Blog - Roller skate in urban culture

Roller skate in urban culture
By Mathieu 7/1/2019 10:00 AM

While big luxury companies like Saint Laurent have taken up this sport with their roller skates, discover how it became part of urban culture before being part fashion world.






Urban culture comes from large urban areas. It brings together members who share a common way of life, way of thinking and who express their ideas during artistic or sporting events. The singularity of this culture can be found in the diversity of the art being part of it, such as visual art or musical art for example.

The first distinctive urban cultures appeared in the 1960s with urban sports and aerobics (where street work out comes from), then in the 1970s with hip-hop. All originally from the United States, they evolved in different contexts.



This urban culture was created by Los Angeles City Council to promote the wellbeing of its residents. The body cult is the foundation of aerobic, and this culture benefited from a favourable environment : the appearance myth, initiated by Hollywood stars. California communities have therefore developed circuits in the city centre, such as the famous Venice Muscle Beach and its bicycle path along the waterfront. Find this place in your 10 favorite roller skate spots around the world.



@venice beach productions & @gary gallerie



In contrast to aerobic, urban sport was born from a spontaneous movement: "roll-surfing". It's a spin-off from surfing, but on the road. This culture includes urban sports on wheels such as skateboarding, roller skating and scootering. Thanks to technological innovations, this urban culture have been very quickly inspired a commercial approach.



Hip-hop began on the United States East Coast, more specifically in New York's Bronx district. It reflects the protest movements that emerged during social tensions in the 1970s and 1980s. This urban culture brings together 4 ways of expression. First of all, there is graffiti, a technique that uses spray paint. Then there is the "DJ'ing" which is a way to mix music. We also find the "MC'ing", at the origin of rap, which consists of singing in a talkative way. And finally hip-hop dance, composed of movements inspired by martial arts and gymnastics.

Whether spontaneous or organized, with commercial or social ambitions, urban culture
affects all population categories and is constantly evolving. Initially imagined as an alternative approach, it has become a mass culture.


@Micaiah Carter




Even though the first roller skates appeared in the 18th century, roller skates as we know them today only became popular from the 20th mid century.


/The 60s - 70s

The roller skating practice is prior to the urban sports culture. The first democratization of skating came with the "roll surf". It is the modern skateboard, ancestor, made of a small surfboard with roller skate trucks. At the same time, the first legends of urban sports invented the roller skating and skateboarding practice in bowls such as empty pools. (Re)discover its origins in the Skateboard Madness documentary or in Dogtown Lords film. It was also during this period that the first urban sports brand appeared, such as Vans and DC Shoes.


//The 80s - 90s

The second roller skate democratization occurred in the 80s and 90s. Skating has strongly inspired hip hop thanks to the roller rink. These indoor roller skate dance floors hosted the first concerts, because no structure wanted to promote this new form of musical expression. For the story, rapper Dr Dre started as a DJ mixing in one of these places. (Re)discover in the United Skates documentary, the social role of roller rink in the Black American community.

With the modern in-line skate invention by the Olson brothers, the democratization process continued. In France, while practicing groups such as the Roller Team la Défense or the Roller Team 340 were created, the first websites appeared ( and It is also during this period, that the roller skating passion was born for the Flaneurz founders, (re)read the "rolleristic" origins of the Clique.



@AS Team Reims


/The 2000s until today

Roller skating continues to be an essential part of urban culture, particularly with international events such as FISE, but also with a strong impact on the public imagination and in the medias. Check the video clips of Chet Faker with "Gold" and Ofenbach with "Paradise" or the Bliss movie and the TV series Soy Luna. Flaneurz is also part of this cultural continuity by offering you a chic and innovative urban transport mean. The Clique also brings life to the roller community through roller parties or pop-up stores.

As a link between past, present and future, roller skating continues to be part of our common history. Follow Flaneurz on social networks (Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest) and share this urban culture with us.