The 70’s Rise of Roller Skates

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By the 70s, roller skates had been around for over a hundred years. Something about that decade—– the style, the music—– made them take off in popularity.

When I was growing up it seemed like wheels were attached to everyone’s feet. During the week people were zipping around to work, in the park on the weekends, and even on family outings.



As a kid I had the clunky metal strap-on models that adjusted to your shoes, and sneakers. I can still hear the metal-on-metal shhhhissshing sound of the ball bearings spinning around and the hard scraping sound as my skates rolled over the asphalt as I skated down the street. And of course you couldn’t forget (or lose your key!).

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As a teen, speed skates were in fad, and I quickly picked up on the trend with a brown leather lace-up pair. Whether you wore them at the derby to knock out your opponent team, busted a hip on the dance floor at the local roller disco, or just cruised around on the pier, there was no better 70s fad than skates.

While I never mastered the fine art of skating to take them to the disco or derby, I did love watching my Olivia Newton-John.

Watch her and the legendary Gene Kelly skate it out in this epic roller skating scene from Xanadu!

Roller skate + Xanadu Gene Kelly & Olivia Newton John

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All About Dolly!