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Sports Equipment Technology

How Technology Has Impacted the World of Roller Skating

January 21, 2019


Could it have been just about 100 years ago that roller skates were still being made with wooden wheels? Actually, it was and thanks to technology, skates now have state-of-the-art wheels made from space age materials. Even the plastic used in manufacturing roller skate wheels of a few decades ago are no longer in use today as technology keeps advancing, literally at the speed of light. So, what are some of the ways in which technology has impacted the world of roller skating? Let’s look at just a few of them.

Wheels Manufactured by User Demand

Because polyurethane is now used in the production of roller skate wheels, every skate can have a wheel specific to user demand. Some can be hard or soft with a varying width in diameter. Wheels vary between sports as well. You won’t find the same wheels on speed skates as you would on the skates of a figure skater, and then there are notched wheels suitable for all-terrain skates. Look back to your parents’ time and you will see most of these innovations came about in your own day! In fact, just browse through the history books of the Riedell company and you will see more than 75 years of innovations that set the stage for the roller skates of today.

Changes in Wheel Color

In the beginning, when plastic wheels first hit the market, most skates had those orange wheels we still tend to associate with roller skates. Do you remember the days when roller skates were like metal boots, which fitted over your street shoes, complete with those classic orange wheels? If you don’t, and probably you won’t, your grandparents surely will! Now, you can get custom wheels in a multitude of colors with some of the trendiest being transparent and/or translucent wheels.

No More One-Size-Fits-All

No, we are not referring to those skates mentioned above that could be slid back and forth to adjust to the size of the child or adult. Rather, wheel sizes now come in a wide variety of options. Have you noticed that wheels for aggressive skates are now bigger than ever before? At least, aggressive wheels come with that option. Much depends on the manufacturer, but you will find that when choosing speed or fitness skates, there are options such as the diameter of the solid hub to the hardness or softness of the wheel.

Where Will Technology Take Us in the Future?

Then there is the fact that technology has also influenced trends. Companies like Riedell offer a number of designer boot fashions so that choosing the right skate for your personal style is more than just your choice of wheel. Looking forward, if skates continue to use technology at the rate at which it is now advancing, some skaters believe computerized skates may be in their future.

Can you imagine a skate with Artificial Intelligence or AI? Perhaps, like self-driving cars, we will see skates in the future that will help us avoid bumps or obstacles in the road. It may seem like a stretch of the imagination, but so too were self-driving cars just a couple decades ago. You never know what the future of skating might hold.