Leisure Inc. now WhiteBoard Product Solutions, teamed up with Rollerblade founder Scott Olson to create a skate that would be revolutionary by design. The mission was global in its ambition: solve the foremost problems in the competitive and saturated 1990’s inline skating market, including not only those of consumers, but also those of retailing, manufacturing, distribution, and marketing. Through extensive research and experience, we identified the ideal features foreach of these groups. First, the key issues for the consumer were boot comfort and sizing accuracy, skate longevity, flexibility to grow with the user and adapt to specialized used and, of course, braking. As a result, we incorporated a size adjustment feature that allows users to achieve precise sizing, which improves fit and performance.
For flexibility, we created the QuickClick™ removable frame so users can rotate worn wheels and change frames with the flip of two levers. Access pads on the boot allow walking where skates are not permitted simply by removing the frame from the boot. For improved braking power and shorter stopping distance, the brakes include a dual-action feature that uses an added lever to apply force to the rest wheel.
The size adjustment feature also addresses retailers’ needs: They are concerned about the amount of stock space required to cover all sized and the accuracy and efficiency in which they can fit their customers. With only four sizes to cover most adult feet, the Perfect-fit minimizes stock and fit issues.
From a manufacturing standpoint, the Perfect-fit skate is built from relatively smaller and simpler injection molded parts that are made of materials particular to the needs of each area of the foot. It uses soft materials where comfort and flexibility are needed and stiff materials where support and energy transfer are needed, with five different plastics specific to the needs of each component.
When the startup company we created introduced the product line, it turned heads from all corners of the market. Clearly, integrating the best technologies and procedures into the development process–combined with a passion for invention and commitment to excellence–can bring about innovative solutions.