I am going to make a confession to you: I’m terrible at tying my shoes. Terrible. I’m a grown man, but my shoes come untied two or three times a day. I don’t know what it is–maybe it’s being left-handed, I don’t know–but I’m just straight-up bad at it. Thankfully, I have found the best no tie shoelaces, and I am a much happier man.

As a runner, that’s a pretty terrible quirk since so much of our sport is tied to how we lace up. (Heh. Puns.) I mean, I was stopping once or twice a run to tighten up my laces and make sure my shoes weren’t slipping around.

So when I started seeing blogs and forums mentioning Lock Laces, I decided to give them a try. I had heard of no tie shoelaces before, but I wasn’t sure how I’d like having elastic bands in my shoes. Once I got used to cinching them instead of knotting them, and running in them for a couple months, I can honestly say that I am never going to tie my running shoes again.

Ever.

No Tie Shoelaces: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good

They are Bright!

If you guys know one thing about me, it’s that I love love love colorful running gear. There’s just not enough of it out there for guys. Replacement shoe laces offer a nice splash of color, and Lock Laces come in pretty much every bright and garish color I could imagine. I went for the florescent orange to match my Altras, and I think they look awesome.

They work!

In the months I’ve been running in these gloriously neon babies, I have had to stop and retie my shoes a grand total of zero times. None. Nada. Zilch. Zippo.

I spent a few moments making sure things are just dandy when I’m getting ready to run, and then I forget about it. There has been not a single instance of slippage in over 200 miles of pavement pounding. That’s awesome.

They are easy to install!

If you can lace up shoes, you can install these things. Just read the directions to make sure you put the lock on facing the right direction. I did it foot by foot, making sure that I had everything criss-crossed right in the eyelets, using the old laces as a guide. It took maybe 15 minutes of work because I was being overly cautious because I had never done it before.

The Bad

I can only think of one thing that’s bad about them: you have to cut off excess string before you seal the laces together, so you only get one shot at the having enough slack in them. I kind of screwed up that ultra-easy installation because I cut the laces in my right shoe slightly shorter than the other.

It’s not a big deal most of the time. The worst thing that happens is that my right shoe is a little tighter than I want it to be because I didn’t leave myself enough slack to loosen the shoe up. And because you have to cut that excess elastic away, there’s no way to rectify that mistake without buying a whole new pair of laces.

So heed my advice: leave about a centimeter of extra room at the top than you think you’ll need. It’s worth it. #yourewelcome

The Ugly

The only real bit of ugliness about any brand of no tie shoelaces is that they’re cheap’spensive (how ya like that word?). What I mean by that is that they’re incredibly affordable–$7-10 dollars in most places–but the costs add up over time. In terms of running shoes and athletic equipment, $7-10 bucksis negligible.

But if you’re a mid-to-high-mileage runner, you may be going through as many as 4-5 pairs of running shoes a year. Adding on whatever brand you think are the best no tie shoelaces just boosts the cost of your running gear ever so slightly.

It’s not a lot, and it won’t really break the bank, but it’s something to think about. Over time, minimal costs in terms of adding shiny new gadgets to your gear can really add up. For me, it’s worth it. By far. In fact, I just ordered my next pair of shoes and the matching Lock Laces to go with them.

But if you’re trying to keep costs down, it is a decision you’ll have to make.

Update 11-22-16: You can pry the ends open without breaking them if you’re very careful. You need a small lever like an eyeglasses screwdriver, but you can totally unclasp the ends of Lock Laces and put them in another pair of shoes. I don’t know how other brands of no tie shoelaces are, but Lock Laces are changeable if you’re willing to put in the work.

The Verdict?

They are awesome are awesome. I don’t know if they’re for everyone, but in my experience, they’ve completely eradicated a minor annoyance I’ve had during my runs for the past three years. Not to mention that no tie shoelaces have now solved a life-long frustration. For me, I think that’s worth an extra ten bucks.

Have you ever used Lock Laces? What do you think are the best no tie shoelaces?

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