community as well. These shoes are popular, not only for their amusing aspects which one can enjoy in the backyard of their house, but a number of adults use them to commute to their schools and colleges too.
The real fun of Heelys lies in their dual nature. The fact that these shoes can turn from a regular walking shoes to skateboarding shoes is pretty awesome. It is a good show off when you walk among your friends with one of those pairs on and each of your friends start wishing they that they had one. The fun and convenience which they provide us with are really amazing.
The popularity of Heelys as a casual on-road rolling shoes is not unknown to anyone. These shoes have turned into a proper sport. During the time of Heelys a lot of competitions were organized across Northern America, Europe and the Far East where enthusiasts from all age groups gathered and showcased their talents and skills with the Heely shoes. There will be nothing wrong if Heely came out one day and claimed that it has played a huge part in bringing the society closer.
A remarkable development over the years in the Heely industry is that it has been manufacturing roller shoes for all age groups. It gives an opportunity to kids and adults alike to show off their moves with wheels at their feet. Despite all the concerns from some parents and discouraging reviews from some critics, Heely has seen increasing demand over the course of more than a decade. Major reasons for such a growing demand have been the intriguing colors, improvements in design and finish, and high-quality material used in their production.
Recent advances have seen the inclusion of Maxtrax Technology in the manufacturing of Heelys for adults. The technology was previously used by sportswear companies like Nike Air Max and others. It helps your feet remain in their natural posture and lock them in one place, inducing minimum strain on them. This is a huge leap forward in the world of Heelys, where there are excitement and fun for kids and adults alike.
The introduction of Heelys as a mainstream brand has revolutionized the world of skate sports and sneakers too. Now you can roam around your town on a pair of small wheels fixed under your feet. It is definitely a fun way to commute and stay fit. You don’t need to carry an extra skateboard or skate shoes for riding your way across the streets. You can do it with a pair Heelys, all the while looking classy and trendy as Heelys gets rid of all the extra pairs of shoes you had in your wardrobe. This single pair is a multi-functioning one. Roll out and enjoy your life with a pair of your own stylish Heelys or simply remove the wheels from the bottom to turn them into a pair of casual street shoes. That’s the fun and powerful nature of these rolling shoes!
The act of riding the wheel on a pair of Heelys is known as “Heeling”. It is actually quite simple to do. Firstly, you put on the shoe like any other sneaker, properly tying the laces so the shoe is tight without constricting. It is recommended that you only heel on a smooth, flat surface. Start with your feet about a shoulder width apart, and then take a step forward with one foot while pushing backward with the other. Lift up the toes of the forward foot, leaving only the wheel touching the ground. Now as you push with the back foot, point those toes in the same direction as the other foot, so that both feet are now pointing in the air, and only the wheels on either shoe are touching the ground. Now you’re rolling! Stopping is simple too, all you need to do is lift your toes up a bit more so that your heels touch the ground, and you should now be coming to an easy stop. Now you know how to Heel, ‘it’s better late than never!’
There are a number of things which you need to consider while kicking off with your Heelys, especially on the road. The most important one is that you should be wearing full body protective gears. The surface you choose to Heel on should be smooth too. A bumpy road or the one with stones on it would elevate the risk of accidents. A road too steep would also cause you to gain fast speeds which could lead to a disaster. When you have check that you are following all the above guidelines, then you’re ready to jump in your pair of Heelys hit the road and start heeling.
As a beginner, you should seek a friend’s help to hold on to him/her as you try to balance yourself. You can also grab hold of a rail to support you while you practice maintaining posture. Placing one foot ahead of the other and trying to find your balance point on the wheels is an appropriate way of finding your footing. In case you lose balance, return your weight to your toes. This will allow you to stop immediately and prevent you from falling to the ground. You can also use your heels to stop as well. Lift your toes high in the air while making contact with the ground with your heels. The newer designs of Heelys come with a metal strip at the rear end of the shoe that does not let it wear out too fast.
Once you gain balance, there are multiple ways to increase your speed when you are using Heelys. One popular technique is to Step, Plant, and Kick. In this process, you first put your weak step forward and then place your strong, tilted foot ahead. Lastly, push yourself with your weak foot from the back. This will help you to gain momentum and you will start rolling forward. At any point if you lose your balance, move to your toes to regain it.
Another thing worth keeping in mind is that you should keep both your legs about a shoulder apart during the learning stages of heeling. You should never heel faster than your running speed. If you encounter a situation where you are heeling faster than your running speed, you will be more likely to fall because of a sudden change in momentum.
The basis of the design of each Heely shoes is a simple, single wheel at the bottom of the shoe. The wheel can be taken out so that the shoe may be used as a standard footwear. As the Heely grew in popularity, the company started introducing a variety of products as well. Adopting to consumer demand, as the single wheel shoe required the wearer to have a fairly good balance, Heelys introduced the double wheel model. While this makes the turning radius of the shoe smaller, it makes up for the extra balancing ability added, which makes the shoes suitable for nearly every individual.
As Heelys became a common commodity in more people’s lives, the company began to add extra features to certain shoes, especially for more experienced users. The main features that were added included grind plates, a small piece of plastic on the side of the shoe that allows the wearer to grind along curbs, rails, and anything in between.
The second biggest update Heelys introduced was a series of different wheel styles. All Heelys began with the same type of wheel, but soon transitioned to a slightly wider model that became the new standard, these are now known as “fats”, but those models quickly got replaced by different and newer styles including the “deuce” and “the rebel”. “Deuce” wheels have two wheels on one tire slot, allowing for easier rolling. The most sought after style of wheels are known as “free-spins”, because they combine the best features of balance, speed, and braking, as well as having the longest life-span. They also have two wheels, but each is on a different axle so they are able to spin independently.
One commendable model from the footwear range, worth mentioning, is “Evolution”. It is shaped like one of the traditional sportswear. The most talked about features of this model are its strong soul and the classy front look; this is also a model you could wear to your training grounds or your gym. The “Heely Bliss”, a regular lace up with handmade sole and inner material, comes with a combination of style and strength and this is one of those which your kid would love to have in her shoe collection.
The ball bearings used in these models are of ABEC 5 standard which makes them moderately efficient with an intermediate speed limit. A higher number ABEC ball bearings would impart the shoes with too much speed that might end up causing problems for the users so Heelys decided not to use a higher number.
Over the years it has been see that a lot of users gravitated to specific models of Heelys for various occasions and to top up there shoe collection too. Models like the X2, Propel and Launch were highly popular in their time, mainly because of their unique and classy designs. The X2 came with many different styles and has a tough look, which boasts its durability. The X2 is just as light as the Propel model but comes with double wheels, moreover the unique Propel model is mainly worn by adults. The Launch model of Heelys are more of a modern and flat type of shoes that can be easily converted into your everyday casual wear shoes.
A remarkable aspect of the brand is that the wheels and axles are replaceable. Separate wheels are sold in the market and can be replaced with the old, tattered ones. This makes your pair of Heely last longer than any other shoe in your wardrobe. Heelys are a dual purpose shoes. These can be used as simple shoes when you are not rolling around on them. You are, however, recommended to put heel plugs in the base of the shoes when wheels are not in. This will prevent debris from entering the cavity where wheels are fixed. While it is better to keep your pair safe from dirt, you can wear them without heel plugs as well. The material used in the manufacturing of these shoes makes them washable. So you can clean them once they get dusty or dirty.