The Xtenex laces have been used in a wide range of applications, from elite triathletes who use these laces to reduce their transition time, to helping the elderly with arthritis put on their shoes without any hassle. But we’re here to focus on what matters: How do the Xtenex laces perform for a runner?
When I received these laces, my immediate thoughts were: “These are some funky looking laces! How am I going to fit them into my shoes?”
Here’s the answer: The ‘knots’ actually disappear when you stretch the laces. Unlace your shoe, wear it, and then stretch the Xtenex laces. I had some trouble fumbling around in the beginning, but once you get the hang of it, it is really as easy as lacing any other pair of shoes.
Just follow the same directions if you want to adjust your laces. Stretch the laces until the knots disappear, and adjust to your preferred comfort level. If you do have some excess lace cord, they can either be cut off, or tucked in.
The round cross-sectioned laces have a few different thicknesses to choose from. The X200 series are able to fit most shoelace eyelets, which are around 2.5 – 3mm in diameter. The slightly thicker X300 series is recommended for men’s running shoes, and is able to fit eyelets between 3 – 4mm.
Having elastic laces mean you can say goodbye to the daily hassle of tying your shoelaces. Just slip your running shoes on and you’re good to go. The concept behind the Xtenex laces is simple, but it is difficult to execute. Will these laces affect the performance of my running shoes?
Let’s Go Run!
The laces bend and flex with your feet movements, and when I first wore them, I was a little afraid that the laces may actually slip while running. After multiple runs, intervals training and even doing some workouts like burpees and lunges, the laces have never slipped. If you’ve fitted them correctly, whatever body and feet movements you come up with while running or working out doesn’t have the force to dislodge the ‘knots’ from their positions. I felt confident and secure in them, and I never felt that I would slip out of my shoes.
But where the Xtenex laces shine is in its long-term comfort for distance runners. After long distances, I find that my feet will swell slightly, and if the shoelaces are tied too tightly, I experience some numbness and pain due to the added pressure. These elastic laces gave a little leeway there, and I was impressed at how they minimised the pain in my feet while running long distances.
Here’s something to take note. No matter what kind of shoes you wear, they will feel slightly different when fitted with the Xtenex laces. It is like fitting your bicycle with a new set of tires; the handling is familiar, yet the ‘feel’ will be slightly different.
The same logic goes for the Xtenex laces. Do not expect to go at race pace on your first run with them. Take the time to ‘relearn’ your shoes. Tweak the laces accordingly, and you will reap maximum benefits, especially for long distance runners.
I had a pair of black laces to go with my citron Kinvara 4s, and I got used to the look of the laces really quickly. The Xtenex laces come in all lengths and colours, and you should be able to get a set of laces that will fit with your favourite pair of running shoes.
- Elastic laces give leeway to feet after running long distances, which can reduce pain and discomfort
- Converts any shoe into a ‘slip-on’ without the cons; your running shoes are still running shoes
- ‘Knots’ keep laces in place even after running long distances or strenuous exercise
- Retains elasticity after prolonged and varied use
- S$19.90 price tag may feel too pricey
- For distance runners and athletes, set aside a short period to ‘relearn’ your shoes
Where to buy?
The Xtenex laces are available in 8 different colours, and retails for S$19.90. You can order them online at FTLOSports , or check out their website for the list of authorised retailers in Singapore.