The roller skates were created by a fourth generation family business in Red Wing.
RED WING, Minn. — On a typical Monday, nearly a hundred employees are hard at work at Riedell Skates in Red Wing, but a day after the Super Bowl, the production floor is unusually quiet.
“Yesterday we gave everyone the day off for the Super Bowl,” said Chairman and CEO Bob Riegelman.
Many employees stayed up late to watch the game on television, and nearly a dozen employees had the opportunity to watch the game in person.
“A few of our employees were invited to a party after the game,” Riegelman says.
The afterparty was hosted by a company called “Flippers,” which collaborated with Riedell to create custom roller skates for the Super Bowl halftime show.
“They contacted us in October. They were like, “Hey, do you want to collaborate on a project?” I can’t tell you what it is yet,” Riegelman says.
A week later, the company found out who the skates were for.
“He called back and said, ‘Hey, we landed the halftime performance with Usher and he’s going to incorporate roller skating into it,’” Riegelman said.
The team had three short months to design and manufacture the skates by hand.
Riegelman says their design team worked with Usher’s team to create the perfect style, fit and color for the roller skates.
“There was a lot of back and forth to get it right,” Riegelman says.
The skates also had to be functional and easy to put on and take off.
“One of the key features of this product is that we developed and integrated a zipper so that Usher can change quickly,” says Riegelman.
“He was off stage and 30 seconds later he was back with a pair of skates. This was all due to the zipper.
This wasn’t the first time a famous person wore a pair of roller skates.
Riegelman says the company’s roller skates were worn by Margot Robbie in the DC Comics film “Birds of Prey” and by actor Elliot Page in the film “Whip It.”
Riedell has also created custom ice skates for Olympians like Michelle Kwan and for movies like the film “Castaway” starring Tom Hanks. Hanks’ character uses it in the film to remove a tooth.
Each of these appearances has helped Riedell grow its image, but Riegelman says this year’s Super Bowl halftime show was the brand’s biggest appearance to date.
“It always helps to have someone with the sales power of Usher to support him and help promote him,” Riegelman says.
Over the company’s 79-year history, Riegelman says ice skating and roller skating have had many ups and downs.
The popularity of skating ebbs and flows with each passing generation.
“It’s constantly changing. It seems like when the economy is in trouble, skating picks up,” says Riegelman.
With Usher and “Flipper’s”, they are trying to make roller skating cool again.
To learn more about Riedell Skates and the company’s 79-year history, click here.
To learn more about the new “Flipper’s Quadz by Usher,” click here.
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