Motivated to expand its brand and increase product offerings for customers, Heelys, the creator of the world’s first shoe with a removable stealth wheel in the heel, has introduced the NANO™ Inline Footboard made with Eastman Tritan™ copolyester. Tritan is a new-generation copolyester that balances the properties of toughness, clarity and design flexibility, and is manufactured without bisphenol A (BPA).
The NANO Inline Footboard, a compact, portable skateboard, builds off the core technology of the removable wheel concept of Heelys® shoes. The board provides added function and versatility to Heelys shoes by allowing users to attach it directly to the shoe via the new Sole-Link™ adapter system, increasing maneuverability from traditional skateboards, scooters and inline skates.
“The unique, hybrid skate system of the NANO Inline Footboard and Heelys wheeled footwear is a radical departure from traditional wood and friction tape skateboards,” said Ryan Wills, director of innovation, Heelys. “The product design required a material equally as revolutionary. It needed to be extremely strong and rugged, yet lightweight enough for users to easily jump, grind and perform a variety of tricks.”
Heelys selected Eastman Tritan™ copolyester for the inline footboard because it offers durability, design flexibility and ease of processing. Tritan also is not manufactured with BPA or phthalates allowing the board to meet regulations for chemicals in children’s products. Additionally, the ability to tint Tritan provided Heelys with increased color options for the product.
The NANO Inline Footboard is available in red-and-black, and blue-and-clear holiday edition color schemes. A 3D graphic inserted between the footboard chassis and deckplate, both made of Eastman Tritan™ copolyester, allows for board customization.
“Personalization and shelf appeal are vital to the young target demographic, which values putting its own marks on products they purchase,” Wills said. “Utilizing Eastman Tritan™ copolyester for the inline footboard accomplished two very important things. It allowed us to create an exceptionally clear deckplate to highlight and protect the interchangeable graphic inserts, and it allowed us to make NANO in virtually any color and transparency so we can offer consumers a highly customizable product.”
The technical and manufacturing support Eastman provided from the project onset, including mold design analysis, allowed Heelys to easily produce complex, thick-to-thin areas in the footboard.
“We have been fortunate to have Eastman experts on-hand throughout the process,” Wills said. “They have been a great asset to us, offering a degree of attention and support that I’ve never before seen from a materials supplier.”
The NANO Inline Footboard is sold as part of a comprehensive system that includes Heelys skate shoes, wheels and accessories in sporting goods and sports specialty stores nationwide beginning in August 2010. The product launch will include in-store product demonstrations led by professional free-runners that, with use of the product, have created freeboarding, the new hybrid sport that blends free-running with skateboarding, combining maneuvers on foot with a rolling skate apparatus.