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Jessie Zhang, an 18-year-old in Northern California, is dying for roller skates. She’s spent hours scouring the internet looking at different skate designs. She has researched toe guards on Depop. And she’s even been picking up extra chores around the house, like doing the dishes, in hopes that her parents will buy her a pair.
“Roller skating is trendy,” she said. “I think people are looking for something to do, and it’s very accessible.”
Since stay-at-home measures took effect this spring in the United States, roller skating has been making a comeback. An international spike in viral roller skating videos on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, the proliferation of skate tutorials, a new crop of bright and catchy roller skate brands, and the itch to get outside in the midst of the pandemic have driven interest in roller skating to new heights.
Marawa Ibrahim, 37, who sells her own line of roller skates and skate-related clothing, said that, like many retailers, she can’t keep skates in stock. “As soon as lockdown started, sales started going up of everything,” she said. “We’re completely sold out of skates, like everyone, and clothing too.”
Ms. Ibrahim has been roller skating since she was 2 years old and has seen it cycle in and out of fashion, but right now, she says, roller skating is having a moment. “It’s been the perfect storm recently with social media like TikTok, lockdown and people looking for kitsch visual things,” she said.
A video of the actress Ana Coto, 29, gliding through the streets of Los Angeles to the tune of “Jenny From the Block” has been viewed more than 14 million times on TikTok. It went so viral that Ms. Coto became a meme.
“I’m so overjoyed by the videos I get from people telling me they got skates because of me or that they took their skates out of their case for the first time in X amount of years,” Ms. Coto said. The hashtag #roller-skating currently has more than 1.4 billion views on TikTok.
Source: The Summer of Roller Skates - NYT