Sunday, April 9, 2017

Product Review- RipLaces

For the longest time, I’ve been a forum member on If you’re interested in losing a few brain cells, I post there under the screen name “Tri-Banter”. Weird name selection, right?

ST is a complicated place. You can ask pretty much anything that you want and it will get answered completely with great information. It will also get answered completely with bad information. You can have a conversation with some world-class professionals and leading scientists in the sport. Or, you could have a conversation with the exact opposite- I.E. me.

In one of the easier threads, some bloke asked about elastic lace options. I’ve been in sport for a long time and I’m a lazy man. I hate tying my shoes. Elastic laces eliminate the need to loop-swoop- and pull (Aside- this extends to non-sporting life as I tend to put elastic laces on my everyday shoes as well. I really can’t stand tying shoes and understand why old people tend to use velcro sneakers. /End Aside). In a race, elastic laces make for a quicker transition time, allowing me to get onto the run course faster so people can start passing me sooner.

Over the years, I’ve experimented with a lot of shoe-tying alternatives. Initially, I just used the laces that came with the shoes, only I left them tied. That was only marginally successful, lending itself to improvement products. Then I tried actual elastic laces, which were just stretchy versions of regular laces. Then I used a product called Yankz. There were a couple more who were so unremarkable that I can't remember their identities. I’m in a much different place now.

I responded to the OP with the truth, I sport Xtenex laces, seen in the picture. Then I promptly forgot about the thread and went on to other kinds of gibberish.

Shortly thereafter, I got an email from some guy named David. Whereas I’ve known a couple of David's in the past, I don’t have anyone in my contacts folder with that name. It turns out that David invented a new kind of elastic lace called “RipLaces”. In an effort to convert me to his side of the force, he offered to send me a set of RipLaces for free. I couldn't find a reason to say no. I’m going to do a product review of RipLaces below. Regardless of the outcome of said review, I’m of the opinion that David is a stand-up guy.

Initial Encounter of
David sent me a coupon code that allowed me to order a lace set-up of my choosing and he’d pay for the cost and shipping of the product. Remember- David is awesome. If I ever meet him, I’ll buy him a beer or dinner or something.  (Seriously David- if you’re ever in Rochester, look me up.)

The website has several different products. It’s probably that I’m not that smart (and that probability is near 100%), but I struggled with sifting through the differences of the product line. There are “Best Sellers”, which are $14.98. There are 2 different kinds of “Bungees”, one is in a family pack and the other are in a small pack. There are 3 different kinds of “Cores”.  It took me a while to figure out what I needed to have a fully usable elastic lace option.  In fact, it took me so long that I almost emailed David back to ask for help. I initially couldn’t figure out what the difference was between the bungees or the cords. I probably spent about 30 minutes on his product site. (I suspect that a nominally intelligent person could have accomplished the same level of learning in under 5 minutes, which is still longer than it should take, IMO.)

RipLaces come in 2 parts and you need both if you’d like your shoe to work. You need bungees and you need cores. These are offered in various colors and sizes. I eventually selected Black Bungees and the Skinny Core. I ordered them separately even though that’s the exact same combination of that comes in the “Best Sellers” option. Luckily for David, it doesn’t matter if you order as a combo pack or individual products, they are the same price.

The Product Has Arrived
A few short days after ordering, the laces arrived. Shipping was efficient. Here’s what came in the package.

The cores are small, black plastic thingies with hook-like protrusions. The package had 14 cores. I went and found my running shoes. I counted the number of eyelets. Sure enough, there were 7 per shoe meaning that David is a clairvoyant genius. How he knew the exact number of cores that would match my shoes before he even contacted me is beyond my comprehension.

To be honest, I was even more shocked by the bungees. Bungees are basically elastic ties that girls use to put their hair in pony tails. There were a lot of bungees. Too many to count (meaning more than 20). Whereas David was an excellent predictor of how many laces I needed, he has no idea how big my feet are. In an effort to make sure he covered all options, he sent an overkill of bungees (and I now understand why he has an a la carte version of bungee purchasing).

I disassembled the Xtenex laces and started to add the RipLaces. If you can’t figure out the process from the pictures posted on the back of the cores, the website has a fun instructional video. Even a dolt like me was able to understand the installation process. Select a bungee size. Snap the bungee through one of the sickle ends of the core. Use the ‘tool’ to pull the bungee through the lace eyelets. (Optional step- laugh hysterically at their use of the word “tool,” since it’s just a piece of wire). Snap the other end of the bungee to the other end of the core. Repeat for each eyelet.

Here’s the finished, installed product. Aesthetically, the set-up is much cleaner looking than the Xtenex set-up.

The Run
I’m currently recovering from an injury. The injury is on the left foot, just below the 3rd and 4th toes. Due to the injury, that area is pressure sensitive and will sometime swell a bit during and after a run. With my old Xtenex laces, if I experienced any such swelling, I could adjust on the fly. With RipLaces, there is no such adjustment. I suppose I could simply remove the lace where there is pressure build-up but that would defeat the purpose of having laces. Therefore, I resorted to running on the treadmill. Should a problem arise, I was close to a solution (as opposed to miles away from home like I was when the injury first happened).

No such problem occurred. In fact, the RipLaces were better on my sensitive area than the Xtenex. The forefront of my foots couldn’t have been any happier.

That doesn’t mean everything was perfect in RipLace land. I think I did a bad job at sizing the top 2 eyelet bungees. There is normally 4 strands of thread-like materials criss-crossed between the topmost eyelets. With the RipLace design, that number had doubled. Granted, I had no heel slippage but there was an awful lot of pressure pressing against the moving parts of my ankle. I've since removed one of the laces. Better. Take that David and your 14 cores. I've now got spares.

The Verdict
After a week's worth of running in these things, all on the treadmill, there are a few facts that are more and more obvious as time goes on. First, I'm glad that I have a treadmill so that I can skip the 7000 inches of rain dumped on our house. If April showers bring Mayflowers, the pilgrims can dock their ship directly in my front yard.

Second, my laundry needs have increased. I naturally smell horribly, I'm not ready to learn what sort of stench would be created if I re-wore my running clothes.

Third, I have an abundance of bungees left over and I'm hunting for uses for these things. I can't imagine the size of the shoe or how much my foot would swell to need the extra large bungee. If any of my colleagues gets batted in the back of the head with a hair tie, you'll know that I've run out of other ideas.

Fourth, these things might be permanently attached to my shoe (except, of course, for the bungee that busted on my 5th run). This might be attributed to the fact that I'm lazy. It might also be attributed to the fact that these are a really excellent product. I can't see a reason to go back to my old laces.

(P.S. David- that beer option won't expire.)

No comments:

Post a Comment