Call them what you like, but these stretchy Lock Laces from Nathan are pretty much the same thing as kids unable to tie their laces use, but they're actually really comfortable and useful for sports shoe wear. I've become a total convert for all my flat pedal shoes, though they're obviously not ideal for racier SPD footwear.
The concept doesn't really need much explanation. You get some impressively long bits of bungee-style stretch elastic that you use to replace your boring conventional laces, plus a sprung locking mechanism that clamps them in place, along with a little holder to stop the ends wibbling about once you've cut them to length.
I've got to admit that it felt somewhat infantile to go away from doing my own laces up (like a big boy) to these, but since fitting my favourite Five Tens with some, I've been an absolute convert. It helps that the Five Ten Impact VXi's have crap laces that either rot away or undo themselves at will, but just being able to slip on your shoes without battling to evenly tighten wet laces is pretty great. They hold your foot firmly but evenly too, plus you don't need to worry about laces coming undone and feeding into your drivetrain at any point either. Maybe toddlers are on to something, after all.
I've used them on skate style SPD shoes too and they're fine there as long as there's an instep strap to stop your foot pulling up. That said, if you have on-trend lace-up race SPDs a la Giro's Empire VR90 then not only will your fellow fashionistas sniff at you, but you'll also struggle to get them tight in the right places as the stretchy laces tend to get jammed by the close fit. Nathan does make some flat lace versions, which might work better, however.
At £7, they're pretty reasonable for entry to a world of hassle-free comfort plus you can get them in loads of colours if you're happy to point out that you're totally over doing your laces up.
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