High-top sneakers and boots with laces can look pretty badass. That badassery pretty much ends when putting on and taking off the damned things: takes way too long for that kind of tedium. Velcro tabs are clumsy and ugly, at least to my eyes, and while I'll tolerate them for riding my road bicycle, I'm not dealing with them on the Vespa. The Bilt Dexters are no better or worse than other high-top casual moto-shoes in this regard, so I didn't know quite what to do…until I rode past a running-specialty shop, and remembered a particular product. Sometimes they're called speed-laces or lock-laces, but the idea is the same: instead of fabric laces you have to tediously tie and untie, you have elastic laces that you tighten or loosen with a spring-loaded locking button the lace-ends run through, allowing quick adjustment. In fact, you can adjust the laces to the point where the shoe is on snugly enough for vigorous activity, but just loose enough to kick off deliberately without fussing with laces at all. These laces had their beginnings not in the world of running, but its younger, more-extreme variant, triathlons: since this form of competition involves swimming, cycling, and running - usually in that order - seconds can be lost transitioning from one stage to the next, and since the last two stages involve footwear, you can bet no one cared to waste time fidgeting with laces. (I photographed the very first New York City Triathlon in 1982, and I can tell you that the tech of that time looks awfully dated now.)
So…I sauntered into Road Runner Sports and asked about these laces. I was pointed to a rack of several types, picked the least-garish-looking pair, and headed home for the experiment. A few days before, I'd grabbed my laptop and hit up Amazon for a different pair to try, just in case the store-bought pair somehow didn't work out.
I put the store-bought pair on the Dexters, and…wow. Not only did the laces make the shoes that much easier and quicker to slip in and out of, but the fit was both more snug and more comfy…no pinch-spots/hot-spots when walking, while at the same time the shoes felt more secure on my feet, less likely to come off in the event of a crash. And, since the Dexters also have a side-zip, the put-on/take-off process is even faster, meaning I have absolutely no excuse for running out for a quick errand without wearing the minimum protection for my footsies. It's, um, Torreador Pants down to the feet.*
But: now that these laces did the biz, what in tarnation was I going to do with the extra set (actually two, since the ones bought from the House That Jeff Built came as a set of two)? I then remembered a forgotten pair of riding sneaks I had: an Indian Motorcycle branded pair of mesh sneakers that seemed like a good idea at the time, but being even higher high-tops than even the Dexters, were an absolute PITA to put on and remove, so I tossed them in a dark corner of the basement where they hid for the better part of two years. I ran downstairs to fish them out of mothballs, dusted them off and replaced them with the "alternate" speed laces, and et voilà, I'd transformed them into usable kicks again. I actually wore them on Thelonica's maiden trip to Gotham this past Wednesday, and they were crazy-comfy.
To Wrap Up: If you happen to have a pair of high-top moto-anything (boots or sneakers), and want to have a better time dealing with them pre- and post-ride, not to mention a potentially better time in-between as well, give these laces a look. Highly recommended.
(*Yeah, I actually wrote Torreador Pants, not…well, you know.)
The Laces: They literally transformed my riding kicks. Who knew?
Bilt Dexter with Lock Laces: My go-to, now with extra "go."
Two Little Indians: To think, I almost tossed these; they're absolute keepers now.
Last edited by amateriat on Tue Jun 21, 2022 1:41 pm; edited 13 times in total