Looking for laces that can help you save precious time in transition by avoiding having to tie your shoes? Depending on your shoes and style, X300 laces may be the perfect solution.
Xtenex makes a lineup of ‘compression laces’- essentially elastic cord with one difference over their competitors. They feature regular ‘knots’ throughout the length of the lace that allow you to customize the fit in each section of the shoe. The knots also prevent the cord from slipping, ensuring that the fit remains true throughout your race or run.
Usage of the laces is fairly simple. Select the product you wish to use (they feature a ‘professional fit’ with very large knots and a ‘moderate fit’ with smaller knots that has some play in it). The X300 is the professional fit and is what is reviewed here. The moderate fit are item XH200. You can also choose from a range of lengths and colours. If in doubt buy the longer ones as you can always trim if needed. The laces range in price between $10-16 depending upon length and style.
Once you’ve removed your old laces you’re ready to begin lacing the Xtenex laces into your shoe. By firmly stretching the laces you are able to make the knots ‘disappear’ and pull through the eyelets. When you relax the stretch, the knots reappear and there is no longer any play in the cord. This takes considerable time to lace a pair of shoes.
After the laces are in and the shoes are on your feet, you’re able to customize the fit by relaxing or tightening sections of the shoes until they fit just right. This takes some work and a few runs to get just right.
As far as fit and function, the laces do provide a true compression fit – they hold the shoe very firmly to your foot and allow a small amount of elastic movement as you run. The compression fit lends the same advantage as compression garments in that it reduces fatigue and provides support. However, in my opinion the fit is too firm for regular usage – I believe the moderate fit may be a better contender for most people. They are as fast as regular elastic cord to apply in transition and have the advantage of not having to tighten a plastic tab – there is very little excess cord once laced and the extra is simply allowed to dangle from the side of the shoe or trimmed.
The disadvantage to these laces is that the professional fit laces have very large knots. When laced into a shoe with a thin tongue, the knots are held firmly against the skin on the top of the foot, and in my usage this caused considerable injury to the top of my feet. Some users may prefer an alternate lacing pattern or the moderate fit laces, which have much smaller and smoother knots.
The Xtenex X300 laces are an excellent choice for race-specific triathlon laces and easily convert any shoe into a slip on shoe to minimize time in transition. For regular use and training, the small-knotted ‘moderate fit’ laces are both comfortable and affordable and provide the comfort of a compression fit garment. These laces will be a welcome addition to my 2016 race and training gear.
Purchase the laces from Running Free at Xtenex X300 Laces