It's an inspired marketing idea, certainly. And if you've ever seen young kids - and we do mean young - suddenly break into a skate in those shoes, you know how cool it can be.
But an increasing number of stores and other public establishments are banning the things - or at least the skating. Part of it is a concern for the kids themselves, and for other patrons they might run into. Watchdog groups report increases in concussions and fractures as use of the skate shoes increases.
But part of it, too, has to be a fear of lawsuits.
Again, we're amazed the shoes' design ever got past the legal department to begin with, but it's also a sad statement that business owners have to be afraid for their own wallets because of the free and voluntary application of the shoes, called "heelys."
If these things are going to stick around, maybe we need laws expressly protecting business owners from liability. It should be a matter of mere common sense - though it's probably not - that if a parent allows a kid to wear such a thing, and he or she gets hurt, that it's certainly not a store owner's fault!