Transportation appears to have entered a time warp this summer. Everywhere we turn, groups are rattling around the city on boneshakers like Victorian dandies at the turn of the century or traveling the country by RV like a 1950s-style family. And now we’ve got another set of wheels to add to this nostalgic list — eight of them, to be exact. Yes, we’re talking about roller skates. These wheeled booties (commonly associated with grainy images of 1970s SoCal) were recently catapulted back into the public consciousness by the hottest of all the social networks: TikTok.
But, don’t call it a comeback. Seriously. Prior to the subculture’s moment in the social-media sun, a diverse and inclusive roller skating culture flourished on rinks and in skate parks for decades (exemplified by present-day skaters like Courtney Shove). Refinery29 even profiled the all-female Moxi Skate Team back in 2016 — which eventually gave rise to Moxi Roller Skates, a brand beloved for USA-made leather skates in endorphin-boosting colorways. However, lockdown life has given the industry a massive boost; Michelle Steilen, Moxi’s founder and CEO, told us that “the market size grew tenfold since the start of the pandemic.”
Hobbies are going viral with lightning speed these days, so it should come as no surprise that, at press time, roller skates are pretty hard to find. But we did some digging and can assert that there are still skates to be had — and we have eight available pairs to prove it lined up ahead. If you don’t see your size, place some pre-orders or sign up for restock alerts and get ready to retro-glide your way through summer.
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