Having been working on their product for eighteen years, Segway have now come out with their portable, durable, and safe Segway shoes. Although we’re fans of the Segway tech, we’ve only recently decided to invest in the famed Drift W1s feet hoverboards. Now we’ve got our hands (feet?) on them, we’re going to let you know exactly what we think of them and whether we recommend you investing in them.
Before diving into those details…
Do you know the inspiring origin story of Segway?
One day, Dean Kamen watched a young man struggling to get up onto the sidewalk in his wheelchair. Being an inventor, this got Kamen thinking about the element of balance being at the heart of designing any structure. Taking this on board, along with his team, Kamen went about creating a mobility device that would help users get up stairs and over uneven surfaces with ease.
Segway comes from the word segue, meaning a smooth transition between states. Their device can turn a simple pedestrian into an empowered commuter, allowing users to travel further and faster than by simple walking.
So, What is the Segway Drift W1?
Basically, the Drift W1 are a pair of stylish shoes that attach to your feet or shoes and have an elasticated band for easy carrying. They weigh in at just 7.7lbs (3.5kg), meaning it’s really easy to carry them around with you on your travels.
The system is self-balancing, enabled by microprocessors – gyroscopic sensors along with a set of sophisticated tilt sensors makes these Segways able to easily maintain your balance. As the user, all you have to do is steer by shifting around your body weight and leaning into corners. The array of sensors will pick up on even the slightest tilt and adjust the wheels at the right speed and move you forward.
Time to Dive into the Features of the Drift W1
Segway Drift W1 has been optimised for a powerful performance and they can get your going up to 12mph, depending on where you’re using them and the weight being put on them. On hard and flat terrain with a rider of around 130lbs, it should be easy to hit the maximum speed offered.
What about rainy days?
You can use these Segway e-skates in pretty much any weather because they have an IP54 rated protection system. IP is a standardized test which checks how well electronic devices perform when exposed to stuff like water, dirt, non-corrosives etc. The measure of IP54 means that the Drift W1s aren’t going to be affected by water spray from any direction. In short, this means they’re rated as water resistant and aren’t going to go skidding on slippery surfaces.
Can I get them for my kids?
Segway say that their latest piece of kit can be used by kids from 6 years of age and up, so they’re perfect for the whole family. You need to make sure your kid is more than 22lbs (10kg) and that any user is less than 220lbs (100kg). It’s worth noting that riders on the heavier side are going to struggle to hit the high speeds and might not find it as easy to maneuver themselves. Might be worth pulling out the running shoes for a little while before donning the hover shoes.
Will I fall flat on my face?
Included in the design is an anti-slip foot mat which should give you plenty of grip; Segway say this should minimize your chances of falling down. The foot mat should keep you comfortable as well as protecting you from slipping. Bear in mind, the Drift W1s don’t have anything to fasten them to your feet or shoes so it’s all down to the foot mat to keep you in place. This might sound a little daunting, but it’s also a great safety measure since you can jump off if there’s an emergency.
How long does the battery last?
On a full charge, you should get a good 45 minutes out of them, depending on stuff like your weight, the surface you’re on, if you’re going uphill, how fast you want to go, etc. There’s a dual charging function which means charging time is slashed in half and you get a split charging cable as standard. It’ll take around 3 hours to get them fully juiced and once they’re ready to go there’s smart battery management built in, making battery use more efficient with an auto wake/sleep function too. Without use, the Segway Drift W1s will go from 100% to 30% over 180 days in storage.
What’s the app like?
Sadly, like most Segway products, they don’t have a smartphone app to pair up with. Might be for the best, especially when you need to watch where you’re going as you learn how to use them.
Our Segway Drift W1 Experience
Our eternal child of an editor, Igor, was super excited to get his feet on these when they landed in the office. Here’s his thoughts on them:
“These are fantastic to ride! You do have to be super careful to find the perfect position for your feet so that you can get your body balanced right to be able to steer. When you lose balance, you’re going to fall over, as the bruises on my body can attest! To get the most out of them, find yourself a flat surface, even if this requires a little planning and travelling it’s really going to make a difference to your experience to be on the right surface.
They look cool and definitely look like something out of the future. For sure, it’s an experience when you first get on them after seeing them and thinking “how on Earth will I do this?”. It was breathtaking once I got the hang of them, a truly unbelievable experience. Here’s a pro tip, when you want to slow down bend your knees: you’ll keep your balance and are much less likely to fall over.”
Really well manufactured
Lightweight, easy to carry around
Eco-friendly – the only emissions are from the charging process
Well designed to protect them from minor impacts
Really need to focus to get the hang of them
Safety kit doesn’t come as standard
Not robust against challenging terrain and major bumps
Not smartphone compatible
Only available in black and white
So, should you get rolling on a Segway Drift W1?
Of course, it’s always going to come down to your choice but there are some compelling things to really consider when making your decision. They are safer than hoverboards, and even safer than traditional roller-skates.
The manufacturer, Segway-Ninebot are a world leader in the personal electronic transportation field, the company is worth $1.5billion, and they operate in more than 80 countries globally – they know their stuff when it comes to safety. Another reassurance is the auto-balance system these e-skates have and their IP54 waterproof certification, making them one of the safest bits of kit from the company. They’re also cool and stylish and are great for adults and kids alike, no matter the weather. You’ll get a better experience using them indoors, on flat surfaces ideally, in these conditions you’ll have an absolute blast.
From our first peek at them, we loved them. The first few rides had some bumps and falls, but we were able to get used to them pretty quickly. If you’re in the market for an innovative, personal, mobile transportation device, look no further than the Segway Drift W1. If you’re convinced, pick them up for $449 and once you get the hang of them you won’t want to ever get off them!