Apropos of my many odd ways of doing things (see blog posting, No Easy Path), I thought I’d share the following oddity because I know it can make many people’s lives simpler, if only they would consider making a break from tradition. Especially in Canada, where the custom of shedding one’s shoes at the door is seemingly as ubiquitous as it is in Japan, this suggestion could save time, save backs, save falls, and probably more but I don’t know what those things are yet.

The suggestion? Buy and use speed laces (stretch laces) on your shoes.

I have watched people, especially older people, struggle to reach their laces, struggle to remain in a bent over position trying to tie their laces, struggle with the uncooperative floppiness of laces, or even choose not to tie their laces at all. Lacing, tying, unlacing, untying, bending for long periods, balancing, etc. are all unnecessary.

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With speed laces, you tie them once, put on the boot or shoe, then tighten the laces and secure them with the sliding plastic mechanism that comes with the laces. That’s it! Now you have a pair of loafer-equivalent shoes or boots that are tight once they are on, like a well-laced shoe, but stretch to allow you to put them on or take them off without adjusting the lacing!

They cost a lot more than regular laces, and you can only buy them in a specialized store that sells competitive running shoes. But once they are installed on your shoes, you’ll probably put them on all your shoes because they save so much time and effort.

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They were developed for competition use in cases where athletes had to quickly change shoes and didn’t want to lose valuable time in the tying process, but the comfort, support and instant tension adjustment of the laces can be enjoyed too by old farts like me that simply don’t want to bend over for that long. When a shoehorn is not available, I just slip my finger behind my heel and my foot slides right into the boot or shoe.

Sometimes it really pays to think outside the box, to ask, “Why this? Why not that?”

Speed laces are for both the speedy and the wobbly among us.

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