The Early Days of Inline Skates
Inline skates have come a long way since their inception in the 18th century. The first inline skates were used by Dutch skaters in the 1700s as a way to train off-season for ice skating. These early skates were made of wood with metal wheels and didn’t catch on outside of the Netherlands. It wasn’t until the 1980s that inline skates started to become popular in the United States.
The Creation of Rollerblade, Inc.
In 1979, two brothers from Minnesota, Scott and Brennan Olson, created the first modern version of inline skates. They founded Rollerblade, Inc. in 1980 and began selling their inline skates in the United States. They marketed their skates as a new way to enjoy the outdoors, and the popularity of inline skating quickly took off.
Inline Skating in Pop Culture
Inline skating gained even more popularity in the 1990s when it became a part of popular culture. The X-Games added inline skating to its lineup in 1995, and movies such as Airborne and Brink! showcased the excitement and athleticism of inline skating. The fitness benefits of inline skating were also recognized, and it became a popular way to exercise.
Inline skating technology has continued to evolve over the years. The introduction of the softboot in the 1990s made inline skates more comfortable, and the addition of shock-absorbing systems and larger wheels has made them easier to maneuver. In 2002, Salomon released the first “frameless” inline skates, which eliminated the frame and made them even more lightweight and agile.
Continued Popularity Today
Despite some ups and downs in popularity, inline skates remain a popular activity today. They are used for fitness, recreation, and even as a mode of transportation in some cities. The inline skating industry is still evolving, with advancements in materials and technology continuing to make skates more comfortable and functional than ever before.