How to build roller skates

Since the pandemic forced everyone to find new hobbies, roller skating has been a hit, with dancers and daredevils going viral on Instagram and TikTok.

Among the most sought-after skates are Moxi’s Lolly Skates, old-fashioned rainbow-colored four-wheelers made in Red Wing, Minnesota. Riedell, the 100-person company that manufactures the skates, is on the way to making nearly 80,000 pairs of roller skates. skates this year, about four times more than before the pandemic.

The skates are so popular that buyers now have to wait a few months before arriving in the mail, especially if they want them in silk (mint green) or lilac (light purple), two of the most popular colors in the world. last year. Each skate takes about a week and a half to assemble.

This is how they are made.

About 1,250 square feet of leather are cut into 4,000 pieces every day. Workers use a cookie cutter (essentially an industrial cookie cutter) to carefully cut out each piece of the boot.

After the leather is cut, workers stack the pieces and label them with the size, width and style of the boot. Although the skates are available in many colors, all Moxi Lolly skates have the same liner, covered in vintage style advertisements.

Riedell workers use industrial sewing machines to pierce tough leather. They first tie the exteriors and linings to each other, then sew the heels and toes together.

Moxi’s skates come in many sizes, but any roller skater will tell you that you need to put on laces to get the perfect fit (and avoid blisters!). Nine pairs of eyelets, the metal-lined holes through which the laces pass, are drilled in each boot.

The leather parts of the boot are quite flat until they are resting on a plastic model foot, called a form. When the workers pull the leather over it, the boot begins to take its shape.

Once the last one has entered the boot, the workers put an insole on the bottom. The rod is then pulled around it and pinned with a thumbtack to hold it in place. When the skates are finished, it will be inside the boot.

To help shape the boot and protect skaters from bumping their toes, each boot has a hard protective cap called a square toe. To make it, workers glue a piece of flexible resin (a type of plastic) inside the toe. As it dries, it hardens.

To give the boot its final shape, the leather is stretched by hand over the model before being nailed from the bottom of the boot. Each toe is double checked to make sure it does not enter your foot.

A heel machine smooths the leather at the heel and sews it. This completes the boot shaping process.

It’s time to glue the hard outsole to the boot. Workers cover the bottom and sole with urethane, a super tough cement, and heat it.

When the glue is heated and tacky, workers line up the correct size of sole under the boot and use a hydraulic press to push the boot, glue and sole together. The model’s foot is now removed.

The last thing a skater wants is for the heel (and wheels) of a roller skate to fall off! To make sure this never happens, workers nail the heel into the boot and bend the end to stay in place.

A plate is bolted to the trunk, creating a solid base for the wheels. While some people use the skates only for sliding on the rinks, others do flips and tricks, which means the wheels have to be super sturdy.

Workers settle on soft cushions that allow the skates to lean to either side to turn. Soft wheels help ensure the skates can roll over bumps and rocks. The stopper, a rubber ring on the front of the pads, works as a brake.

After a final inspection, the boots are packaged and shipped worldwide, ready to be laced up and unrolled at the park, on the street or in the ice rink.

This article originally appeared in the September issue of the New York Times for Kids. Find the section in your newspaper this Sunday, September 26 (and the last Sunday of each month).

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