Did you ever spend time roller skating in your youth? If you did, there was probably a bit of a learning curve in the beginning.
The act of continuously pushing yourself forward while also remaining upright takes some practice, much like riding a bike. What if, instead of dealing with the scuffed up knees and bruised ego, you’d been able to strap on a pair of boots that did the work for you? Now you can.
Roller skates are essentially boots with wheels; it may not shock you to learn that they were first invented more than 280 years ago—before the United States was even an independent nation. However, roller skating didn’t truly pick up steam and popularity until the 1900s.
In the ‘70s and ‘80s, skating rinks were the place to be for America’s nearly-teenaged population, but they haven’t maintained that same level of popularity today. Even so, everyone loves the idea of enjoying all of the fun of roller skating or blading with none of the work.
Someone first attempted to solve this problem in 1956 when electric roller skates were created. Though they could propel users up to speeds of 17 miles per hour, they didn’t have an efficient way to slow them back down, making the ordeal pretty nerve wracking.
It wasn’t until 2008 that a company came up with an updated version of this technology, albeit with a modern twist. Razor, the same company that manufactures some of the world’s most beloved non-motorized scooters, came out with a product called Turbo Jetts.
Rather than having a connected shoe, Turbo Jetts are a heel-shaped device with wheels that can be strapped on to any shoes. Users just step into the Turbo Jetts, tighten the straps, and then apply pressure to signal to the device that it can begin rolling.
Simple as they look, Turbo Jetts can reach speeds of ten miles per hour. For most people, that would feel like a dead sprint, or at least pretty close to it. The batteries only last for about half an hour, and the max weight is around 175 pounds, but these are a fun and easy way to ride short distances.
An Extra Boost
If you’re interested in more high powered footwear, a newly developed version of inline skates called thunderblades might be right up your alley. These skates essentially use the same technology as boosted skateboards to help them reach their top speed of 25 miles per hour.
What’s more, these boots are supposed to have a range of 20 miles on a single charge, and the company also claims they can boost riders up at 20% grade. Once flipped on, the boots can move both forward and in reverse.
Of course, this is all information released directly from the thunderblades company about prototypes. It seems likely that they’ll come to market, though, given the overwhelming support they received in raising initial capital.
If you ever dreamed of skating around effortlessly as a kid (or as an adult), your dreams are getting a little closer to reality, and you might just get to see them come true in the next few years.