I'm not saying that there aren't any manufacturers out there that have strapped batteries and motors to this timeless mobility alternative, but mass production seems to be out of the question for most. However, RollWalk is looking to change all that.
Now, RollWalk was born back in 2017, but today, they now offer two variations of e-Shoes/e-Skates because they're not really a shoe and not really skates. Suppose you remember those old-school skates, the ones that strapped to your existing shoe. In that case, you have a solid idea of what RollWalk is aiming for, albeit electrified.
The design behind these babies is rather simple: step onto the platform, secure the straps around your existing shoe, and off you go. And here's where things get wild. Personally, I was able to find several uses for these babies in an urban setting, and we'll get to those soon, but there's also a downside or two, as well.
To kick us off, let me point out that each home is a self-contained unit with everything it needs to help you fly around at speeds upwards of 20 mph (32 kph), way more than I would have anticipated. This includes batteries, the motor, and all the chips necessary for a smooth experience. This makes up for each skate weighing 4 lbs (1.8 kg), so it's not too difficult to carry around in hand or strapped to your backpack.
To better understand what we're up against here, let's pretend we dropped the near-$400 on a pair of these. Once you get them, follow the charging instructions, wait for up to two hours for that to happen, and strap these babies to your feet. Grab the remote, and let's go!
At the press of a button found on the hand-held remote, you'll activate two 300 W motors that peak at 400 W, able to pull along 220 lbs (100 kg) of cargo; that means you, your lunch, and a backpack. And here's where the eRW3 surprises but also scares me.
For example, when's the last time you biffed it on a pair of skates or skateboard, going, let's say, ten mph? Do you remember the bruises and scrapes you got? Now double that, maybe even triple, as skip doesn't hold up well against asphalt. In short, you'd better wear the appropriate safety gear and never skip out on a helmet.
Then there's the question of ankle support because, by the looks of things, there isn't much to keep you from rolling off to one side in case of a misstep. Then again, I haven't tested these yet, so I'm not sure how much R&D has gone into this system.
As for the benefit, it really does mean a quick and easy getaway through towns, neighborhoods, or campuses. Just take a seat on a curb or step, secure the straps, throw on a helmet, and off you go. This is also true for folks looking to use something like this to get to work and back home.
Finally, an important aspect to consider before going for these babies is the way they're set up. Four wheels are the base for this e-skate, but they're not in-line, so if you're not used to this riding style, definitely room around the house a bit before hitting up the driveway and, finally, the streets.
Honestly, because there aren't so many crews out there adding electric power to the rollerskate, I'm very curious to see how these things fare up on my feet. Keep your fingers crossed for a test ride article in the near future.