Heelys; Sole Wears Thin, Novelty Don’t

After three solid years of near daily use, my faithful novelty shoes, bought on a whim, must now be unfortunately retired. And why? What an insult to modern value that shoes eventually wear out.

When I first bought them, I had money to throw around. I was assured by all that, though a great novelty, it would soon wear thin and they’d be buried in my closet next to the pogo-ball and my springy boots. Still, it seemed like a wise investment. $110 for a pair of snappy sneakers, why not?

Ever since I was a kid I hated being stuck walking around all kinds of willy-nilly. I always thought, “Man, if only these damn things had wheels that I could use at the mere thought of it, I’d be set!” Actually, back then I thought I’d be a superhero, but that’s not the point. Little did I realize that someday wild fantasy (which we’ve all had I’d like to point out,) would eventually be realized by the mad scientists at Heelys.

Fantastic novelty, yes. Conversation starter, for sure. Those things do wear thin, what I hadn’t figured on is just how addicted I would become. Maybe not addicted so much as dependent. Now, the idea of walking without them seems so civilian and time consuming. Pedestrian, if you will.

I’ve rolled on the Great Wall of China (perhaps you’ve heard of it?) I’ve freaked people out by my glide-acious scurrysome levitation in stores, at concerts, even rolling back to the aft bathroom on airplanes (that really freaks ’em out,) but now my faithful companions are aging, nearing death.

It took a good two and a half years before the first bit of real wear began to tear. The heel fabric started ripping out as you can barely see in picture. What the hell man, what gives? I mean, yeah, I’d worn them pretty much every day for 30 months and used them to shimmy cool on three continents, but for some unraveling to occur? Well that was just disheartening. My previous record for wearing a shoe without total failure was nine months, but still. Perhaps they’d have aged better if I had untied them once in a while, but I can’t be expected to look cool, get around town in record time AND know how to tie my shoes!

Beginners brake by grinding the front heel. I wore down that heel in the first year. Besides, any seasoned pro knows the best way is to drag your back foot. Not only is way more controlled, it also leads to all kinds of new tricks you can do.

Since the leading heel was long since ground down, I had been working on likewise grinding down the back sole. As you can see at right, photographed conveniently in my son’s bassinet, the left heel is quite gone and the other sole is well on its way. Still, no problem stopping.

Why didn’t that kill them, I wondered? Now that I think about it, these shoes have some real balls trying to outlive my waning youth! (Shoes with balls, don’t try to picture it.)

The next bummer came with the following rainfall. I live in Seattle and people thinks it rains like every day. It doesn’t, it’s just gloomy as hell. At the winter solstice we get less than eight hours of “sun” and I use quotation fingers because the few hours we do get are overcast, so it sucks. With the rain finally back around I found that I had a crack in the sole of my companion, which allowed water to soak my little toes. A crack? Oh come on, if your shoe cracks for sure the thing is dead, right? It’s gotta just come asunder at that point, disintegrating like a well lanced vampire, but no. Not the case.

The end was definitely drawing near, I knew that, but how near? These stellar accessories of fashion and portability have a tall sole, as to accommodate the hidden wheel. Without these shoes would I be reduced from 5’7″ to 5’6″. I would have to come clean to so many I’ve lied to. At my height, I haven’t much room to be giving away an inch, and please, withhold your “giving her an inch” jokes… no seriously.

When the barring finally blew I knew it was over. I had upgraded to speed wheels along the way and really enjoyed the premium performance, but do I put a new pair of wheels into shoes haggard? I mean, come on, these shoes got like a hundred million miles on ’em, man.

I decided instead to replace them. I was scared that as “novelty” shoes the company would be gone, but it turns out they are now available in 50 countries. Not just that, but when I bought mine they only had three styles, now there are dozens. They even have trick competitions. And the best part is that Sketchers, one of the first companies to make their own half-assed knock off, was forced to stop making them because it was clear they were infringing on their patent. Ha! Take that corporate raiders!

So I guess I’m back off the Journeys. They sell them, but so do a lot of people. Of course, there are also ways you can get them for free, but that’s a different matter.

And once again, I’m going for the real deal. There’s a lot of imitators out there, but most of them are ridiculously dangerous and not one of them out there can assure me I’m going to get a quality shoe.

Author: Dexter Sinistri

Dexter Sinistri is a famously centrist writer who has worked as a Hollywood correspondent for a number of leading publications since 2005. Though once a photographer, Mr. Sinistri struck out as a writer on all things celebrity, and he likes to consider himself a tremendous asset to Glossy News, though by most accounts, he has fallen somewhat short of this effort.