Caterpy: Behind the Bumps
If you wear Caterpy laces in your sneakers (which, if you’re reading this blog post, there’s a good chance you do), you likely find yourself looking at everyone’s feet either a) looking for Caterpy Laces or b) wondering why people are even still tying their shoes. #IFYKYK
With such an iconic looking product you might wonder where the idea for this unique design even came from. Sure, there are other no-tie lace products out there, but none have the look, quality, or ability to customize quite like Caterpy. I caught up with Executive Director and Managing Partner of Caterpy US, Anthony Pong to talk about the history of this innovative product and learn a little bit more about the heart and soul of its inner workings.
"Pong” as he is known to most people, starts his day around 6:00 am with a strong cup of coffee (this is a theme throughout the day) and probably a spreadsheet of some sort (also a theme). This ramen loving, tennis playing, 29-year-old and his small US based team are responsible for making Caterpy the wild success it is not only in the United States, but now globally as well. And while it did not start with him, a love of innovation, quality, and friendship have been the driving forces in his and the company’s success.
Before Caterpy’s launch in Japan in 2013, developer Takashi Kajiwara (Kaji) was simply out to solve a problem. In many Asian cultures removing one’s shoes before entering a home or even business is customary. Kaji’s son, 11 years old at the time, would remove his shoes by stepping on the back of the heel and then of course would have to take time to untie the laces before being able to put the shoe on again. Noticing the heel of the shoe was enduring excessive wear and tear, not to mention the time it took to get out the door, Kaji wanted to solve the problem of shoes with laces….FAST.
He started by tying evenly spaced knots throughout the lace to secure at each eyelet, but the lack of flexibility was problematic. Enter elasticity. After many prototype iterations the strength of the signature “bump” and elastic tension were perfected. Also a marathoner, Kaji was interested in the potential benefits of foot health in relation to laces that flexed with foot movement. As we now know, the benefits of Caterpy laces on foot and overall health are exponential; ranging from tension customization for support and circulation, to helping those with disabilities put their shoes on with ease. It’s safe to say the original mission of Caterpy has been a success. However, Kaji and Pong aren’t stopping there.
As an innovative elastics company, the future of Caterpy is ever expanding, and the bump technology continues to reveal applications and benefits in many arenas. Already available are Caterpy Cords, Hair Ties, Hair Bands, and Air Laces. The bumps and perfected elastic tension maintain the integrity of the elastic over time and make the product nearly impossible to tangle. “The application of the technology seems endless, so it’s hard to nail down the next product. Currently we are working towards drawstrings in clothing, dog leashes, and a few others I can’t really say right now,” Pong says while he sips his afternoon coffee.
If you didn’t before, you most certainly will now find yourself looking at everyone’s shoelaces. I can tell you that from personal experience, once you use Caterpy laces there is no going back. With color options to match virtually any shoe, and unrivaled quality in material and design, there is only one no-tie shoelace brand you should use. Caterpy. Feel the Difference.
Amy is the Social Media Coordinator for Caterpy US and an avid Bump Technology Enthusiast. When she was stopped in the Atlanta Airport on her way to the 2019 Erie Marathon to talk about her shoelaces she knew this product was more than just a convenient no-tie lace, rather the most stylish of unsuspecting community bridges.