If you don't like how shoelaces look when they're tied in a bow, you can hide the lace-ends inside your shoes. That can mean standing on them, though, which is uncomfortable. The new Xpand lacing system uses elastic laces and slim anchors to keep your shoes comfortable but looking slick.
Elastic laces are nothing new, of course, but typically they have bulky toggles that hang outside the shoe. The Xpand system is aimed at providing a means of keeping your shoes laced tightly in a discreet and unintrusive manner.
The system was designed by Charles Harris in partnership with Seattle-based Pillar Product Design. Harris has been behind a number of other products, including the Strapp Wallet and the Lace Anchor, the latter of which forms part of the Xpand system.
With the Xpand system, users can lace their shoes in any way as they would with normal laces. They then slip a Lace Anchor onto the each lace-end and adjust them to the desired tightness. The lace-ends can then be trimmed off, leaving just enough excess for an optional additional clip that provides a tidy finished look.
The Lace Anchors can be worn either inside or outside of the shoe. When worn inside, they rest flat against the inside of the shoe for comfort and ensure that the wearer's laces look no different to conventional laces. When worn outside the shoe they still look more understated and streamlined than other solutions.
The anchors and clips are made of made of fiber-reinforced resin, while the laces are made of elastic rubber and are available in a variety of colors. Harris says the system allows users to put on their shoes "in three seconds flat" and that the system is easy enough for five-year-olds to use, but strong enough for triathletes.
A Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for the Xpand system is ongoing. At the time of writing, individuals who pledge from US$8 can receive a pair of the laces, assuming all goes to plan with the production and roll-out.
The video below is the Kickstarter pitch for the Xpand lacing system.