Posted on August 11, 2016 by Edmund Vong
Few inline-skate makers, if any, have as long a history in boot-making as K2 Skates.
K2 Skates began as a ski maker in the state of Washington, USA in 1962. It was the first ski company to popularise the use of fibreglass in making skis, making them lighter and more responsive.
When snowboarding became a major category in winter sports, K2 was among the first to transfer its experience into the sport, quickly becoming a leading maker of snowboards and boots.
In 1993, at the height of the inline-skate phenomenon, K2 applied its decades of experience in ski and snowboard boot making into summer sports to launch another first in the market: the patented K2 Exotech line of Softboot(tm) inline skates.
At a time when the inline-skate industry was centred around heavy, uncomfortable molded plastic hardboots, K2's skates stood out, and were immediately accepted by the growing inline-skating scene. It captured market share very quickly. In a few years, it overtook many established brands to compete directly with the foremost brand at the time: Rollerblade.
Today, K2 Skates is one of the largest inline-skate makers in the world, alongside Powerslide and Rollerblade.
To stay relevant, most inline-skate makers launch new features and innovations in boot design on a yearly basis. In comparison, for a skate maker with such a long and rich history in boot-making, K2 skates have remained remarkably unchanged in its core boot construction and design.
K2 Skates has resisted the urge to follow other brands into developing skates to satisfy the trends of the day. K2 skates are uncommon at international speed skating races. They are marginally represented in aggressive skating competitions and are practically absent from freestyle skating, the fastest growing segment in the past few years.
Probably because in its heart, K2 Skates knows that its true focus is on the everyday recreation skater. Winning marathons or competitions appears to matter little to K2. But keeping fitness and recreation skaters in parks all over the world happy seems more important.
This focus is reflected in K2 boot construction. Instead of making skates faster or more technologically advanced, K2 has chosen to concentrate on making its skates ever more comfortable, lightweight and user friendly...right out of the box.
Companies that keep the happiness of its customers front and centre will get loved in return. Skaters can expect K2 Skates to be rolling for a long time in the history of inline-skating.