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Roller skates are the new must-have item thanks to this TikToker

Ana Coto, who has been roller-skating for the last three years, has been credited with sparking the latest demand in roller skates.
Ana Coto
Ana Coto.Courtesy Ana Coto

While roller-skating around Los Angeles during quarantine, Ana Coto's boyfriend confessed he'd never heard Jennifer Lopez's music.

So Coto started playing J.Lo's "Jenny From the Block" on her phone, and as she effortlessly glided on her skates down an empty California road, her boyfriend recorded her.

In late April, Coto uploaded the video to TikTok, where it got millions of views, like dozens of her other roller-skating videos.

"I'm flattered. I do not take it lightly and to be honest, this isn't not something that I've always wanted and dreamt of," Coto told NBC News of the recent attention. "This makes me feel very proud that this is what I'm known for now."

In the wake of an increase in viral videos of blissful roller skaters soaring down streets and gliding around empty parking lots during the coronavirus quarantine, interest in the hobby has spiked.

And Coto, who has been roller-skating for the last three years, has been credited with being a major source of inspiration for the surge.

On Twitter, users bemoan that they're either waiting on their roller skates to arrive in the mail or that they're unable to obtain a pair because they're largely sold out.

TikTok personality Zahra tweeted: "fell in love w that viral video of that cute girl roller-skating to jenny from the block & now i’m investing in my own pair of cute roller skates & i will be as cute as her by the end of quarantine i am speaking it into existence."

Popular roller-skate shops like Moxi Skates and Impala told BuzzFeed News, which first reported on the roller-skating trend, that they've experienced an uptick in sales.

"Demand has definitely been off the charts, and we have been hustling to keep all sizes and colors in stock," an Impala spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.

A search for the term "roller skates" on Google Trends shows a recent spike in interest starting around mid-to-late April — approximately the same time Coto's J.Lo video was racking up millions of views.

Coto, an actress and dancer, said she was formerly a ballerina, but because of an injury she has had to limit her dancing.

"The roller-skating came as a response, I think, to plenty of things but as it correlates to my dancing, I had spent several years not dancing," she said. "I was an ex-ballerina, a former dancer, and a few years went by where I didn't dance and I really missed it."

Without dance in her life, Coto said her health and wellness began to take a backseat. But after a friend had a dream that Coto would excel at roller-skating, the former dancer gave it a try — only to find she was not inherently gifted at it.

However, Coto was determined and stuck with roller-skating until she was doing it more days than she wasn't.

She said skating soon took the place of dancing, "so I think it really helped me progress quickly. It's funny that it's a trend now because it doesn't happen quickly. It does take a lot of time."

She added that when people ask her for tips, she recommends taking a dance class, even if it's online.

Coto said seeing the number of people she's inspired is exciting.

"I've been dying to release [my own] skate," Coto said. "I'm sort of in the beginning talks with some people about trying to make that happened, so fingers crossed."