Many runners have a love-hate relationship with shoelaces. I love that they come in fun colors and keep my shoes on. I hate tying them. When it comes to running shoelaces, I like to make like Ron Popeil: set it and forget it.
When I get a new pair of running shoes, I tie the laces a few times until I find the “perfect fit.” Then I never tie them again. I put a double knot in and just slip my running shoes on and off for the rest of the life of the shoe.
I know that’s a cardinal sin of running, but it works for me.
So when I heard about Hickies, I thought I’d give it a try. Hickies elastic lacing system is a different concept than most elastic shoe laces, which look just like traditional laces. For starters, Hickies come in 16 color combinations. Yes, they promise you’ll never have to tie or untie your laces again. But for $19.99, you get a pack of 14 smaller, individual elastic shoe laces in your color choice plus two bonus Hickies in another color, instead of two regular old long elastic laces. Different? Yes. Better? I’m undecided. Worth a try? Certainly, if you’re thinking about going tie-free.
Out came my laces, and in went my Hickies in a cute purple and pink color combo, with two yellow and green Hickies for accent. They were easy enough to put in. It didn’t take any longer than lacing up a pair of shoes in the traditional way.
They’re guaranteed to never come untied, which isn’t a big issue for me since I double knot my laces.
What is an issue for me is shoelace “tickle.” You know, that unpleasant feeling when a shoelace oh-so-gently brushes up against your leg and feels like a bug is crawling on you.
With Hickies, there is no lace “tickle.” My running shoes slip on and off with ease as promised, and the Hickies don’t budge during a run. I’ve run in them a handful of times without issue. No lace tickling, no untying.
But the Hickies selling point isn’t just that you can slip your shoes on and off without having to tie and untie, it’s that you can do so without sacrificing snugness.
Therein lies the problem for me. As a “set it and forget it” runner, I’ve come to love the slightly loose fit of my shoelaces.
On my first run, I found the Hickies elastic lacing system far too tight across the top of my foot—to the point where it was uncomfortable for me. I couldn’t wait to get my shoes off at the end of the run.
So I looked around the Hickies website and tried the suggested “for a wider fit” lacing. It was still too tight. After experimenting with a few different lacing patterns of my own—in all I tried five ways to lace them—I found one that worked and felt similar to my “set it and forget it” lacing fit.
A few runs later, they’re still in my shoes. Do I like them better than my regular shoelaces? I’m not sure. I do like being tickle free. I do like the sleek, tie-free look of the Hickies. And I do like that they really are easier to slip on and off. But at the end of the day, I think it’s six of one and a half dozen of another.
I could, however, see Hickies working incredibly well for a runner who dislikes laces, tying and untying, and feels secure with the snug foot hug that comes with a well-tied pair of running shoes. It’s also a great product for someone who does deal with untied laces on a regular basis or triathletes looking to switch to easy on, easy off shoes.
They’re also great for sneakerheads who want to pimp their ride. Hickies are customizable. You can change the “head” color on any of the laces. The set I got are purple with pink heads. I could get another set—say, yellow and green—and put the green heads on the purple laces and the pink heads on the yellow laces. It’s a fun way to dress up a pair of shoes.
I’ll keep running with the Hickies elastic lacing system in my lighter pair of shoes that I wear for shorter runs and see if they grow more on me. They certainly work as promised. And I’ll definitely put them in my running shoes for triathlon season. They are easier to slip into and out of.
But for longer runs and my upcoming marathon, I’ll stick with my traditional laces for now. I’m not ready to go all Hickies, all the time. But they are a good option to have in the running mix.
Hickies sent me a set of elastic laces to review. But as always, all opinions are purely my own