Did you fall for the latest fashion craze for retro lace-up shoes? Have the laces caught in your chain, or have you struggled to undo them when they got wet and muddy? Have you had to endure the ribbing of the old skool crew who “told you so”? Then the triathlete’s favourite, elastic laces, might be the answer to your woes.
Elasticated laces have been popular with our tri cousins for years, helping reduce those all important transition times. So how do they work within a gravel context?
I really like the comfort of the Shimano XC5 SPD shoes which I reviewed earlier in 2018, but one thing I never got on with was the laces. They slacken off during rides, come loose, wrap in your chain… Arrgh.
Sling the laces not the lace-ups
Rather than consign the shoes to the back of the wardrobe for eternity, I took the drastic view that maybe the tri-gang were on to something after all. With over 3 million pairs of stretchy laces sold worldwide, htere’s a chance they might actually work maybe they actually work. And at £6.99 a pair, it’s not exactly going to break the bank if they don’t.
In the packet you’ll find a pair of elastic laces ready to be cut to size. The patented ‘lace lock’ and a couple of cord clips to pop on the end of your trimmed laces complete the package. Thread them through the eyelets of your shoes, just like a conventional lace and cut off the excess. (Grab a lighter and give the ends a quick burn to stop them fraying), fix the clips, and you’re good to go.
Lock and… Go!
So what are they like? Well… to some they might suggest you never quite grasped how to tie your laces. Others might spot them, assume you’re a triathlete and steer well clear. Whatever….at least there’s a huge range of colours to choose from, so you can be as zany or conservative as you like.
My main concern was that the laces would slacken off during a ride, but this fear was never realised. The lace lock offers adjustable tension and clamps so tightly that slippage isn’t a concern. The added benefit of the Lock Lace is that you can easily adjust the tension on the fly. Try doing that with conventional laces!
When traditional laces get wet, they quickly become waterlogged and slacken off in no time at all. Lock Laces however, are water resistant and also cope well with muddy conditions. The lock is a simple sprung design and, as there are very few components, even gritty mud hasn’t caused me any problems.
The elasticated lace offers stretch fit comfort. This is generally welcome on long rides or on long hike-a-bike sections. During riding, the elastic stretch generally goes unnoticed, but they fare less well for out of the saddle sprints or on tough climbs. Pulling up your foot on the upstroke is enough to make them ‘give’ a little. Just enough to put you off your, err… stroke. It’s subtle but unless you are used to clamping your feet tight in your shoes and chasing Strava KoMs, you probably won’t notice anything.
On the whole they have been a positive upgrade for my lace-up shoes, making them a lot more usable. And after a ride, it’s a cinch to release the locks and slip off the shoes. No more swearing over knotted laces!
If you’ve a pair of lace-up shoes and are frustrated with those all tassels, give these Lock Laces a go. The elastic stretch won’t appeal to everyone, but for less than a tenner you’d be daft not to give them a go.
Last modified: 7th December 2018