an abreviation for PLay In WheelS(…) two wheeled flashing roller skate that attaches to the heel of your skate or sport type shoe(…) you can fit them to your favourite shoes and as your feet grow or you change shoe preference, you can simply adjust them to suit the new shoe instead of being limited to the pair of the shoes with the wheels in them!
On my way back from Canada (which I like more every time I go, though Ottawa’s streets are really slippery in winter) to Santiago I went through Amsterdam, so I had to stay at the Schiphol airport for a few hours. I decided to spend the time visiting the airport rather than sleeping, mainly because sleeping wouldn’t make me feel any better but also because the three times I have been there this was the first one where I could actually
take a walk and visit the shops, or more precisely a shop named gadgets, where three weeks ago I saw, for the first time, (in the rush for catching my flight), something which especially attracted my attention: the pliws.
What was it about the pliws that attracted my attention? not the name, which I don’t think is very fortunate (Actually I had to write it down to remember). The fact is that I liked the pliws because they were small enough to carry everywhere, looked like they were very easy to attach and detach, and I thought that my girlfriend would love to use them on her way to the university, so they would make a nice gift for her birthday.
The anatomy of a Pliw is fairly simple, as it consists of an adjustable base that holds two wheels which go to the side of your foot (the foot is then closer to the floor than when using traditional skates or inliners), and a strap that tightens the whole piece. Adjusting the width of the base is as simple as using a screwdriver: the process is well documented with a series of pictures here.
The Pliws are available in two styles: Lighted and PRO. The Lighted model comes with special wheels, which use a magnetic power generator instead of batteries (so you never have to recharge them), and emit pulses of coloured lights while you are rolling, giving that extra bright touch. The PRO model has clear non-lighted wheels.
The main drawback of the pliws is that there’s a limit to the load they can carry, 60 kg. This means that most adults can’t use them, thus limiting their potential as sportswear. They are also real skates capable of high speeds, so they are not recommended to children below 8 years old unless they have previous experience in skating.
It seems that along with the original product it is very easy to find imitations, which could be dangerous due to poor quality standards (while at the airport I almost bought a model -I don’t remember the brand- because I read in the box that it could load up to 80 kg). I wrote an email to the site above regarding these questions, which was kindly answered by Dane Beerling. I’ll quote some interesting sentences from the reply:
The genuine product is made in South Korea by the Inventors, The GAJA-Q and TELTEK Companies. They have “Made in Korea” imbedded in the moulding for the body. The bodies are Black or Grey, earlier normal models had solid colour urethane wheels and the later pro models have the new coloured hubs with clear urethane wheels.
TELTEK is the inventor of the Light emitting wheels which has a patent in most countries of the world. (with the response I was sent a pdf file showing a comparison with a bad quality copy).
The products are CE certified to 60kg weight limit, however the inventors are in the final stages of preparing a new heavy duty model to increase the weight limit which is expected to be available later in the year.
We have compromised and added “Superrollers” to PLIWS and most people in Australia refer to them as Superrollers which is an easier name to remember.
Finally, I should note that although the pliws are gradually becoming available in countries other than South Korea, you may not be able to buy them in your own country (even online). I think that this limitation should be overcome soon, as new distributors take the product, and in the meantime you may try addressing the nearest distributor to see if they can do something about it. Update 25.01.06 I have just received a new email from Dane confirming that they ship internationally, so you can buy the Pliws online from the superrollers.com site.