Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Opinion

May 3, 2014

Stepping into the tank

Athens — Like many of you, I enjoy watching Shark Tank on Friday nights, and wonder how well the products actually work, and if they indeed take off, once teamed with an investor.

Much to my surprise, I received an e-mail a couple of weeks back from the promotional company for the U-Lace product pitched on Shark Tank in March.

It just so happened that I remembered that episode, and thought the idea of changing the shoe-lace industry was awesome.

The company sent me a couple packages of the product, and I am proud to say it lives up to the Shark Tank hype.

It is an awesome product for those of us who like to customize our sneakers to match whatever color pattern we want.

While my shoes did not have the traditional eyelets the product is designed for, I was able to work the laces into my looped sneakers, and really enjoy the new look and feel.

By just a simple lace change, it feels like a new pair of shoes!

So what are U-Laces?

According to U-Lace.com, a U-Lace is a modular 2.35-inch segment of elasticized lace designed to span a single set of sneaker eyelets. Not only does this allow for multi-color designs, it also means that creating cool patterns and designs is quick and easy. It is this patented “modular” design that allows you to create limitless ways to customize and configure the look of your sneakers. U-Lace is also the only modular shoelace that looks and feels like standard shoelaces.

I had a chance to talk with product creator Tim Talley. Here is a piece of our conversation:

What inspired the product?

In addition to running a business unit, I was also a global trend-spotter for a major sports brand prior to starting U-Lace.

After leaving that job to pursue my own dreams, I took a trend-spotting trip to Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan, hoping to spot an idea for a product.  In a window, I saw a pair of sneakers that the shop keeper had laced in several colors at the same time.  I thought it was the coolest thing.  I went in to buy the sneakers, but was disappointed to find that it was just a merchandising trick, and that yards of leftover laces were simply shoved into the sneaker. I wanted to make a product that was real and wearable, and I did.

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