Sunday, June 3, 2018

Elastic Shoelaces

& is used with permission.
Several of my shoes use Hickies-brand no-tie shoelaces, and I'm quite enamored of them.

I know what you're probably thinking: "Erin, you've already told me that I should replace my shoelaces with paracord. Why are you now suggesting I replace the paracord with elastic bands?"

That's a fair question. The answer is that paracord laces are a general purpose prep, while elastic laces are a solution for a very specific problem. Here are some examples:
They making getting through security screening a lot easier. I can put on or take off my shoes like they were loafers, but the elastic keeps them just snug on my feet as if I'd tied them. If you fly a lot, or otherwise need to take your shoes off on a regular basis, these save a lot of time and effort. 
They are great for people with physical or mental disabilities.  My father has Parkinson's Disease and can no longer remember how to tie a necktie; forgetting how to tie a shoelace can't be far behind. My mother has arthritis in her fingers and sometimes has difficulty with fine motor skills, and this will only get worse as she gets older. In both cases, the simple "pull it on and you're done" nature of the elastic will give both of them more independence. 
They speed up getting ready in an emergency. I have a pair of side-zip combat boots that I keep by the door as my "Something has gone wrong and I need to be outside NOW" shoes because they will handle any environment. However, despite zipping up the side, they still have shoelaces. The idea is that I fit the shoe to my foot, unzip the boot, and pull my foot out; when I'm ready to go, I just reverse the process. The problem is that my boots don't work like that -- I can get my foot out, sure, but I can't get it back in again unless I untied the boots then re-tied them once my foot was in. This completely eliminated any benefit to the side-zip! However, once I replaced the laces with Hickies, I was able to slip into my boots quickly and without issue. 
So while these are not specifically emergency preps, I find that they make my life easier on a day-to-day basis by helping me and members of my family speed through daily challenges.

I've used mine for over a year now and I have no complaints regarding their performance. The worst thing I can say about them is that, being elasticized, the more you stretch them the more they will fatigue, so the laces at the very top of your shoe or boot are likely to wear out and snap. This isn't a problem, as a package of Hickies comes with spares and the laces themselves are easy to swap out. I'm told that the 2.0 version addresses this problem with increased durability, but I haven't yet tried them.

Buy a package and see if you like them. You won't be putting them into your bug-out bag, but you just might find that they become part of your every day carry.

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