UX / UI Designer. Product Visual Designer. Pizza Lover. Breaking Bad Fan. Soccer Fanatic.

Rio Roller

A lightweight fashion roller skate, capable of reassuring beginners and exciting pro riders while reducing the risk of heel tear.

2019 (Chassis)
2022 (Sole)
Rio Roller
Hard component complete redesign
Lead Product Designer

Success in numbers

The new Rio Roller skate has used testing and data to strengthen its bonding from sole to boot, reducing the risk of heel tear where they become separated and can cause injury.

By empathising with users and understanding their needs, new turning angles have been created to give new riders support to control the skate, while also giving experts the freedom and confidence to perform tricks that would usually be hardwearing on a skate.

Special consideration also had to be given to the aesthetics as Rio Roller is at the forefront of the fashion skating world, having appeared in several fashion magazines including Vogue. A redesigned sole and chassis are expected to remain unchanged for over ten years meaning that it needs to be both timeless and recognizable as a Rio Roller skate.

Since it's redesign, Rio Roller have sold over one millions units across the globe.

Designing for every rider.

Rio Roller has now been given a timeless look, with a chassis designed directly to fit each sole in each size. Each component has been redesigned specifically to give the user maximum control and comfort, whatever their style of riding.

The Brief

To create Rio Rollers' first custom chassis. The Chassis must improve the performance of the skate and user satisfaction, by being a more controllable and stable skate for beginners, while also having the performance capabilities for more advanced riders. A new sole must also be created to reduce the risk of heel tear which is currently the most costly issue for Rio Roller. Both items must be made to new sizing that better fits our boot sizes.

The problems:

Roller skates have had many of the same issues for the last 20 years. Many brands had used parts purchased straight from factories that lacked modern development. These parts were not always upgraded together, meaning that roller skates have several components developed by different factories at different times. Rio Roller had also fallen victim to this, as had the vast majority of its competitors.

  • Heel tear is a common issue for almost all skates in the market. This is where the boot would separate from the sole, and the fabric would also tear. Therefore we aimed to reduce or eliminate this.

  • The original skate was heavier compared to much of the competition, giving a sluggish feel to the skate.

  • User feedback to us that the original skates were overturning when they leaned. A smaller turning angle was needed as most of the direction should be dictated by the user lifting and redirecting their foot.

  • Overall the components were not working completely in synergy. Users felt that this combined with a lack of support in the boot meant that they were unstable and at risk of falling.

  • Skate sizing had become confusing for Rio Roller, with sole sizes not matching as best as possible with the chassis, as the chassis is shared across several shoe sizes

  • Our skates used several of the same open moulds that our competition used. This meant that Rio was lacking a signature image that separated them from the market, which gave the same “boring” look.

The Opportunity

With several clearly defined issues, the aim was to create a new Rio Roller skate that would last over ten years and solve these problems. Given that there were no competitors who had overcome, it would allow us to gain a larger market share and put out one of the best skates available mass-produced and affordable.

Sole Prototyping

Increasing strength and reducing risk of heel tear.

  • Key insights from the prototyping stages allowed me to curate an ideal depth for our boot to be put into a deeper sole. This sole would have higher edges that would allow for a larger gluing area and surface contact. We were able to test the difference between adding metal pins to secure the boot to the sole to prevent heel tear. The findings showed that adding two pins in defined locations increased the performance in stress testing from taking a 133kg load to 231kg.

The Result

Strength, durability and a recognisable style.

  • The redesign of our Rio sole meant that the skate had become far stronger, and we expect to reduce our return rate by over 70% based on its strength tests. We were also able to create this sole with Rio patterns commonly used within the mould, making it recognisably Rio Roller.

Chassis Prototyping

Increasing strength and durability whilst reducing weight.

  • We concentrated on developing strong 3D prints for the chassis and the truck. This enabled us to collaborate with end users and use valuable insights to make adjustments. The truck angle was changed several times to make sure users felt that the skate turned as they expected and felt stable. The chassis was altered along with this, with emphasis on how users reacted to stoppers placed in different positions, and whether they wore down in the optimal place.

The Result

A lightweight user focused skate.

  • One of the most important parts of this process was gaining insights from users at each stage and major change. Focus groups and relaxed interviews helped us to develop the perfect all round skate.

Rio Roller Figure Skate

The chassis had now been produced for over 500,000 skates and is also being sold as an individual item. The Sole has been produced and is being introduced to the market in 2023 with the next production of figure skates.