In my recent post, The 8 immutable laws of traveling light, one of the 8 laws related to shoes.  The advice?  Wear shoes that can double for business casual and casual wear, and make sure they’re slip-ons.

But if your travel allows for casual/sport/”adventure” shoes that lace up, there’s an alternative that will make getting through the TSA security checkpoint less of a hassle.

Check out Speed Laces.  Speed laces are available in 2 models:  ibungee (stretchy w/ a cord lock) and Race Runners (non stretch, w/ cord lock); in addition, the firm offers “Zero-Friction” fittings that eliminate lace friction, producing uniform lace tension for greater comfort and stability.  The products are aimed at runners and in particular, triathletes.

I’ve been experimenting with ibungees on a couple pair of hiking/walking shoes.  The concept is simple:  release the cord lock to put the shoe on, depress the button on the cord lock and cinch up the laces.  Here’s an ibungee (~36″ black, black cord lock) on a GoLite Rock Lite shoe:

The ibungee laces work great, and I notice no difference whatsoever in stability, security, or comfort vs. standard laces.

Frankly, tightening the laces with the cord lock is almost unnecessary; it’s not as though I’m going to run a 5K in these shoes!  In an airport, I certainly wouldn’t tighten the laces with the cord lock, and would leave them in the “relaxed” position,  just slipping them off and on at the TSA checkpoint.

ibungee Speed Laces are available from a variety of retailers; Amazon offers them in all 10 colors and 6 lengths for up to just $5.95 a pair: ibungee laces @ Amazon.

Note:  I am an Amazon affiliate

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11 Comments on Zip through security with speed laces

  1. Luke says:

    I have a pair of Merrell Chameleons that I bought for this reason. They are casual enough that I can wear them with shorts or jeans, and I can also wear them them with casual khakis. The top or the shoe is stretchy, so they are essentially slip-on/off, but they alos have laces if I need to tighten them down. They are also very light and comfotrable for all day wear.

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    Kevin Reply:

    Luke,

    Thanks. I was thinking of picking up a pair of Merrell Milanos (in brown; the other colors are a bit funky). Are you happy with yours?

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    Luke Reply:

    Very comfortable shoes. I’ve used them for everything from a week long trip with long flights and even longer layovers, to a full day of walking around in NYC. They are my go to shoes all year around.

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  2. Fabricio says:

    Well… As long as the shoes are not army boots I don’t think I would take less time with loafers. Heck… I don’t take that many shoes when I travel and loafers are not my choice when traveling. I’ll stick to my Campers on this one

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  3. Till says:

    I’ve seen that system before. One could probably buy just the clip at REI and use whatever laces but the product is not super expensive so that’s ok. I do buy the comfort factor in terms of adjustment and elasticity of the the laces. I am not sure I buy the time factor. It takes me three seconds per shoe to tie my laces. If I save 30% of that, which in economic thinking is enormous, that is two seconds shaved off my routine. Not worth it in the absolute.

    I am working with a shoe product and care specialist in Germany on some laces made from milspec paracord with crimped metal end pieces in a variety of colors. They do have a good bit of stretch in them and should thus be quite comfortable AND stylish. I will let you know how the experiments are going when he is done and when I have evaluated them.

    Till

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    Kevin Reply:

    I don’t believe the time comparison relates merely to how long it takes to tie laces; there’s an ergonomic issue to consider. Slipping shoes on is relatively simple. However, when tying laces, you have to either bend over or crouch to tie them which is awkward, or find a spot (e.g., put your foot on the metal frame of the conveyor) which enables you to elevate your foot in order to tie them comfortably. The hassle factor with laced shoes, is much higher, in my opinion.

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    Till Reply:

    So does this system prevent the tongue from slipping in (don’t know if that’s what the movable part directly under the laces is called)? I mean otherwise you would still have to bend over or elevate the foot to hold the tongue, no? I only have one pair of shoes where this is not necessary. I can slip a pair of Timberland (the classic model with the rugged Vibram sole) on and off without ever touching the laces if they are well worn in. But on my sneakers for example that would be impossible. I have to hold the sole to get my foot in, so I have to bend.

    I actually really like those long shoe horns, too. Very good invention. Even though I’m rather young, I prefer to sit down for tying my laces.

    There is another shoe option that looks really good with almost everything and is rather easy to take off and put on again. The classic Chukka boot, the one with the two elastic inserts on the side. They do exist with a rubber sole, too. Most leather models will have a steel shank in the sole. For the US when you have to take the shoes off anyway that won’t matter. But in Europe I think you don’t have to take the shoes off unless you throw an alarm.

    Australia has some very nice ones by Baxter and R.M. Williams. Even in Kangaroo leather. Yeehaw!

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    Kevin Reply:

    Like running/athletic shoes, there’s a little slit in the tongue through which the laces are laced… so yes, it helps keep the tongue from slipping down, as do the regular laces.

    If properly installed, it speeds putting your shoes back on. The bigger benefit is not having to walk around with your laces untied until you can find a chair, or having to balance with one foot on the conveyor frame while people are walking behind you or pushing their plastic containers into yours, etc.

    In a quiet airport, no big deal, no big benefit. In a busy airport, they help a bit.

  4. Paul Z says:

    Have you looked at Greepers? Similar in concept, although a bit more sophisticated in execution. I’m considering a pair, although I want to see them in person first before I get any.

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    Kevin Reply:

    Paul, I’ve tried Yankz! which are very similar conceptually to the Greepers. Yankz are a bit finicky to set up initially, but work fine. They are not quite as elegant (?) looking as the Greepers, however. Sorry I can’t be of more help!

    kc

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  5. Peter says:

    Hi – I am the inventor of GREEPER Laces and they are really worth looking at (totally unbiased opinion of course!). GREEPER Laces are made with real laces rather than elastic cord which provides better support and preformance (that’s why the manufacturers don’t supply elastic laces!) and come in various styles to suit all footwear. Once fitted they resemble the appearance of a shoelace bow and have a toggle that you pull like a zip to loosen. You then just pull on the loops to make them bigger which tightens them up again! We have the Execs model for the smart shoe through to the Fats for the skater dude and everything in between. The laces were featured on national TV in the UK this week and World Champion Ironman Triathlete Chrissie Wellingotn is now using them on her trainers! We can ship anywhere in the world – check them out at greeper.com!

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