It may surprise you, but rollerblading doesn’t necessarily mean inline skating. Rollerblade is actually a brand that became a household name since the 1980s.
Focusing on inline skating alone, it’s safe to say that it was invented centuries ago. Records showed that a Dutchman first created inline skates by nailing wood strips and spools to shoes.
Regarding the humble beginnings of modern inline skates, let’s find out — when were rollerblades invented?
Improvements to traditional inline skates started in 1980. A few years later, the first inline skates with modern features established the early success of the brand Rollerblade.
Over time, Rollerblade invented the first-ever inline skates made of polyurethane with heel brakes. Of course, the standard design became so much better through the years. Today, the company holds at least 200 patents. No wonder it sells the best inline skates.
Thanks to the creativity of Scott and Brennan Olson from Minnesota, inline skates became more functional for athletes. The siblings simply discovered an old pair of inline skates in a store and decided to improve it. In fact, they added the changes in their own parents’ basement.
Amazingly, skiers and hockey players saw the significance of the brothers’ innovations. Many of them enjoyed the new features since they could skate for hours even without ice.
Unfortunately, users eventually noticed flaws. The rollerblades weren’t easily adjustable. Their bearings also retained moisture and grime. The rest of the complaints had something to do with durability issues, especially on the wheels and brakes.
The New Era of Rollerblade
Because of the constant issues, certain people who could really afford innovations bought Rollerblade, Inc. Its first commercial success happened after the release of Lightning TRS.
Lightning TRS used fiberglass frames and tougher wheels. Its brake was safer to use as well. In addition, the adjustment features were more convenient.
In 1989, Rollerblade released skates with strong buckles for the first time. They were more convenient than laces.
Meanwhile, in 1990, Rollerblade skipped the polyurethane design for lighter inline skates. It introduced thermoplastic resin rollerblades reinforced with glass.
More importantly, the 1993 models were much safer. They used Active Brake Technology (ABT) to give users a chance to stop movement in a safer way. Instead of using the heel brake, skaters could just straighten one of their legs to avoid the risky foot tilting.
When were rollerblades invented? Even though the first inline skates were technically invented in the 1700s, the rollerblades that inspired modern design were created in 1980. Besides, the existence of rollerblades was rooted in the foundation of the brand Rollerblade. That world-famous company is the reason why generations have enjoyed rollerblading without consequences.