Heelys is a brand of roller shoe (marketed by Heelys, Inc.) that have one or more removable wheels embedded in each sole, similar to inline skates, allowing the wearer to walk, run, or, by shifting their weight to their heels, roll. Braking can be achieved by lowering the back of the foot so that sole contacts the ground. Roger Adams patented Heelys in 1999.
The journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics published a study of injuries resulting from the use of Heelys (and Street Gliders, a similar product that's strapped onto regular shoes). The study counted only significant injuries that required assessment by an orthopaedic surgeon, ignoring minor injuries that were treated solely in the emergency department. The 10-week study (conducted throughout summer school holiday), found:
- An injury rate of approximately 51 injuries per 100,000 children (for injuries requiring orthopaedic attention; the rate for less-serious injuries is unknown, but presumably much higher). For comparison, in 1997 the United States, nonfatal dog bites required 151 emergency department visits per 100,000 population (including adults).
- 34% of the injuries were suffered by children using Heelys (or Street Gliders) for the quite first time. seventy percent had used the products five or fewer times.
- The injuries comprised eight percent of the workload for the paediatric orthopaedic department.
- 12% of the injured children were familiar with the instructions for use of the products.
In February 2007, the Yeovil Town Council was the first English council to ban their use.
The manufacturer says, "We highly recommend [the use of protective gear] when the wheels are in the shoes." Most users don't wear protective gear because the shoes are worn for everyday use (unlike more specialised sporting equipment such as inline skates).
Advanced Heelys users can perform tricks such as spins, backwards skating and skating on one foot.
There are four categories of tricks used in heeling: ground tricks, grinding tricks, stalling tricks and vert tricks.
- Ground tricks – the main category of tricks used in heeling.
- Grinds – these tricks can only be performed if the model has a nylon pad in the shoe, it involves jumping on a surface, landing on the nylon pad and sliding across the surface.
- Stalls – generally involves jumping onto a raised object and pausing before jumping off and heeling once more.
- Vert – any type of tricks performed on a vert ramp.