In part one of this blog we saw that it was really a mistake that Rollerblade Incorporated started to manufacture inline skates for pleasure purposes. The skates were first developed by the Olson Brother as a piece of training equipment for professional Ice Skaters and Hockey players.
In this blog we look how Rollerblade Incorporated took the world by storm and started a whole new craze of inline skating. A craze that spread around the world like wildfire, it has featured in movies and there have been songs written about it, such is the pastime’s popularity.
The Success of Rollerblade Incorporated
The Olsen Brothers had created a training aid for Ice Skaters and professional Hockey players to use close season or when the weather was too inclement. But soon they realized the potential of the product they had invented.
The inline skate could be used by virtually anybody as a leisure activity. Old and young, male or female, rich or poor, everybody could buy a pair of inline skates and could have fun on them virtually anywhere. The design of the skates was changed to make the addition of a brake and the product was ready to meet an expectant market.
By the late 1980’s the company had grown so large that is was truly a global organization, and people around the world used the brand name Rollerblade as synonymous with inline skating. Of course many other inline skating manufacturers were developing skates of their own, but Rollerblade Incorporated used clever marketing techniques to stay ahead of the pack.
As the company grew they invested heavily into new designs and produced lighter, cheaper, faster and safer skates that the skating fraternity lapped up. Rollerblades were cool to wear, if you were seen in anything else then you were not a true Rollerblader!
Rollerblade Versus Other Brands
Today there are many global inline skate manufacturers, it is true that Rollerblade continues to be dominant in the market but other major players are vying for a place at the inline skating market as it is very big business.
It is widely accepted that there is no Rolls Royce or preferential brand of inline skates, some popular brands have come to the fore that are designed specifically for jumps and spins in inline figure skating. Sometimes these skated are called dry land skates as they offer a similar experience to that of figure skating on ice.
Several manufacturers have developed state-of-the-art inline figure skating boots and associated equipment. Some of these companies also produce popular traditional roller skates too, and there are actually one or two companies that have evolved out of the ice skating industry.
These specialist manufacturers that compete against Rollerblade for a portion of the market are: Snow White, PIC, Custom Inlines, Snyder, and Off-Ice. These brands produce skates for leisure, competition and cross-training purposes and are all popular today.
But like any other competitive market others have fallen by the wayside and could not fight off the immense pressure to stay in business. Inline skating is as popular as ever, and Rollerblade Incorporated are still a force to be reckoned with, but there are great alternatives out there.