For all those who find tying up the shoelaces to be a nightmare; rejoice as the auto-lacing shoes are here. The startup Powerlace located in St. Hubert, Canada has come up with a shoe that will, as per the claims, revolutionize the industry. The innovation makes use of a pressure plate located in the heel for the tightening of shoes and incorporates a lever located at the lower back end to release them while adjusting them by using the puller located near the tongue.
The co-founder of Powerlac, Frederick Labbé said; ‘I always hated to tie my shoes.’ This led him to thinking about finding ways that would be better and comparatively more efficient and about 7 years ago he began experimenting. He says he met the business partners two years ago and since then the team has been working on the project. He says; ‘We had to study the traditional [methods] of shoe manufacturing and find a way to implement our technology in the process.’
The team has already been through a number of prototypes with the whole thing kicking off when they started off with existing shoes and modified them and later on creating their own shoes. Labbé says; ‘The most important thing for us was to have a simple and effective system. We did not want batteries, motors, or any unnecessary weight.’
Finally, after a number of prototypes and modifications, the team settled for the current system that makes use of cables to keep the feet held in shoes. Once the user inserts the foot, the mechanism is triggered, locking the foot into place at the tension level that is set by using the pull-tab located on the upper section of exterior. By shifting the lace lock, the user can also adjust tension in the laces separately.
The sole is made of thermo-polyurethane and supports the whole assembly while also doubling up as an anchor for the unlocking lever of the mechanism. The tongue opens up instantly as soon as the pressure is removed from the laces. The team has tried the system for 200,000 lacing cycles, equivalent to using the system for 68 years and 4 times a day, and it works without a glitch.
Powerlace is raising funds on Kickstarter with a 60-day campaign so that the men’s running show design can be produced with US sizes 8-12 and while sporting four colors; blue, gray, green and orange. If all goes according to plan the shoes will be ready by May 2015. The normal price will be CAD 195, while the early bid of CAD 175 shall warrant you a unit.