Former aggressive skater Rainer Mairoes is no longer grinding rails. He's onto something new: promoting his invention, the Skate Shoe.
The Skate Shoe is basically a gym shoe with inline wheels mounted to the heel. Half Heelys and half quads, it can be used to walk, glide and skate — all without changing wheels.
"It takes the Heelys concept a step further," says Lee Cole of Skates.com.
"Heelys are primarily for kids," Cole says. "But when you put a solid aluminum axle through the heel, it's an entirely different story. You can skate like a banshee."
The inline wheels make it less of a toy and more of a real training tool, Cole says. In a video, Mairoes, a former member of the Razors-Europe aggressive skate team, demonstrates his invention by performing assorted acrobatic stunts and skating up and down some of the famous hills of San Francisco.
Mairoes, 27, makes it look easy. But it does involve a learning curve.
"It's challenging, just like the way inline skating is challenging," Cole says.
The tricky part is learning to balance on your heels. But stopping is easy. As with Heelys, all you do is touch your toes to the ground, although at high speed you have to take a few running steps to slow down, just as you do when stopping on grass in inline skates.
The Skate Shoe ($110) comes with 62mm wheels but can handle wheels as large as 100mm.
Skaters of all persuasions are showing interest in the Skate Shoe, Cole said.
"It seems to cut across boundaries. We're selling it not only on the skateboard side but on the inline side. ... That's encouraging."