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Every aggressive inline skating fan should know USD brand.German company Powerslide, one of the biggest inline skates manufacturers in the world, introduced USD back in 1997, under UpSideDown label to begin with. The name was a little nod towards tricks naming convention but primarily reflected the intention of turning the industry upside down – introducing fresh ideas, offering innovative products and wide compatibility with parts without need to use power tools (which was rather uncommon back then).
USD was a great success – the company has hit the ground running, quickly attracting aggressive skating legends like Shane Coburn and Arlo Eisenberg. Other skaters have followed and soon legends like Jon Julio, Josh Petty, Dustin Latimer, Champion Baumstimler and Kevin Gillan have joined the team. It was basically a pantheon of pro-riders back then, unmatched by any other skating brand team before or after.
In 1998 the brand was renamed to Universal Skate Design, further putting pressure on the main goal of USD – providing great products for wide group of skaters. Even though the very first skates made by USD were not that good (USD Damocles), the company has landed their first mega hit with Throne Classic the same year. These legendary skates were in production for over 15 years and even though they are not being made any more, they still have a lot of fans to this day. It was the first boot ever designed with customisation in mind – allowing to easily change frames (even for ones made by other brands like 50/50 and Senate), soulplates and other parts.
USD CARBON FREE CARLOS BERNAL - BLACK
|Size [US M]||7||7,5||8||9||10||10,5||11||12|
|Size [US W]||8||8,5||9||10||11|
Few years later, USD joined an industry wide project to develop UFS – universal frame system, a skate frame mounting standard allowing for simple exchange of frames. It is used in skates to this day and serves as an example of what can be achieved if big industry players are willing to cooperate. Of course, the brand has not stopped innovation and constantly introduced new skates, parts and pushed for growth of the sport. In year 2000 they have released a video with profiles of USD team riders – now legendary COUP de TAT, one of the most important, if not the most important, videos in history of aggressive scene. Another milestone came in year 2010, when another brand by Powerslide – Deshi – was disbanded and USD overtook and polished their best skate, resulting in release of Carbon II, undoubtedly the most popular carbon-based aggressive skate ever. The design of this boot has proven so good that other companies have started to copy it. Five years later and USD drops another megaton bomb – the Aeon skates, first ever to feature unibody construction, where shell, soulplates and frame are single moulded piece. This resulted in a super light and responsive hardboot, unlike any other released before.
There’s no denying that aggressive inline skating is not as popular as in 90s, but there are still several core brands on the market, offering solid products. However, while others focus on two or three skate models and target medium or upper price bracket, USD tries to offer variety both in terms of price and products. If you need solid, complete skates to start on, USD delivers. If you are after high end, lightweight boot made out of carbon, they have those too. Something innovative, different maybe? USD won’t let you down. This variety is something other companies simply do not match.