If you plan to take on a toy line with an established brand that’s been around for almost 25 years, you need to bring something new to the playroom. For Hot Wheels, hoping to take on Tech Deck’s miniature skateboards, that involves partnering with Tony Hawk and introducing tiny finger-worn skate shoes. Sorry, what?
Believe it or not, tiny skateboards can actually trace their heritage back to the late ‘60s, with tiny skateboard keychains being sold to dedicated cube gleamers at skate shops, while the mid-’80s popularised the sport of fingerboarding (it’s a real thing!) and brought tiny decks specifically designed and built for competition. One of the most popular lines to date, and one of the first to licence the art and graphics from real skateboard brands, was Tech Deck, which is still making fingerboards almost 25 years after its launch (but it is now owned by Canada’s Spin Master). Tech Deck is undoubtedly the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions fingerboarding, but Mattel and Hot Wheels want to change that.
Although Tony Hawk, and his company Birdhouse, have teamed up with Tech Deck in the past for themed finger decks and playsets, the iconic skateboarding legend is now working with Mattel to promote its new Hot Wheels Skate line, which more or less look similar to Tech Deck’s products, with working trucks and wheels joining custom artwork on the underside and grip tape on the top. Also, don’t forget that Hot Wheels logo.
What sets the Hot Wheels Skate line apart from Tech Deck is the inclusion of tiny fingertip skate shoes that physically clip onto the tiny decks. Learning fingerboarding tricks is not quite as hard as learning to do real skateboarding tricks, but it’s also not easy, and the tiny shoes clipped onto the tiny decks supposedly make it easier for novices to learn and successfully perform tricks.
The basic Hot Wheels Skate assortment that includes a single deck and a pair of finger shoes will sell for $US3 ($4) each, while pricier $US6 ($8) Hot Wheels Skate Collector Series packs add an exclusive matching Hot Wheels vehicle. A $US12 ($17) Hot Wheels Skate multi-pack will also be available that includes four fully-assembled fingerboards (Tech Deck’s offerings often require assembly) plus two pairs of skate shoes.
For those completely sold on the idea of tiny skate shoes making fingerboarding more accessible and inviting, Mattel is also releasing accompanying playsets. These include a collection of $US15 ($21) a piece Hot Wheels Skate Drop-in Skate Sets that can be collected and combined to create larger skate parks, plus a $US30 ($42) Hot Wheels Skate Amusement Park Skate Set with a half-pipe that includes buttons to trigger “rad music and sounds” (fingers crossed that includes Motörhead’s Ace Of Spades) and other obstacles like rails, ramps, and surfaces for grinding.