Shoes with Wheels

This archived article is from January 2006. Although every effort has been made to make sure the information presented is accurate, please note that it may contain information that is out-of-date.

A new fad has kids zooming through public buildings and along sidewalks, and hot-dogging in the school yard.

Heelys are running shoes that have a detachable wheel in each heel. They convert into a skate when you shift your weight onto the heels. Remove the wheels and they turn into stylish shoes. Then pop the wheels back into the heels when you’re ready to take off again.

The Canada Safety Council is concerned about the growing popularity of these trendy roller shoes. If not used properly, they can pose a danger not only to the users but also to bystanders.

Children using Heelys should wear the same protective equipment worn for skateboarding or in-line skating, including helmets, elbow pads and knee pads. They should also avoid “heeling” on roads, sidewalks and wet surfaces. Control and balance are very important; it takes about a month to master the shoes with daily practice.

CSC has recommended a ban on “heeling” in public buildings and malls, as well as school hallways and playgrounds. The Canadian Recreational Facilities Council (whose members operate 2,500 community arenas across Canada) has sent an alert to its membership supporting CSC’s position. Individual schools and boards are starting to prohibit Heelys on school property.

In July 2003, the Korea Consumer Protection Board issued a consumer alert about injuries from falls related to Heelys. The alert mentioned fractured arms and legs as well as possible head injuries, and noted that no safety standards apply to the product.