Flaneurz: The Best Shoe-Skates
Updated: May 6, 2021
Why are they the best?! Because they aren't just shoe-skates, they are shoes and they are skates. Keep reading for more details. You can read my story up top and the more technical stuff near the end.
MEJACKIEC X FLANEURZ: THE BEGINNING
So, what Flanuerz do I have and how did I get them? It all began in 2015 while I was living in Paris, France as a study abroad student. I had join a skate crew, SkateXpress, and met Florian Gravier who was a founding member of the crew. He was also in the process of developing a new type of shoe skate (one that could clip on and off with ease). He had already been working on the project for years, done a number of prototypes and was at last in his last round of tests. After he told me about his product, he asked if I'd like to be a beta tester for the final iteration of beta tests. Of course, I said "yes".
His team set me up with some low-cut Stan Smith Adidas that were fitted to the Flanuerz Iconic plate with white and green Kryptonics' Impulse wheels. Previously, Florian had explained to me that he has two loves: shoes and skates, so he combined the two. When I looked over the skates he made me, I could see that passion manifest as quality in his product.
The skates proved to be very practical. In Paris it is commonplace to commute via foot, or metro. Having shoe skates that clip on and off allowed me to skate while in the streets, but then I could seamlessly switch to shoes for traversing stairs or after arriving at my destination (probably an apéro or my tutoring office--that was my other job in Paris). While I travelled to neighboring countries, I was also able to bring my skates in my backpack. I'd just wear the shoes and pack the plates. This proved to be WAY lighter and easier than packing my figure skating set-up.
Before I left Paris, Florian had me and Jean-Marc (another SkateXpress founder) join him for a Flaneurz video. I remember him asking me if I had heard about "dabbing"... I had not. He showed me a bunch of videos of people in the US dabbing, so we through it in our little art piece. Here it is... Enjoy:
Since then, I've returned to the United States. While here, I acquired another pair of Flanuerz fitted shoes: My beloved Doc Martins.
MY SHOE-SKATES & MY THOUGHTS
I have the Iconic Plate, both the Impulse and Helium wheels, a pair of low-cut Stan Smith
sneakers and of Doc Martins. The Icon Plate has worked well for me as a recreational plate. I can actually do some figure skating moves in my Adidas, however I don't recommend anyone to try doing that. I haven't tried their premium plates, but knowing what they are (explained below), I'd recommend that if you can afford the upgrade to the premium setup, that you go ahead and make the investment.
When it comes to comparing my two shoes: the sneakers vs the Docs, I'd say the Docs are more my style, however the sneakers provide more control. The control from the sneakers comes from the fact that they are more fitted than the boots. Just because Doc Martens are boots, doesn't necessarily mean they provide ankle support. If you have ever worn Doc Martens, you'll know they don't hug your feet... they fit loose. TIP: I changed the insole of my Docs to some that were thicker and that helped get them to fit tighter. Either way, I love both of my Flaneurz shoes. Like I said, the Docs are more my style, but the Adidas allow me more control.
When it comes to the wheels, Flanuerz gives you wheels that aesthetically match your shoes #fashion. Both the Krypton and the Helium wheels are outdoor wheels and work great. I'm not a picky wheel person. If you are a picky wheel person, I'm sorry... I can't help you here.
THE GEAR: KNOW YOUR OPTIONS
They have TONS of options. Seriously, if you go to their site, you will see what I mean.
The founder is a shoe lover, so he has you covered. IF you don't see something on the site that you like, they may be able to add their technology to your favorite shoe. The Custom Ready to Roll set allows you to send them the shoe, they will do their magical engineering and a short time later you will receive a full shoe-skate set back in mail (plates, wheels, bearings, toe stops, and the shoes you sent them). There are some requirements on the shoes though:
New shoes (unworn outdoor)
Size must be between 35 and 46 2/3 (European size)
Flat sole made of rubber material
Minimum sole thickness: 7,0 mm in the front, 13,0 mm in the back
Sole's bump must not exceed 5mm depth with the ground contact area
Shoe tongue must be able to allow access to the shoes internal front part
If you decide you want more than one shoe (like me), you don't need to get a new plate. You just buy another shoe. So, you can have 10 shoe options and only one plate. Its brilliant. I know!
PLATE SETS (THEY CALL THEM "ROLLING PARTS")
ICONIC - This is a Sure Grip plate made of Nylon (aka plastic). This is a decent recreational plate that gets the job done. Since it is made from plastic, it is also the lightest plate they offer. This set typically comes with Kryptonics' Impulse wheels (78A hardness). Though, due to supply shortages during the 2020 pandemic, they started offering this set with Helium wheels from Roll Line (82A hardness).
PREMIUM - This plate is made by Roll Line and is a either their Blaster (black) or Variant (silver) plate. The Variant is known in figure skating and the Blaster is known in roller derby. These are great plates are the the better option if you can afford it. This set comes with Roll Line's Helium wheels (82A hardness).
You can read their blog that had more in-depth information HERE.
The cheapest shoe-skate thing on their menu is priced at 295 euros and they go up to 435 euros (as of 2/23/2021).
HOW TO ORDER
Go to their site! When you make your order, if you are like me and are very good and misplacing small things, go ahead and throw an extra skate key in your cart. You can thank me later. ;]