A Valuable Lesson from Roces and THEM (and the Razors Cult)
What is that lesson? That maybe, just maybe, all the money spent on molds, and innovative materials, and carbon fiber, and complex mounting solutions, and skates without cuffs, or skates that fit over shoes, or, or — oh my god the USD Legacy! — could and would have been better spent on tours, and contest circuits, and hiring marketers and sports agents for athletes, and generally investing in the SOFT CAPITAL of our community.
All these many skate models and years later it’s clear that tried-and-true molds of years past aren’t just “good enough” — they are very good. They do what is expected and allow manufacturers, retailers, and skaters to have a relatively low financial bar of entry into our sport.
For 15 years Jon Julio proved that with Valo. Sure, he had a skin hiding the truth, but that truth was there and eventually broke out into the spotlight with the V13… and now as THEM capitalizes on those same truths, Roces is again in a position to dispose of pretense and return to their powerful roots.
Meanwhile, we’re here wondering how many thousands of bladers would still be out there actively shredding if all those untold hundreds of thousands of dollars of hardware innovation had instead gone into reminding everyone why we want to skate in the first place. — JE
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Almost makes you think that we should go for old molds and experiment with current day compounds.
Which kinda puts new perspective to people scoring old skates.
Would love to see what would happen if Oxygen Argon, USD Psirus and Salomon ST skates would be revisited.
In response to the article….
The author’s final thought is that skaters needed to be reminded why they enjoyed skating in the first place, and that this was the responsibility of the boot companies. I think the people who love blading stuck with it, and judging by the rollerblading subreddit, tons of former skaters are getting back into it. Now could that have something to do with the merging of the disciplines and the arrival of big-wheel-friendly frames like Big, Mega, Level 2 and Wizard? I’m guessing the answer is yes. We know that new blood is our big problem, but bringing old bladers back into the fold is a good start, and not too many 30 year old guys who have kids and haven’t skated in a decade are going to go for an antirocker setup on a shared size shell.
As for new blood, price point skates have always existed. The author is complaining that companies didn’t advertise their price point skates, despite the fact that people were willing to pay for more expensive skates. High end skates were probably marketed more aggressively because the company stood to profit more from them. I don’t see how profits for blade companies are bad.
Maybe the price point boot revolution is pertinent now, and is the way to move forward for the time being, but trying to blame our numbers being low on the passionate geeks who designed all the crazy boots of the last 20 years seems misdirected. I know we all want blading to do huge numbers so Farmer can buy a leopard skin lambo, but it reeks of self pity to dredge the past for something or someone to blame for our current situation . We’re just in a different market than before and we approach things differently now. The whole “blading would be alive if only..” argument seems unproductive, especially when there are more products and ways to skate right now than there have ever been.
In Response to Alex-
That was a lot of words considering you had almost no point. When you talked about skates marketing and why its not bad to push the more expensive skates over the cheaper ones, I would say to listen to Ricardo Lino’s podcast with Stefan Brandow. Razors had a great skate that was at an entry level price, and loyal riders who WANTED to do edits to promote it but were shot down because the Shift was the focus.Profits aren’t bad, but shooting yourself in the foot regarding potential future profit is. If these boot companies that have JR boots were smart, they would offer them at below cost and promote the hell out of them. There may be an upfront loss, but we all know that all it takes to get someone hooked is to have skates on your feet for a little while.
If they’re really serious about saving our industry, they should take a page from the sugar lobby and organized religion…. GET KIDS WHEN THEY ARE YOUNG AND IMPRESSIONABLE
My 9 year old son loves to skate, witch makes me happy because I get to spend time with him doing what we both love. The problem is that he sees me buying nice skates ( I own more pairs of skates then I should). And he only has two models to choose from. Don’t get me wrong, he loves his skates but the whole industry is not investing in the future the way they should. If there were more kids skates available he would have more skates (because I would buy them for him). He would love it even more and get more hyped to keep on skating. These kids pay the bills for company’s ten years from now. My six year old wanted to start inline skating as well. But there are no aggro skates available in his size so now he skateboard’s. Because he doesn’t want rec skates. He’s good at it and I’m sure he’s going to keep on doing it. I love to see him skateboard as well. But I still think it’s a loss for our community because he could have bin inline skating.