The world has evolved into a sea of slip-ons. We used to lace all kinds of shoes, from desert boots to LL Bean duck boots, but today, people like me, we just don’t want to tie our shoes. So we have found these great devices and or just switched to all slip-ons. Here are two solutions to this problem of shoe tying. Caterpy – The Ultimate No Tie Shoelaces $9.99
Caterpy– Do you have a runner on your list? Or anyone who hates fooling around with laces? Check out Caterpy! No athlete likes to fumble around with shoelaces, so stuff their stocking with no-tie Caterpy Laces! A marathon runner created Caterpy Laces with elastic bump technology which turns your favorite existing tie shoes into slip ons and eliminates the problem of laces coming untied. The bumps also allow you to customize tension at every eyelet row to match your foot shape. Just lace the shoes as you normally would, adjust the tension at each eyelet row and the bumps hold the laces in place with no need to tie a knot at the top. The customized tension also allows for better blood circulation to the feet which is helpful as they swell during activity. . Caterpy Laces come in a variety of bright and fun colors that are also great for kids! They can be found online, on Amazon or in retail stores across the nation
Tired of stopping your active lifestyle to always have to tie your shoes? This is where the shoelaces by Caterpy need to be on your holiday shopping list. The laces are easy to use, come in a wide variety of colors, and require no tying, at all. You’ll be able to continue in your sports without the worry of having to stop all the time to tie your laces over and over again.
From the manufacturer: No one likes to fumble around with shoelaces before or after a session, so make coming and going easier with no-tie Caterpy Laces! A runner created Caterpy Laces with elastic bump technology which turns your favorite existing athletic tie shoes into slip ons. The bumps also allow you to customize tension at every eyelet row to match your foot shape. Just lace the shoes as you normally would, adjust the tension at each eyelet row and the bumps hold the laces in place with no need to tie a knot at the top. The customized tension also allows for better blood circulation to the feet which is helpful as they swell during activity. The laces are one size fits all, so once the fit is perfect, any extra lace can be cut off or tucked back in. Caterpy Laces come in a variety of bright and fun colors! They can be found online, on Amazon or in retail stores across the nation.
Elastic bump technology holds customized tension throughout all eyelets. Caterpy Laces strives to solve all shoelace issues. These issues range from inconsistency of tension throughout the shoe, lack of adaptivity for different foot shapes and inconvenience of tying laces. Caterpy Laces are the only no-tie shoelaces that are approved by sports medicine doctors and podiatrists. Perfect for convenience and performance.
EVERYDAY SHOELACES GOOD FOR:
Our elastic laces improve your feet’s blood circulation as they naturally swell throughout the day. Knots from traditional laces create choking points and constrict your feet.
Caterpy laces can convert your favorite shoes into slip-ons. Lace up once and customize your perfect fit. There’s no need to readjust laces everyday!
Our patented elastic bump technology secures tension in each row of the shoe. This secures your shoe on your feet better than relying on a single knot or plastic piece.
Strong outer nylon sheath designed to flex and last through the toughest conditions that out lasts any of our competitors.
Innovative inner rubber core that will provide you the tension strength for the perfect fit you desire.
Caterpy is the only no tie shoelace approved by podiatrist and sport medicine doctors.
With shoes on, insert laces as you would with traditional laces. Lace up. Start loose and tighten to comfort.
With the excess lace you may choose to leave them out of the eyelets or tuck them into the laces or your shoe. No need to tie.
Do you know a runner, walker, hiker, gym fanatic, sport fanatic, or kid? All of those people need and wear shoelaces, so why not give them a practical gift this year? Caterpy Laces are the number one selling no-tie shoelaces on the market. These laces are different than other no-tie laces because of their bump technology. This design allows the laces to hold customized tension through each and every eyelet. Caterpy Laces offer comfort, performance, and convenience; and they’re the only no-tie shoe lace that are approved by podiatrist and sport medicine doctors.
Turn your kids’ favorite existing tie shoes into slip ons with Caterpy Laces. The elastic bump technology allows you to customize tension at every eyelet row to match your child’s foot shape. Just lace the shoes as you normally would, adjust the tension at each eyelet row and the bumps hold the laces in place with no need to tie a knot at the top. The customized tension also allows for better blood circulation to the feet which is helpful as they swell during activity. The laces are one size fits all and come in a large variety of colors too.
Having two young children who constantly need me to help them tie their shoes can be quite time consuming and inconvenient on a day to day basis. Even with velcro shoes being an option, sometimes, my kids prefer the traditional shoe laced ones. I know there are modern shoes that create no shoe laces and can just slip them on, but the fits don’t adjust to accommodate all certain feet types. The beauty of Caterpy is that any shoe lace type shoe can be modified for the perfect fit. I am very impressed by the technology of it.
New Technology Using Bumps
Caterpy is a company that designs elastic laces to help the blood in our feet circulate better. With their new technology, they move the way our feet needs— such as being too restrictive or choking the feet. There is a major plus side in using Caterpy laces, because they can turn our laced shoes into slip ons! There would then be no need for tying knots as the Caterpy laces move with the feet tension as needed.
How To Incorporate Them
The way Caterpy laces work is that they have an elastic bump through the lace that secures tension in each row of the shoe. The shoe then is secured to the feet more reliably than having shoe laces that tie together. Caterpy laces are nylon and stretch pretty well. You would receive a thirty inch length pair of laces. The store carries twenty two different colors depending on your mood. They have an inside rubber core that provides the tension for the shoe lace.
When you draw them through your shoe, you can choose whether you would like a tighter or looser fit. This is done by creating the tension desired from the shoe lace. For styling options, you can leave the ends of the laces tucked into your shoes or just hanging out. You would cut them at the ends to your comfort level. What is recommended is to leave at least two or three bumps out of the last eyelet and then cut between the bump.
Caterpy laces compared to other lace brands out there have shown to out last them. They also do not fray past a bump, as well as being approved by podiatrist and sports medicine doctors.
Anthony Pong from Caterpy Laces. Find out more about the Caterpy – The Ultimate No Tie Shoelaces by reading the description below or clicking on the button.
“No athlete has time to fumble around with shoelaces, especially busy women. One runner got fed up with traditional laces and created no-tie Caterpy Laces!
Caterpy Laces feature elastic bump technology which allows you to customize tension at every eyelet row to match your foot shape. Just lace the shoes as you normally would, adjust the tension at each eyelet row and the bumps hold the laces in place with no need to tie a knot at the top or worry about laces coming untied. The customized tension allows for better blood circulation to the feet, especially as they swell during activity.
Caterpy Laces come in a variety of bright and fun colors. Once they are inserted in the shoes and you find your most comfortable fit, the ends can be cut to the perfect length to tuck back into the laces or leave out.”
When it’s time to get out the door for school in the morning, nobody has time to fumble around with shoelaces or recover from a “I can’t tie my shoelaces” meltdown. Turn their existing tie-shoes into slip-ons with Caterpy Laces! Caterpy Laces feature elastic bump technology which allows you to customize tension at every eyelet row to match your foot shape.
Just lace the shoes as you normally would, adjust the tension at each eyelet row and the bumps hold the laces in place with no need to tie a knot at the top.The customized tension also allows for better blood circulation to the feet. Available in a variety of bright and fun colors, the laces are one size fits all, so they are great for kids and adults! Once they are inserted in the shoes, the ends can be cut to the perfect length to tuck back into the laces or leave out.
Runners are constantly on the look out for new tech that might improve their running and recovery. These are some really useful gifts to up their jogs and runs, which will only make them more passionate about their favorite exercise.
Help them keep on top of their fitness gains with a Garmin fitness tracker, and improve recovery times with some high quality muscle salve. They’ll be surprised and appreciative of your insight, which makes gift giving just a perfect feeling.
Alternative lacing and fit systems now provide ease, precision and adaptability.
The upper of a running shoe often gets overlooked, or considered more about fashion than function. After all, its purpose is simply to hold the foot securely on the sole and stay out of the way as much as possible. But doing that is far more complicated than it may initially seem—given the variability between individuals in the shape of their feet, and the dynamic changes in foot shape throughout the stride.
The upper is also more important for performance than many think. A 2017 studyout of Brazil revealed that different shoe uppers created more consistently-measurable changes in runner’s biomechanics than different midsole materials. This doesn’t surprise Geoffrey Grey, who has observed in on-foot shoe testing at his Heeluxe lab in Santa Barbara that, when given two shoes that have identical soles but different uppers, runners experience the ride differently and will report that the shoes’ flexibility, cushioning, and stability are different.
The key to an effective upper is fit, and laces have traditionally been the cornerstone of personalized fit. For good reason: the simple lace, a strand of textile threaded through eyelets on each side of the shoe, is a remarkably adaptable solution. “A traditional lacing system is a very customizable system,” says Jon Teipen, senior manager of footwear product line management at Brooks. “The runner can adjust the tension from the bottom of the eye stay all the way to the top. The runner can also skip eyeholes to reduce pressure or avoid hot spots on the foot or utilize the top eyehole for the heel lock lacing.” Some play with the eyelets and lacing more than others. Golden Harper, co-founder of Altra Footwear, says, “When fitting shoes, I personally customize the lacing to over half the people I fit.”
Traditional laces are slow and cumbersome, however, leading some designers to select alternatives like a pull-cord lacing system. “The key advantages of Salomon’s Quicklace system is in the enhanced foothold and security it provides,” says Brent James, global product line manager for road run at Salomon. “Additionally, it’s quick and easy to tighten or loosen the shoes with Quicklace, so that you can efficiently swap footwear or adjust the fit without having to stop for long. They also don’t hold any water, offer a sleek aesthetic and won’t loosen over time compared to traditional laces.” Dynafit also uses quick lacing for ease and simplicity in tightening the shoe, particularly on their several models where they cover the laces and tongue with a stretch mesh to protect from wear and tear and keep debris out of the shoe.
Traditional laces also fail when they inevitably come untied, and they lack precision in tightness. Who hasn’t had the experience of tying and retying your laces and still not getting them quite right? Eliminating this is the goal of BOA fit systems. “What we want you to do is completely forget about your shoe,” says Clark Morgan, account manager and run and athletic fit specialist at BOA. “Instead of feeling frustrated—not as tight as it should be, too tight in one place. You’re in the corral and the shoe is not as tight as it should be—but laces are double tied, nothing you can do about it. The last thing you should be thinking about 45 seconds before a race are things that are limiting.”
The BOA system uses a ratcheted dial to tighten a thin, light textile cord in precise increments, allowing you to get the same, exact, reliable fit every time. The cord isn’t a replacement for laces but part of a fit system that snugs custom-designed uppers over your foot. “We have no intention of taking a pre-existing shoe and plopping BOA on top of it. That is not what we do,” says Morgan. “Think of it less as BOA closing the shoe but empowering the upper designed for the shoe. We work deeply with the brands to create a fit system for high performance usage.”
The BOA Fit System gains precision, however, at the cost of losing the adaptability of traditional laces. “The drawbacks are that the lace/cable can create pressure points for some people,” says Teipen. “Also, it can be challenging to fine tune the fit between the upper and lower part of the foot.” Runners with mainstream-shaped feet probably won’t have any trouble, but if, for example, your toes are longer than most, or you have a narrow instep and wide ball, you have no option to adjust the position or tightness over distinct parts of the foot.
BOA’s newest collaboration with New Balance, the Fresh Foam Hierro BOA, takes a big step toward solving this with separate dials controlling the tension on the top and bottom half of the closure system. In our initial testing, PodiumRunner found that the dual system provided a new level of precision fit that worked even for difficult-to-fit feet, and made the Heirro feel more nimble on the trail by being simultaneously more supportive and more flexible than the same shoe with traditional laces.
If comfort and adaptability are more important for you than control, Caterpy laces provide another new option. These stretchy laces use rubber nodules to control how they slide through a shoe’s eyelets, allowing for variable tension on each crossing—as well as a consistent, slip-on fit. “Our laces customize fitting to the user’s foot shape, which provides more foot-to-sole contact in a performance setting,” says Anthony Pong, managing partner at Caterpy Laces. Initial experimentation has indeed made some finicky-fitting shoes far more comfortable for the PodiumRunner staff, who also have enjoyed the convenience of the Caterpy-adapted shoes. Harper says, “Systems like Caterpy offer a nice balance of stretch, speed, and customization to a degree.”
Harper notes, however, “It remains to be seen if the consumer in general is willing to handle the different aesthetic. If the goal is to make something the least amount of people dislike, you have to be really careful.” For many, the unusual look of alternative lacing is simply too much to ask. “Aesthetic is a key element,” Teipen agrees. “The lace needs to complement the overall design of the shoe. A flat lace or a round lace can work equally well, and patterns in the lace can bring extra interest to the shoe.” Image does matter—but if an alternative shoe-closure method can make a shoe more comfortable, perform better, and provide peace on the starting line or a technical trail, we’re willing to look a bit weird.
Put in Caterpy laces as you would with traditional shoelaces, there’s no extra hardware to install. You just lace up once and never need to touch your laces again. The laces can be taken out and reused for multiple pairs of shoes.
Caterpy Laces Elastic bump technology holds customized tension throughout all eyelets. Caterpy Laces strives to solve all shoelace issues. These issues range from inconsistency of tension throughout the shoe, lack of adaptivity for different foot shapes and inconvenience of tying laces. Caterpy Laces are the only no-tie shoelaces that are approved by sports medicine doctors and podiatrists. Perfect for convenience and performance.
Caterpy Custom Tension Shoelaces When it’s time to get out the door for school in the morning, functional footwear is a must. Don’t let messing with shoelaces slow you or the kids down. Turn their existing tie shoes, and yours, into slip ons with Caterpy Laces! Caterpy Laces feature elastic bump technology which allows you to customize tension at every eyelet row to match your foot shape. Just lace the shoes as you normally would, adjust the tension at each eyelet row and the bumps hold the laces in place with no need to tie a knot at the top. The customized tension also allows for better blood circulation to the feet. Caterpy Laces can be found at caterpylaces.com and amazon.com
I should start this review by admitting that I own a LOT of shoes. This isn’t necessarily a fashion statement, but more of a statement of how many shoe-specific things I do. I’m an active runner logging over 25-miles a week, I’m a fairly experienced hiker with a typical vacation encompassing over 50-miles and I’m involved in more than a few activities that involve other athletic shoes. I’ve had low-arch feet all of my life and I’ve learned over the course of time how important shoe choice is and how it can make the difference between enjoyment and pain.
A recent conversation with some of my running friends lead to a discussion of not only shoe importance, but lacing importance as well; and this led us to the new elastic lacing systems. There are a lot of choices on the market and quite honestly most of my running friends didn’t know where to begin. After a few google searches, we also realized that there were very few good comparison article available on-line and a lot of new choices in the market.
With that in mind I decided to reach out to what I consider to be the major players in the elastic lacing market to see if they would like to participate in this article. There are a lot of lower-priced options that I did not include, simply because the laces would be used for more than just walking around. With running and hiking involved, I want to be sure we were comparing the best and safest options the market has to offer.
This led us to three vendors: Caterpy, Xpand & Hickies. Each vendor takes a bit of a different approach to lacing systems and as you’ll see, each have areas where they stand out. Caterpy uses “elastic bump” technology with small bumps embedded in each lace. Xpand is the most normal-looking lace system with a small clip on the end of each lace…and Hickies are the most unique with stretchy bands that can simply connect across each eyelet from side-to-side.
All three lacing systems are roughly the same price; what equates to just under $10 for two shoes.
Methodology: With shoe laces being used in so many ways, I decided that I’d test the shoe lacing systems in different activities and in different shoes. I will test each of the lacing systems in simple casual shoes just used for walking and non-athletic activities. Next up I’ll test the lacing systems in pure running shoes in a running environment; and finally I’ll be testing the lacing systems in low-top hiking shoes as well as mid-height hiking shoes. For direct comparison purposes I will initially leave normal laces in one shoe and rotate the elastic lacing systems in the other shoe before setting up both shoes with the lacing systems. This should give me a good comparison and feel for how the lacing systems stack up against regular laces as well as each other.
Installation: The Caterpy and Xpand lacing systems install like a normal lace, however they are created to be one-size-fits-all, so once installed, they are each cut to length. For comparison purposes, I decided to start with the shoes requiring the longest laces first so I don’t run into an issue with the lace companies that only sent one pair. The Caterpy and Xpand systems both installed easily as long as you noted the path that your original laces followed. The Caterpy elastic bumps were a bit of a challenge in some smaller lace openings, but in the end that may have ultimately worked to their advantage as far as lace tension (more on that later). The Hickies bands also clipped on easily and did not require any cutting. The only issue that initially concerned me is that Hickies are sold in sets and many shoes have a different number of eyelet pairs (each requiring one Hickies band). I also noted that the some shoes don’t have a traditional eyelet and have more like a loop as an eyelet. This was an issue for the Hickies and while they worked, they didn’t seem to fit correctly in this type of eyelet even with the multiple installation options.
I strongly recommend NOT cutting any of your laces until you live with them for a day or so. I unintentionally set mine very tight and ended up loosening them. If you discover this after you cut, you may not have enough laces remaining to reach your last eyelets. Test them out for a few days, then cut when you’re happy with the length.
Non-Athletic Shoes: My typical daily kickers consist of retired running shoes or just regular sneakers, and while the shoes may be similar, the function is not. All three lacing systems offer a convenient improvement over lacing your shoes and having to tie the knot each time. It took a few tries to get used to pulling your shoes open and stretching the opening over your foot, but after that, you quickly get used to your shoes becoming slip-ons. For walking or general use like shopping, all three lacing felt secure and comfortable. For working in the yard, the Caterpy laces felt the most secure and safe. The Xpand laces felt good, but pushing the lawnmower made them feel like they stretched open a bit too much. The Hickies felt OK as well, but I did have one actually pop loose while pushing the lawnmower up the hill. Overall I’d say all three lacing systems were acceptable for daily use and perhaps light yard work.
Running: How these lacing systems performed in pure running shoes was how this article really started, so I’ll admit I pushed the laces a bit further and tested them for much longer while running. With different terrain, different weather and different shoes, I spent a lot more time testing all three systems. The lacing systems were subjected to sunny days, rainy days and both paved and dirt paths. I should also mention that my low-arch feet sweat quite a bit on hot days and longer runs, so all three lacing systems were wet at some point either by sweat or by rain. I’m also fussy with comfort, so I did have to adjust the tongue of the shoe for comfort after pushing my foot in on all three lacing systems. This has a lot to do with how easily your foot goes in and your technique for holding the tongue as you put the shoes on. I should also mention that I like my shoes just a bit on the loose-side when running so I don’t normally tie my shoes REALLY tight. I suspect this will be to my advantage with the elastic lacing systems, but it may not be how you like your running shoes tied (your mileage may vary).
My current running shoes are ASICS Gel Nimbus, Gel Kayano and Gel-Kahana shoes.
The Caterpy laces really excelled where running is concerned. The elastic bumps used on the Caterpy laces really seem to pull the sneakers more snug against your feet once you stretch them to put your foot inside. The bumps hold secure against the shoe eyelets with just enough stretch to feel secure, but just enough give to get your foot into the shoe. It’s a unique combination, but it worked well for me with little or no adjustment of the bumps with each run. I also noted that the Caterpy laces allowed me to even snug up the shoes a bit more if I wanted by puling additional bumps through the lace openings. Overall I think the Caterpy laces worked really well for running, even if you like your running shoes really tight and even if you’re running on a trail or non-paved surface. Over time I saw no degradation of the Caterpy laces from sweat, rain, dirt or exposure to sun.
The Xpand laces also worked well for running, however once again they were a little less tight and snug. The adjustment tab and lace design makes them a bit easier to get your shoes on and I felt very secure running on pavement. They Xpand laces did feel a bit like they needed to be tighter when running off-pavement, and over some rough surfaces, they felt a bit less secure. I’m being a bit picky here, because I had no issue trail running with Xpand, this was more of a feeling for me that they were just not tight enough. After a few miles I did lose this feeling and they seemed just fine; so perhaps it was just my brain adjusting to not having to tie a knot. Over time I saw no degradation of the Xpand laces from sweat, rain, dirt or exposure to sun.
The Hickies laces had perhaps the best durability for running. Their material is more rubber-like compared to the more elastic/cloth of the other systems. These Hickies “laces” connect horizontally from side to side, and they don’t go diagonally from shoe eyelet to shoe eyelet like the other laces and traditional laces. This makes them have not only a different look, but a different feel when running. I have a fairly calm stride so this was less of an issue on pavement, however when leaving the pavement, the support offered by the Hickies didn’t inspire confidence for me. On rougher areas, my feet felt like they were moving around in the shoes a bit too much and it seemed like I needed a tighter adjustment on these laces. Overall I think the layout and pattern of the Hickies, made them feel less secure for running, but likely still very acceptable for most. Because of the material that Hickies uses, these laces were the best of the group at holding up to rain, sweat, dirt and sun exposure.
Overall I’d say the running category really highlighted how the Caterpy laces feel and in the end they were my favorite choice for running. The bump design made them easy to get your shoes on and really secure for on and off-pavement running. I should also mention that the Caterpy laces are currently still on my running shoes even after this article was completed.
Hiking: I do quite a bit of hiking each year and I cover a wide variety of conditions. This would include dirt trails, wet rocky trails and even desert sand trails. I’m extremely picky with my hiking shoe choice, so I’ll admit up front, that I’ll also be extremely picky with lacing systems. Truth be told, shoes and lacing systems are not only about comfort, but also about safety. Nothing pushes your shoes more that real-world hiking conditions and with 10+ mile hikes, comfort and safety are really important.
With that in mind, we pushed all three lacing systems across rocky rough trails, up wet trails, down muddy trails, over tree roots, in the rain, through stream crossings, in the hot sun, across hot pavement, through desert sand and through some really extreme conditions (including 10+ mile hikes).
Hiking Low Top Shoes: My current low-top hiking shoes are the Merrell Moab Edge. These shoes offer support and comfort in a lightweight package and I can say all three lacing systems installed easily. These shoes are a bit stiffer than my light-weight running shoes so I will say that with all three lacing systems, it is slightly more difficult to slip these shoes on. This was a minor thing and mostly about comparing the heavier materials of the hiking shoes to the lighter materials of a pure running shoe.
The Hickies laces once again had the most durable construction material for rain, mud, sweat, dust and dirt. I was concerned that over a longer time period, that the material may dry-rot, but I have no long term evidence to suggest that. These things survived everything I threw at them, and other than one popping off when I caught it on a rock, they remained secure. Once again I do feel the Hickies suffered a bit because of their non-diagonal layout. Going downhill over roots and rocks, my feet felt a bit like they were pushing forward against the toe of the shoe too much. Going uphill seemed ok with just a touch of heel lift. Again I was wishing for just a bit tighter setup to eliminate these uphill and downhill issues, but keep in mind I’m really rough on hiking shoes….again your mileage may vary. As a minor update, Hickies does now offer suggestions on how to install your Hickies in a diagonal manor for “tight” and “extra tight” fitment. I did try these suggestions out and they did tighten the grip a bit, but they still felt less secure on “tight” and the “extra tight” felt oddly too tight for my feet.
The Xpand laces worked well across all surfaces and in all conditions. They did well with wet conditions but perhaps dried a bit slower that the other laces. I had no issues, but the Xpand laces just seem to look and feel a bit more fragile that the other systems. Uphill and downhill hikes seemed fine, however I did tighten the Xpand lacing setup much more than in my running shoes. This helped keep my toes from pushing forward too much and eliminated heel lift as well. Overall I’d say the Xpand laces worked well and I’ll be curious to see how their long-term durability works out.
The Caterpy laces also worked well in my low-top hiking shoes. I did also adjust the Caterpy laces on the first use to be a bit tighter than the running shoes. Once again the overall feel of the Caterpy laces definitely inspired more confidence when hiking. Of the three lacing systems, the Caterpy laces were the only system that I didn’t think about or worry about during hiking. In other words, I simply forgot I had to think about my laces at all. This to me says a lot, and these laces just work well. My toes and heel stayed where they should be and the laces survived some serious rain, sharp rocks and gnarly roots. Of the three lacing systems, the Caterpy felt the most like traditional laces when hiking with the added advantage of being easy to put your shoes on and with a constantly adjusting snug feel. The Caterpy laces felt snug when I needed snug, and a bit more relaxed when I was just hiking on flat trails. This auto-adjusting feel made the Caterpy just feel right for hiking.
Overall I definitely had a strong favorite lacing system for hiking in my low-top shoes. With a 10-mile hike, your body is keenly aware of everything from a small irritation of a shirt seam to discomfort in any of your equipment. Longer hikes expose weaknesses in equipment and in this case the Caterpy laces fared the best. The Xpand and Hickies laces did really well on shorter hikes on traditional surfaces, but on longer hikes or rougher hikes, they felt just a bit less secure, and definitely enough to be noticeable.
With all three lacing systems, I absolutely would pack an extra set in my pack to protect against failure, but this is no different from typical laces. Sharp rocks, tree roots and other obstacles seem like they would be really unfriendly to elastic laces. To date I have not had any such failure with any of the elastic systems and I suspect this is probably not an issue most of the time.
Hiking Mid: This category of hiking shoes turned into a curve ball right out of the gate. This is completely my fault, but I will mention it here just in case any of you are considering these lacing systems for your mid-hikers. My mid-hikers are Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX, and they don’t have a top eyelet. Instead they have a hook on either side, geared toward traditional laces. I did try all three lacing systems with the hook scenario and they simply are not designed to work with hooks as the top eyelet. This is not an issue with any of the lacing systems but more a limitation with this type of shoe.
I also just recently added the new Adidas Terrex Free Hiker shoes, and these mid height shoes have traditional lacing systems and no top hook eyelet. These shoes are very sock-like and as such they are really snug and comfortable with or without laces. All three lacing systems worked really well with these shoes, however the caveats here are that the shoes feel really good even without laces AND I don’t have very many miles on these shoes. The design of the lower eyelets on these shoes made the Hickies difficult to install, but beyond that, all three lacing systems performed well with this mid-hiker.
Trail Running: While I’m not a full-on active trail runner, I do use trail running shoes as hiking shoes for more casual hikes. These shoes are lighter than traditional hiking shoes and a bit sturdier than a traditional running shoes. I did test all three lacing systems on my ASICS Gel-Kahana shoes, and the results were consistent with the Low Hiking shoe details above. These shoes don’t see much activity with really long or really technical hikes, so all three lacing systems performed well.
Summary & Conclusion: It’s very subjective how shoes and laces feel to most people and if you mix in different styles of shoes and different feet, it’s a bit of a moving target. I did however give all three lacing systems a real-world test in a variety of conditions. It should be noted that I used the lacing systems for just over a month and I will update this post as I use them for a longer term.
For me there are no real winners and losers among the three lacing systems I tested. In most conditions, all three lacing systems provide for a more convenient way to put on your shoes and an ability to change shoes quickly. This consistently worked well with all three lacing systems. When pushed into more extreme conditions like longer runs, more strenuous hikes and more difficult weather, the three lacing systems continued to do well, but their differences become a bit more obvious. For most people and in most conditions, you, like me, will likely have a favorite, but none of the lacing systems will disappoint.
Overall, while I liked the durability of the Hickies laces, I didn’t feel as secure using them and the lack of a diagonal lace seemed to limit their effectiveness in more technical hikes and on longer runs even with the suggested crossed “tight” and “extra tight” settings.
I liked the familiarity and simple design of the Xpand lacing systems and with some adjustment, they not only worked well in typical conditions, but also in more difficult hikes or longer runs. They did feel a bit more fragile and a bit less snug and this minor difference helped highlight my favorite lacing system of the three.
While the differences were slight (but significant) in the end the Caterpy laces ended up being my favorite. For running, the Caterpy laces made my feet feel secure but not too tight, and the adjustability made that feeling easy to obtain. For casual to rough hiking, I felt the Caterpy also held my feet in place when I needed it, but made my shoes feel relaxed and comfortable when I also needed it. This feeling of auto-adjusting to conditions ended up making the Caterpy laces become one with my shoes and my feet. This may sound silly, but the ultimate compliment to these lacing systems was being able to forget that you even had them on….and the Caterpy laces did just that.
I will continue testing all three lacing systems long term and I will update this post below with any significant updates. All three lacing systems provided convenience and easy installation and only pushing them to their limits differentiated them in a noticeable way. Your mileage may vary, but I would encourage you to give this sort of lacing system a try for yourself and let me know what YOU think.
I received these products from Caterpy for review. You can purchase Caterpy Laces from the Caterpy website, Amazon and most major retailers nationwide. The suggested retail price for the solid color laces is $9.95 and for the laces with designs it is $11.95.
Getting your kids off to school in the mornings can be a hectic experience. When everyone is in a big rush, you need all of the time savers that you can get. Caterpy Laces can be one of those time savers by eliminating the time it takes your children to tie their shoes.
Caterpy Laces feature what they call “elastic bump technology”. These stretchy laces are covered with large bumps that are evenly spaced along the length. If you pull the lace so that it stretches, the bumps will also stretch, which results in them getting smaller. This allows them to fit through the eyelet holes in your shoes.
To use these laces, just slip your shoes one and lace up with the Caterpy Laces just like you would with normal laces. Next, loosen and tighten the laces until your shoes are the most comfortable. Then just leave the ends hanging or tuck them in to the shoe or the laces. No need to tie, the bumps will hold the laces secure in the position that you want them in.
By using these elastic laces, you will improve the blood circulation in your feet as they swell throughout the day. You will be able to slip your shoes on and off without having to readjust the laces, which will save your kids valuable time when they are getting ready for school.
For years, athletic brands catered to time-crunched consumers’ appetite for shoes they could easily pull on and off. Tying shoelaces, for some people, is often an irritant — particularly for the parents of young children. And for the elderly, disabled, sick or pregnant, the act of bending down to tie laces may also be physically challenging or even impossible. Then there are athletes, for whom an ill-fitting or hard-to-adjust shoe could impact their performance.
But the popularity of laceless shoes — think Nike HyperAdapt, Vans slip-ons or anything with Velcro — has given rise to another cottage industry: companies that make tie-free lacing systems.
Hickies, for one, developed a set of thermal-plastic polymer fastenings that can be threaded through a shoe’s eyelets in various creative ways for customized tightness and fit. Caterpy’s offering looks the most like a conventional lace but with a series of bumps along its length that hold it in place, without the need for a knot or bow.
“You thread like normal but you can control tension per row throughout the whole shoe,” said Anthony Pong, managing partner at Caterpy. “You can make each row tighter or looser to match your foot shape, if you have certain foot pains or wide feet. They also make your shoes into slip-on shoes without breaking the heel, as the laces are elastic.”
The B2B company Boa Technology created a fit system specifically for the most challenging activities and environments in the world. A dial system controls laces that run throughout the shoe, which can be adjusted for tension as needed by the user. The product offering ranges from the high-powered H Series, which brands have incorporated into footwear for snowboarding and ski mountaineering, to the low-powered L Series that is used in trail running and golf shoes.
“Historically, if you looked at closure systems, you were trying to effectively close a product — you weren’t thinking of its performance features,” said Shawn Neville, CEO at Boa. “If you have a lace or Velcro, you have to stop and completely redo your product. With Boa, you can dial in your fit in seconds.”
Footwear innovators have largely targeted athletes first, due to the emphasis placed on performance and edging out the competition. At Boa, the company has designed its products with the elite athlete in mind and is planning to reduce its number of brand partners in order to focus on quality and innovation. The athletes who push the technology to the limit are showcased in Boa’s Pioneers campaign; among them are extreme alpinist Max Berger, who recently paraglided off the peak of mountain K-2.
For direct-to-consumer Caterpy, the decision to focus on the U.S. athletic market also provided an opportunity to rebrand. Originally founded in Japan, Caterpy swapped its colorful, cartoon-heavy messaging for a performance-based campaign that has been adopted in all its global markets. While the company still retains a strong customer base in the elderly and disabled, it is growing its sponsorship deals and is planning to expand its colorways to attract a younger, sports-focused market.
“Our inventor was an avid marathon runner,” said Pong. “In Japan, we have a partnership with Asics, we’re the official shoelace of Spartan — the same company as American Ninja Warrior — and we also sponsor the world record holder for Ironman right now, Matt Hanson.”
Not everyone is competing at the level of an Ironman participant, but alternatives to shoelaces are still growing in popularity for use in casualwear. While Hickies maintains that its users have worn the product for marathons and triathlons, it places an emphasis on aesthetics. In addition to the main and kids’ collections, Hickies launched a partnership collection with Swarovski that features crystals embedded in the strap. It also releases a limited-edition “color of the month” product; due to their popularity, the soft pink and translucent styles have since been made available year-round. Well-known wearers include Gigi Hadid and Jessica Alba.
“A lot of the stuff we see out there, it feels bulky, it looks bulky and intrusive,” said Keith Martine, marketing manager at Hickies. “What we want to provide is the option to put some innovation in your shoes, some customization, that can either blend in or stand out.”