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All about heelys

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A pair of used Heelys

Heelys is a brand of roller shoe (marketed by Heelys, Inc.) that have one or more wheels embedded in each sole, similar to inline skates. Thus, the wearer can walk, run, or, by shifting their weight to their heels, roll. Braking can be achieved by lowering the back of the foot so that sole contacts the ground. Generally, "Heeling" is a form of skating, and as such may not be allowed in some places, including schools, some amusement parks, retail and zoos. In February 2007, Yeovil Town Council were the first English council to ban their use.

Roger Adams patented Heelys in late 2000.


The journal of the American Academy of Paediatrics published a study of injuries resulting from the use of Heelys (and Street Gliders, a similar product that is strapped onto regular shoes). The study counted only significant injuries that required assessment by an orthopaedic surgeon, ignoring minor injuries that were treated solely in the emergency department. The 10-week study (conducted during summer school holiday), found:

  • An injury rate of approximately 51 injuries per 100,000 children (for injuries requiring orthopaedic attention; the rate for less-serious injuries is unknown, but presumably much higher). For comparison, in 1997 the United States, nonfatal dog bites required 151 emergency department visits per 100,000 population (including adults).
  • Injuries ranged from dislocations to displaced arm fractures (including one patient with this injury in both arms).
  • 38% of the injuries requiring hospital admission and general anaesthesia to manipulate fractured bones.
  • 34% of the injuries were suffered by children using Heelys (or Street Gliders) for the very first time. 70% had used the products five or fewer times.
  • The injuries comprised 8% of the workload for the paediatric orthopaedic department.
  • 12% of the injured children were familiar with the instructions for use of the products.


Although the manufacturer says, "While protective gear is not required, we highly recommend its use when the wheels are in the shoes," most users do not wear such gear, largely because these shoes are worn for everyday use (unlike more specialized sporting equipment such as inline skates).


Advanced Heelys users can perform tricks such as spins, backwards skating and skating on one foot.

There are four categories of tricks used in heeling: ground tricks, grinding tricks, stalling tricks and vert tricks.

  • Ground tricks – the main category of tricks used in heeling.
  • Grinds – these tricks can only be performed if the model has a nylon pad in the shoe, it involves jumping on a surface, landing on the nylon pad and sliding across the surface.
  • Stalls – generally involves jumping onto a raised object and pausing before jumping off and heeling once more.
  • Vert – any type of tricks performed on a vert ramp.

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