We all tried rollerblades as kids. Some were successful – some not so much, like me! But I always wondered, who invented rollerblades? Who and how came up with the idea for rollerblades?
So as I began my research on who invented rollerblades, I finally got it.
So, Who Invented Rollerblades?
The credit for inventing rollerblades goes to:
Scott and Brennan Olsen
In a sporting goods store in 1980, Scott and Brennan Olsen discovered an older inline skate and thought it would be ideal for off-season hockey training. These two Minnesota brothers modified the skate and, within a few years, were producing Rollerblade inline skates in their parents’ basement. Hockey players and alpine and Nordic skiers were among the first to embrace the idea, skating down Minnesota’s streets on their Rollerblades during the summer.
A curious public soon began to follow. Rollerblade went from a basement business to an international industry whose sales topped $1 billion in 1995. It now claims the most significant share of the market for inline skates. The Olsens are billionaires who plan new markets on four continents. Scott Olsen is the company’s chief executive, while Brennan Olsen oversees its international expansion.
Amazing how things work! Would you ever guess who invented rollerblades? It was two brothers who had a vision of what rollerblading could become one day – who would’ve thought!!
Rollerblades have sprung up everywhere around the world. Some people use them for recreation, while others use them for races or competitions. Many people who never learned how to rollerblade use it for entertainment. There are still some who get the odd accident. Who knows who invented them? It could’ve been you or me!
Now that we know who invented rollerblades, I think it’s time to take them outside and rock the streets again.
Types of Rollerblades
Inline rollerblades can be divided into four main types, Recreational Inline Skates, Freeskating Inline Skates, Aggressive Inline Skates, and Speed Inline Skates.
Rollerblades can be categorized by wheel size, wheel hardness, frame material, and brake type.
They can also be categorized by wheel width. The standard wheel widths are between 50mm – 60mm, 70mm – 80mm, and 90mm – 100mm for recreational skates. Freeskaters who use larger wheels typically use wheels between 60mm – 70mm to 110 mm+. Aggressive rollerblades are usually 100-110 millimeters or broader. They use specially made great wheelsets that are hard enough to break street surfaces but soft enough to absorb the roughness of cracks in concrete alleyways.
Rollerblade options may also include rocking, which allows you to rock your feet from side to side while skating, enhancing maneuverability at the skate, frame, and boot level.
Recreational inline rollerblades
Recreational inline skates are the most basic type of Rollerblade. They usually have a plastic chassis with a simple mounting system for the boots and wheels. The shoes themselves provide minimal ankle support and an almost flat profile, making them unsuitable for aggressive skating styles. These skates are best suited to casual use on smooth surfaces such as roads or paths around a town or village, not suitable for skate parks or off-road use due to lack of grip from the wheels on most sealed surface types.
Freestyle rollerblades are similar to recreational skates but slightly more supportive boot. The main difference is that the chassis is usually one piece with 4 or 5 mounting points, which allows them to be used for freestyle tricks. Freestyle blading has taken off in recent years thanks to increased Street Skating and Park skating. They are also available as “stunt” skates that include pegs instead of wheels for indoor skate parks.
Aggressive inline rollerblades
Aggressive Inline Rollerblades are designed primarily for use in skate parks and other places where there may be obstacles such as stairs, rails, etc. They typically have considerably higher-end components than free skate or recreational blading, which results in an excellent chassis and boot combination. Aggressive Inline skates generally are used for jumps, tricks, grinds, and slides on obstacles or handrails.
Speed inline rollerblades
Speed Inline Rollerblades have been designed from the ground up. They specifically provide a low friction surface for high-speed skating on flat surfaces such as hardwood floors in gyms, ramps, etc. The boots themselves have a shallow profile compared to other types of skating and typically have a mounting plate for the chassis, which allows them to be locked in place. There is no chance of the wheels slipping while skating at high speed. Speed blading had also taken off since its days when Dan Gable popularized it. Rollerblade in the early 1990’s sponsored him. Most high-level bladers never use anything other than speed skates for training and official competitions.
Besides these 4 basic rollerblade types, there are also a few specialized types of rollerblading. These include aggressive rollerblades designed for use in skateboarding parks, Freestyle blading for use on the street skating obstacles, and Dancing Rollerblades which are available in various sizes to accommodate different foot types. Judging by who invented rollerblades, who knows who will come up with the following idea to bring the sport to its heyday.
There you have it. Now you know who invented rollerblades and what kind to pick for yourself!
Suppose you are interested to find out who invented other popular sports and sports equipment, head to our Who Invented article hub and take a pick! There is always something new to learn.