Zipping Along in Asphalt Heaven

Heaven An upstart Minnesota company, Rollerblade, streaks to success

Liberation. Exhilaration. The feeling of euphoria -- and a hint of danger. For enthusiasts like Rafael Roig, 29, a New York City writer, a sleek new breed of roller skates can inspire rhapsodies. The wheeled wonders are called Rollerblades, and sales are hot. Unlike conventional skates, with their side- by-side wheel configuration, "in-line" blades have a single row of polyurethane rollers. More like ice skates than the clunky wheels of roller rinks past, the blades are faster and more maneuverable. Says writer Roig: "At certain moments, I do have the feeling of ecstasy."

John Sundet, chief executive of Roller-blade Inc., shares...