Today is Back to the Future day, so to celebrate, let’s have a look back at some of the most influential outdoor gear of the 1980’s - and how it compares to what is available in 2015!

1980: Two brothers created the very first Rollerblades in 1980, after they discovered a pair of modified hockey boots. Replacing the underfoot metal frame with a row of wheels was an inspired design choice, with rollerblades rapidly increasing in popularity and it was also included in the very first X Games, 15 years later, in 1995. Rollerblades were one of the first ‘human attached’ transport devices, and are still in use now. Sadly, we do not yet have hoverboards, with one of the latest advancements in this area being the recently released Monorover.

1982: Originally designed to measure the change in heart rate of athletes during training in comparison to pre and post-exercise, the very first wireless, wearable heart-rate monitor was launched in 1982. The device was built with the same design as a watch, with a strap being attached to the user’s wrist. In 2015, wearable tech is one of the most popular things around, with smartwatches being one of the latest innovations which gives you access to a number of handy tools without even having to use your smartphone. The ‘Samsung Gear’ and the ‘Apple Watch’ are two of the most popular additions.

1983: Messenger bags were not a new innovation in the 1980’s, but they were vastly approved upon from its predecessor in the 1950’s. John Peters improved De Martini’s invention in many crucial ways, making it more durable, lighter and easily visible – which only helped to boost its popularity.

1984: The ‘Vasque Sundowner’ was one of the first boots to use cement to connect the sole and (leather) upper, a far cry from the previously used stitching. This pair was also the first to have a single-piece leather upper – which when combined with the swap to cement, made the boot more flexible and lighter. This boot was revolutionary, and even now, 31 years on, is still in production.

The world’s first remote burner was also created in 1984, with its primary purpose to melt snow for drinking water at high altitude, to try and prevent the rise of Acute Mountain Sickness – which was caused by dehydration. The ‘MSR Whisperlite Stove’ was a lot quieter than the previous model, which many complained was simply too loud.

1985: The first ABS (avalanche airbag) device was created during this year, which was effectively a ‘balloon bag’, worn like a backpack with a cable pull – parachute-esque! The bag was inflated with 150 litres of nitrogen and was used primarily by mountaineers.

1987: Something which is commonly used today in a number of sports, including Formula 1 and by a number of extreme sports enthusiasts, helmet cam was first used in 1987. Attaching a Panasonic VHS portable video recorder to the side of a motorbike helmet might not sound like the best of ideas, but that’s what Mark Schulze did to help him create mountain bike videos. Nowadays, a GoPro is often used as a way to record oneself from their point of view, which can result in some thrilling videos.

1988: The Teva Hurricane was created by Mark Thatcher, a Grand Canyon river guide, who wanted a sandal that combined excellent grip, quick drying and a secure fit. The result was the world’s first ‘sport sandal’, using rubber as well as nylon straps which secured the ankle and mid foot – to ensure that it would not be dislodged during any physical activity. You can check out our Teva Hurricane sandals here, which have a webbing upper, rubber outsole, nylon shank and a shoc pad in the heel.

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