Editors' Choice

What is the Point of Segway Roller Shoes?

Jonathan Tao / July 27, 2018

Segway has struggled to live up to our inflated expectations—and their own overblown marketing—since their first product launched in 2001. Let’s just say that Segways never offered the limitless personal mobility of the future that they promised. Now, they seem inextricably linked with riding tours populated by overweight, middle-aged tourists. Fast-forward to 2018 and the Segway Drift W1 is no different.

The latest device from Segway—now owned by Ninebot—is a pair of self-balancing roller shoes or e-skates, the Drift W1. It’s basically a “hoverboard” that has been split in two and we can only imagine that this makes it even more unstable and dangerous. Each unit weighs 7.7 pounds and tops out at a blistering 7.5 miles per hour. Even better, they get around 45 minutes of use per charge—but that depends on riding style and terrain. Going uphill or speeding along at top speed? We don’t think these things won’t last very long. Segway even threw in a free helmet—probably to avoid liability when people start slamming into hard objects.

Each pair costs $399 and will be available starting in August. While we have to admit that it’s a brilliant (if limited) piece of engineering, at this point we have to ask: what is the point? These are a pair of $400 roller skates that work for less than an hour. Then you’re lugging around twenty pounds of deadweight. Our ankles hurt just looking at these things as, unlike roller blades, these offer zero support.

If you’re still interested, check out this ridiculous promotional video from Segway. The company promises that, “the new Segway Drift W1 brings all the fun and coolness you expect from Segway’s consumer products line.” Wow. Coolness.

Do yourself a favor and just buy a pair of roller skates. Segway’s probably praying that the Drift W1 turns out like the “hoverboard” in 2016: a brief, dangerous, and popular gimmick that, ultimately, never catches on.