In their attempts to get one step ahead of rival manufacturers in what is universally agreed to be one of the most competitive of all footwear markets, producers of trainers have never hesitated to experiment with novel designs.

As a result the world has already experienced the golden trainer and the road safety trainer with either reflectors or miniature light bulbs built into the heel. Now it is the turn of the trainer on wheels.

Under the slogan: "Why run when you could fly" these sports shoes made their UK debut at a trade fair in Harrogate earlier this month where they were hailed as the next craze after the portable mini-scooter, and equally appealing for those who want to get around town in a hurry.

For although the Roller Trainers were introduced to store buyers at an event devoted principally to toys, the company marketing them insists that these are not children's playthings but serious adult footwear. In fact J & M Enterprises offer this new style only in fittings for grown-up feet - from sizes five to nine.

By Sonia Roberts