Videos of skateboarders griding down handrails (and often falling off) are about as common on social media as cute cats and badly synchronized dancing. But here’s something a little bit different but a way lot more difficult. And impressive.
This is professional skier Andri Ragletti, a guy who’s known almost as much for his off-piste stunts as for his snow-based sporting achievements – he represented Switzerland in slopestyle at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.
And for his latest trick, he slides over 100ft along a guardrail wearing just a pair of shoes…
A photo posted by on
But, as the commenters on the vid quickly click on, he’s not just wearing any old pair of shoes. After all, if you tried this wearing a pair of Converse or Vans, you’d jump on the guardrail, stick to it like tarmac and collapse off the rail in heap. Which would certainly be amusing and worth sticking on TikTok, but what Ragletti achieves here is way cooler.
So what’s he wearing? They appear to be an update Soap Shoes, which were a big thing briefly in the States back in the 90s. They a were created for ‘grinding’ – which is the term skateboarders use for when they slide along a surface (a curb edge, a handrail, or whatever) using the metal parts of the skateboard that connect the wheel the board.
Soap shoes made this possible without the need for a skateboard (though, admittedly, it wasn’t quite as much fun to do). Introduced in 1996, they had a concave plastic section n the sole that allowed wearers to grind on objects such as pipes, rails and stone ledges.
The company that created was brought out a few times and now ‘genuine’ soap shoes have long since ceased to roll off any production line. But their spirit lives on in Epic Grindshoes, which appear to be what Andri Ragletti is using.
Do we sense a new (or resurrected) fad coming on?
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