Dig out your rollerblade kneepads for Segway’s new ‘self-balancing roller shoes’

If you thought Heelys (those wheeled sneakers that every preteen in the United States used to careen about in) were odd, you may want to take a seat. Segway is here to prove that when it comes to strange methods of transportation, it’s the top dog. Meet the new Segway Drift W1s. They’re self-balancing roller shoes, and can be compared to a hoverboard that just lives on your foot. Well, I suppose it would technically be two halves of a hoverboard living on each foot.

The Drift W1s are apparently the first product in the company’s  new e-Skates category, and they leverage Segway’s self-balancing technology that was first put to use in the original Segway scooter — you know, that thing that let users lean into the direction they wished to travel.

These new shoes are in some ways a 21st-century answer to roller blades and in-line skates, though it does feel a bit like Segway is trying to fix something that wasn’t broken to begin with. But never to be deterred, the company, which was acquired by Ninebot back in 2015, is  calling its Drift W1s the new trend of 2018.

“The new Segway Drift W1 brings all the fun and coolness you expect from Segway’s consumer products line, combined with the high-quality engineering consumers expect from the Segway brand,” the company stated in an announcement. The skates purport to be easy to carry, lightweight, and relatively small. Based on images and videos that we’ve seen, it looks like each Drift W1 fits exactly under your foot, so you don’t have  too much room for error (or experimentation).

The tires are purportedly meant to improve stability and your ability to steer, and thanks to slip-resistant foot mats, you should be at least relatively safe when you step on the W1s. Of course, it’s likely that it will take awhile for you to get used to this new-age method of transportation, so we wouldn’t recommend running around on these W1s without some protective gear.

Apparently, Segway agrees, and if you buy a pair of these shoe things, you’ll get a free helmet. Seems reasonable.

A pair of Drift W1s will set you back just under $400, and shipping is expected to begin in August. Each W1 will weigh about 7.7 pounds, and will be able to take you up to 7.5 miles per hour. The total riding time is contingent upon riding style and terrain, but Segway says that you can expect 45 minutes of fun per charge.

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