Monday, March 18, 2013

Get into gear: LOCK LACES review

The coulda, shoulda, woulda, oh fig it moments. We've all had them - in life and in running.

When I was interviewing the too-amazing Beth Schrader last month and just chatting about running, we talked about getting into a groove and how the clock doesn't stop during a race. Event directors don't pause it, the way one can a Garmin, for potty breaks, a drink of water or to unzip the SPIbelt for a chew. Learning to run "straight" can be an important part of training as to simulate that aspect of a race, especially if you are going for a time goal.

But running straight can only get you so far if you don't double-knot your shoes.

I shared with Beth the story of my half-marathon PR (which is nearly 2.5 years old). I finished in 1:54:12 at the 2010 Fort4Fitness but I wonder what my real time was as I stopped just shy of the 4-mile mark to tie my shoes. I'm certain that I could have had a 1:53:XX finish had I prepped a little bit better.

Coulda, shoulda, woulda, oh fig it.

Of course, the way I look at it now is that those seconds are just ones I don't have to try to shave off when I try to run hard at Wisconsin in May. Mrs. Brightside, right here. Just got to learn from the mistake and not make it again.

I was recently given the opportunity to try LOCK LACES, an elastic lace and shoe fastening system that makes bunny ears and double knots obsolete.They come in 13 vibrant colors, and the company has the best. slogan. ever. Win. Never Tie.

LOCK LACES™ is the only patented performance lacing system engineered to meet the demands of endurance athletes such as runners, triathletes, marathoners, and walkers. Also ideal for those who have difficulty tying their own shoes, LOCK LACES™ are popular with kids, seniors and individuals with special needs. LOCK LACES™ is a national sponsor of both the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes Fit Feet Program and The Challenged Athletes National Triathlon.

 photo ColorsPink_zps4cd5d697.jpg

I was sent three pairs to try out - pink, blue and black. I only have two pairs of shoes so ... totally means I need a new pair. Right? Right!

 photo 8940BBE3-2C21-4599-B5B7-6F3456BBBD0B-4271-000006CA77FB3974_zpsecadeeca.jpg

Anyway, I decided to try the pink laces in my Lunar Flys, which I wear for shorter or faster runs. I took the laces out of the package, and I have to admit that I was a bit flummoxed as to how to lace the shoe. The directions on the package are clear but abbreviated and it was early. I found it better to look on the website and watch a video on YouTube and once I saw it done, I was laced up and ready to go in a few minutes.

I wasn't sure how I'd like the LOCK LACES as the clip doesn't secure to the shoe or lace and I was certain that I was going to feel like my shoe was going to fall off. I started the run a bit trepidatiously, wanting to be diligent and notice anything that felt off or uncomfortable. After a half-mile, I realized that the laces were doing their job, felt secure and I could just go. Like a cheetah. Or girl in a cheetah skirt.

 photo 97B7CBE5-C292-4B9C-BC19-6907EA164A3E-4271-000006CA73E28CDF_zps9ef72b40.jpg

I've been wearing the laces exclusively for two weeks now, and I definitely like them. My shoes feel secure and there is no annoyance with feeling a lace slowly loosen and become untied. I do advise to follow directions (imagine that) and lace the shoe with it on your foot. When I put the laces in my long run shoes, I didn't heed this advice and the laces felt tight. I was also a bit conservative and left more slack than recommended when trimming the laces. Doing so leads to a little more bounce than desired, and I went back to trim off another quarter- to half-inch.

My only real complaint is that it seems you would have to buy a new pair of laces every time you get a new pair of shoes as you have to trim the ends of the elastic and I don't see how it would thread through. But, at $7.99 a pair (or three for $19.99), it's not a huge cost and as the laces can be bought in stores, you can just tack it on with the cost of the shoe. Plus, there's a ton of fun colors, and it would be a great way to sass up shoes that don't come in fun colors (looking at you, Nike Structure).

But for the real question: Would I actually buy them? With my own money? Probably. I think they are nice to have - but not necessary - and I like the security of not having to tie my shoe laces. For someone who is going out for a PR or doing a triathlon where every second counts (thinking transition on the tri), it's a worthwhile purchase. If only for the sake of removing one last coulda, shoulda, woulda, oh fig it.


  1. I've seen these before but haven't tried them! Great review! :0)

  2. I need those things! I stop to tie my shoes all the time during races. Just yesterday during the half, I stopped 3 THREE!! times. Ughhh