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article imageNeed a great stocking stuffer? Try a 'shoelace system'

By Karen Graham     Dec 22, 2018 in Technology
Shoelaces are a staple of civilization that hasn't changed much over the centuries. But this centuries-old tech has been re-imagined by entrepreneurs with an eye on fashion, fitness, and health.
We all know what shoelaces or bootlaces, as they are known in the UK are. They are a system commonly used to secure shoes, boots and other footwear. They typically consist of a pair of strings or cords, one for each shoe, finished off at both ends with stiff sections, known as aglets.
We probably don't remember exactly when we learned to tie our shoelaces, a distinctly human passage that moved us from toddler-hood to becoming a "big boy or girl." But it is something that every child went through in growing up.
For trivia lovers, here's a question you can ask to stump your friends - How many ways are there to lace one's shoes? You may find this hard to believe, but the correct answer is over 2 trillion ways. This is based on a shoe having six pairs of eyelets. But I digress a bit.
The  smart shoe  created by Lenovo.
The 'smart shoe' created by Lenovo.
Building a better mousetrap
After literally centuries of tying our shoes in basically the same way, in a new twist on the old adage of "building a better mousetrap," innovators have come up with new options for fastening our shoes to our feet. They claim their new shoelace systems are a huge step up from the old bow knot when it comes to ease of use, freedom from foot pain, efficiency and — especially — fashion.
So let's look at a few of the more popular companies and you just might get an idea for some great stocking stuffers this year. We'll start with what Ralph Waldo Emerson had to say about innovation: "If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon or make a better mousetrap than his neighbors, though he builds his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door."
QuickShoeLace for one-handed tying
UK-based QuickShoeLace started up in 2014 while working on designing a shoe. According to the company's website, this ended up with an idea for an elastic shoelace that you just clip on metal parts. "I just hate tying shoelaces. And it is a bad design. The laces, the classic ones, are just ugly," said David Knez, founder and CEO of QuickShoeLace.
The first product was made from wire and key rings. Then it took almost 2 years of polishing the idea and making it as comfortable as possible. The main part, idea, brainstorming and design was made by Slovenian designer Knez David who also patented the idea.
Because of its simplicity, it can be used for every generation, especially for kids and young folks. It fits on every shoe with holes and it comes in more colors than you can imagine, so it can be styled with anything. With the metal parts, that have a modern look and are made for the new fashion age, it's more than just a lace.
Now I can quickly slip on and off my rainbow shoes. I really like the special packaging.
Now I can quickly slip on and off my rainbow shoes. I really like the special packaging.
Canadians have a choice with Xpand laces
Toronto, Ontario-based Xpand Laces was founded in 2015 by Chuck Harris. Chuck just happened to contract the West Nile virus and experienced swelling of his feet throughout the day. It got so bad for him that the simple task of tying his shoes became painful - and with that, an idea was born.
Chuck wanted a shoe that could remain comfortable and snug, whatever the conditions - shoes without hot spots and pressure point aggravation while still retaining a snug fit. He devised a system to secure shoes using two elastic laces that allowed for a breathable, comfortably snug fit that regular shoelaces just wouldn’t allow.
Add to that an innovative anchor mechanism which helped to secure the laces in place, and this removed the need to tie them ever again. His idea raised $1.2 million on crowdfunding sites Kickstarter and Indiegogo, and in the three years since entering the market, it has helped hundreds of thousands of people.
Xpand Laces
Hickies, another alternative shoe fastener.
Hickies no-tie laces promise to turn shoes into slips so you'll never have to tie your shoes again. Instead of a single lace, they're a series of individual elasticized bands that anchor through the eyelets. The bands expand and contract, allowing the user to slip the shoes on and off.
Growing up in Argentina, Gaston Frydlewski was the kid who hated tying his shoes and wandered around with the laces flopping to the sides. He dreamt of creating a product that would replace shoelaces.
Today, Frydlewski, now 35, and his wife, Mariquel Waingarten, 33, are running Hickies, a Brooklyn-based company that makes brightly colored, no-tie rubber-like shoelace replacements. He’s CEO, she’s chief marketing officer and Frydlewski’s crazy idea has turned into a real business.
Laces? Who s got time for that?
Laces? Who's got time for that?
He started with Kickstarter, in 2012, and a goal of raising $25,000. The campaign brought in just over $159,000 and helped Hickies pre-sell around 10,000 units. Not only did Hickies find converts in teenagers who hated tying their shoes, but in the disables and elderly folks suffering from arthritis.
The whole point is that alternatives to traditional shoelacing are now available everywhere. And all the products mentioned in this article can be found on most online stores, like Walmart, Target and Amazon, among others. Who would have thought that such a mundane fashion accessory could be upgraded in such a clever way?
More about Shoelaces, tieless laces, shoelace system, Gps, Innovation
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