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Why is it so hard to get the skates you want at the moment? Check this article which explains what is happening globally!


Riedell Shoes Inc. hasn’t seen demand for its roller skates this strong since people were lacing them up for turns on the dance floor in the disco era of the 1970s.

But the Red Wing, Minn.-based manufacturer of ice and roller skates is also dealing with a supply chain that is stuck in another era. With production still hampered by pandemic-driven bottlenecks and price increases for raw materials, Riedell is working overtime to catch up with old orders that have been delayed for months.

The company’s problems moving its colorful, Moxi-brand skates are rolling across the skating world, prompting complaints, outrage, anxiety and even a Reddit group called DudeWheresMyMoxis dedicated to the search for the popular skate brand. Moxi skates are the brainchild of professional roller skater Michelle “Estro Jen” Steilen.

Skaters at Roller Garden.

“I came here looking to find hope and it is clear there is none,” said Daniel Molloy, a San Francisco-based member of another online roller-skating group.

Mr. Molloy ordered “pool blue” skates as a gift for his now-fiancée, Cheyenne Dennen, in June. August passed and he hadn’t received a shipping update. The skates finally came six months later, a few days before Christmas, Mr. Molloy said.

The furor makes roller skates the latest in a stream of exercise and entertainment products, from bicycles to free weights, that have become far more popular among locked-down consumers during the pandemic, leaving suppliers scrambling to catch up to the demand.

Skate shops are hearing from would-be buyers from all over the world.

A skate night at Roller Garden this month. Delays have left some skaters waiting months to try out new skates in popular brands and colors.

Bad Girlfriend Roller Skates, a store in Morinville, Alberta, Canada, has shipped to places owner Lesley McDonald never received emails from before, from Israel to New Zealand. In the U.S., popular stores like San Diego-based Fritzy’s Roller Skate Shop said their big bet on Moxi skates is paying off. Whenever the store’s founder, Christina “Fritz” Stang, puts new pairs on her website, they sell out in minutes, she said.

Riedell, like other businesses, was hit hard at the start of the pandemic. The company shut down its production plant in March as lockdown orders spread, and it lost over 40% of its business selling shoes to roller rinks, said Robert Riegelman, Riedell’s president.

Then social media took over.

Instagram and TikTok timelines with skaters such as Berlin-based Oumi Janta strutting in the sunshine got big followings, and orders for skates started pouring into Riedell and other manufacturers. Impala Rollerskates, a Melbourne, Australia-based brand owned by Globe International Ltd. , said it has seen triple-digit sales growth each month since May compared with the previous year.

“We thought things were the greatest when we were taking all these orders,” Riedell’s Mr. Riegelman said.

But Riedell quickly outsold its capacity to produce the skates in a timely manner, he said. By the time workers returned to the production plant in May, the company had overshot its capacity by about 50,000 units, according to Steilen.

The pandemic brought the highest number of orders for skates that the four-generation, family-owned company has seen since the 1980s. Riedell stopped taking orders for U.S.-made products like Moxi’s popular Lolly model on Sept. 23 to catch up.

The company also delayed the release of new products to ease extreme delivery delays, Steilen said. Certain colors have been reserved only for skates it produces in partnerships with other brands.

Manufacturing lead times went from two weeks to three or four months just to get the materials, said finance chief Tom Ahern.

Reliance on parts from overseas and shipping delays made fulfilling orders even harder. Boots and parts manufactured in Taiwan and China sent to the U.S. for final assembly now take, on average, eight months after ordering to arrive, up from the typical four months, the company said, and some shipments face longer delays because of big bottlenecks at ports and other freight chokepoints.

“The containers are sitting out in the ocean waiting to come in,” said Danny Johnson, supply chain manager at Riedell.

In early February, said Mr. Johnson, the company unloaded some containers packed with skate parts that had been sitting for four weeks not far from Riedell’s plant. “They had been on a railcar alongside a highway because the rail yards are full,” he said.

Riedell’s warehouse in Minnesota is normally jam-packed with replacement wheels for the company’s skates. Stock is running low this year amid high demand.

On Reddit’s DudeWheresMyMoxis community, wannabe rollers have compared delivery times. One user created a master spreadsheet for orders by the group’s participants to figure out when the next batch might ship. Armed with their order numbers, skaters with username tags such as “Team Strawberry” and “Team Pineapple” for their desired color announced updates, or groaned over no news at all.

Knoxville, Tenn., college student Katie Upchurch ordered Moxi Ramp Riders on June 12 and broke her leg 10 days later. After she had spent six months in recovery, her skates still hadn’t arrived.

It has been a tough nine months for both the consumer and the production team, said Mr. Riegelman.

Riedell contracted with a shoe manufacturer in Arkansas to build boots and help cope with the overload. Members of the shipping team have worked 60-hour weeks for the past seven months, the company said.

Riedell now expects outstanding orders will be delivered in the next few weeks. Moxi has been restocking as inventory comes in and started taking some new orders for Lolly models last month, Steilen said.

Marie Rieck, right, and Kaytlyn Light, left, are in charge of inspections and repairs at the Riedell factory in Red Wing, Minn. The entire boot is cleaned, polished, and given a final inspection before shipping.

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Appeared in the March 11, 2021, print edition as 'Roller-Skate Makers Hit a Bump.'

Since lockdown there has been a huge rise in the number of new skaters starting out, so as our skate lessons are on hold for now we've done some handy videos on our YouTube channel, here's one we did for beginners skating, you can find others on our channel - Momma Trucker Skates