Kids and adults alike may have an answer to their transportation woes.
Roller shoes, a new preteen trend in footwear, let you walk around normally one moment and skate at high speed the next. While on the outside they appear to be everyday shoes, there are built-in roller skates underneath.
All you have to do is press a button on the inner sole to release the roller mechanism, click the wheels into place, and you're ready to go.
They're in every color from electric blue to pastel pink and would look like any normal pair of shoes if not for the big heel. In a fad that originally came out of Japan, roller shoes were initially introduced to the United States through the brand name Street Flyer. Since then, several other brands have hit the market with prices ranging everywhere from $15 to $80.
"It's a way of making recreation a little bit easier," said Matthew Caldwell of K B Toys. He said the shoes started selling well in January.
"Since then, I've seen kids skating up and down the halls of the mall almost daily," he said.
Thomas Guzman, a department manager at Target in Boulder, Colo., said the store has sold more than 400 pairs since Christmas. He said sales of the shoes have gone down lately but are still fairly high.
"For a while, we couldn't keep them in stock," Guzman said. He said the new roller-shoe fad is most popular for children ages 6 to 15.
Most of the roller shoes found in stores are for children. However, adult sizes can be found through Web sites such as www.streetflyer.com or www.pygmyjoe.com.
If you're looking for a pair of roller shoes, you probably want to look for a pair that has replacement wheels available. While they may be a bit more expensive, they'll last longer.
If safety is a concern, you might want to look for roller shoes with a brake, as they may be dangerous going downhill.
Also, because roller shoes do not have ankle support, like that provided with inline skates, you might want to consider wearing an ankle brace when skating.