Riplaces the set’em and forget’em laces
Many athletes may not have thought about the possibility of getting rid of their shoelaces completely, although most of us appreciate the frustrations of constantly tying and re-tying tatty, ugly laces. Riplaces are designed as a “new, innovative way to replace shoe laces” for good and offer athletes an alternative, convenient way to keep their running shoes secure and comfortable.
Who is Riplaces?
The Riplaces company is based around the Nicholson family – David, Karen and their kids. It started with a basic idea about the inconvenience of traditional shoelaces and a lightbulb moment about the potential of bungee cords. After some prototypes with cores and hair ties, and a few problems with elasticity, they came up with Riplaces and began selling the products as a family business.
What are Riplaces?
The creators of Riplaces have broken down this interesting new product into two key parts: the core and the bungee. Once you combine the stretchy bungee cord with the strong connector core, you have a Riplace. Buyers can choose a style that suits their tastes – and their shoes – and use them to replace their standard shoelaces for good. The bungee thread through the eyelets, link up the core and built to stay in place. The elasticity of the laces also means that users can easily slip their running shoes on and off while still enjoying a snug fit.
Why should athletes use Riplaces?
There is a “who’s wearing Riplaces” section on the official site, but they could have kept things simpler by saying that any sportsman can benefit from these. The Nicholsons are promoting Riplaces as being a “set and forget” product, in the sense that they can be set in a pair of running shoes, with no need to adjust them, and left there until users buy new shoes. This means that there is no threat of the laces untying mid-run, which can be dangerous and force athletes off of their stride. It also means that wearers can enjoy a secure fit that makes the shoe feel more comfortable.
Pros of Riplaces
- A range of product options: The cores and bungees come in different colors and shapes so you can mix and match the colors. The neon green bungees can be paired with the same colored “oliva” core or you can contrast them with the black. Riplaces promise to offer colors on request, suggesting a clear customer-focused approach. From my experience with Riplaces I can tell you that the owner of the company is engaged, open to questions, and very helpful.
- Multiple bungee in a pack: There a 5 different sized bungees in a pack, 12 of each, so it should be easy to pick the ideal fit. If the small ones feel too tight when putting the shoes on and aren’t comfortable, you can go up a size. If a band feels too loose, you can go tighter. The only problem here is that users with wide and narrow shoe sizes can struggle to find a cord that suits them.
- Durability: The cords are bungees are made to be tough and long-lasting as they are made from highest quality injection-molded nylon and poly-carbonate.
Cons of Riplaces
- The cost: The need to buy the two elements separately has the downside of two separate costs – the cost of the core and the bungee kit. For some, the potential of spending around $15 on a set of laces may be too much, especially when most of the bands won’t be used. Having said this, there are group discounts for teams and clubs – enhancing this sense of a pro-athlete, consumer-friendly company.
- Fiddly: These laces can be time-consuming to fit the first time because there is a trick to getting them through the eyelets. This is even more frustrating when users realize they have put the wrong size in. At least they are permanent when they are correct.
- Patience – It took a lot of time “dialing” my laces in. There were times that I bruised the top of my foot due to the laces being too tight. I had to make sure to use my thickest socks and inserts when I set the laces. It was the only time I got them “dialed” in.
- Instructions – The lack of proper instructions can leave one very frustrated. There are a few videos, but instructions should be present with every kit so that users don’t have to become frustrated when setting the laces.
The final verdict on Riplaces: Are these alternative laces too expensive, or are they actually worthwhile?
The price is a lot to pay compared to standard laces, but if you find that Riplaces are as durable and reliable as promised, they could well be worth that short-term cost. These laces may be a bit too extravagant for the average user, but athletes and those in training could really benefit from adding these attractive alternatives to their kit. Once they are fitted and comfortable, they offer users one less distraction to worry about and a great solution to dangerous, frustrating shoelaces.