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'Heeling' - The Latest Sensation In Transportation

'Heeling' - The Latest Sensation In Transportation Taking New Zealand By Storm

A new craze in 'people moving' has hit New Zealand streets with the arrival of HEELYS - athletic street shoes with a pop-out wheel in each heel that transforms the fashionable street footwear into a high speed mode of transport.

Having sold over 2.5 million pairs in five continents and 46 countries, through parent company Heeling Sport Ltd, the HEELYS phenomenon has now arrived in New Zealand.

Demand for the trendy skate shoes has forced the New Zealand distributors, Zenophile Ltd, to partner with the Stirling Sports chain as nationwide retailers. Zenophile Ltd General Manager Andrew Hoobin says on the day the first shipment of HEELYS arrived in New Zealand there were people waiting outside the company's Auckland retail shop.

"We've done very little to promote the fact we're stocking HEELYS, yet word of mouth seems to have spread like wildfire as we're fielding calls from around the country every day!"

HEELYS have acquired a cult like following in the US and parts of Asia - in Korea alone sales leapt from 4000 pairs per month to 40,000 pairs per month within a year.

In New Zealand HEELYS have been quickly adopted by urban youths who skate and roller blade. One of the first Kiwis to trial HEELYS was sixteen year old Jesse James Kealey who discovered the shoes on a US website. Since getting his hands on a pair Jesse has taken the product to their limits - reaching speeds of approx 70 km per hour heeling down a hill in Hamilton.

"Heeling is like nothing else I've ever tried, it's like a fluid extension of walking or running and it's wicked being able to perform jumps and tricks without a board. It's great being able to freak security guards out by skating past and they can't confiscate your board," says Jessie.

Heeling is easy to master... by kicking off on one toe and balancing the opposing heel... Heelys wearers, or "heelers" can go from a walk to a roll to a freeform glide, simply by shifting their weight to the heel.

HEELYS are now available throughout New Zealand at Stirling Sports and from Zenophile in Auckland for the recommended retail price of $249 a pair.

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