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Thread: New Laces for the New Year

  1. #1
    Tripping on the Podium
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    New Laces for the New Year

    1. Disclosure. A representative of Derby Laces provided me and other skaters with free samples of laces for a field trial. There were no conditions stipulated; in particular, neither I nor the other skaters are under any obligation to provide a review. Except for a brief summary of other skaters’ experiences, this review is based solely on my personal experiences.

    2. Laces under Test. Derby Laces (https://derbylaces.com/) manufactures several lines of laces for roller derby skate boots. Several years ago, I checked them out to see whether any would be suitable for figure skate boots, but they were all substantially too wide. Recently, they introduced a new line of narrower laces to meet the needs of new roller derby skate boots that require narrower laces. They have designated this line as “Waxed CORE Laces” (https://derbylaces.com/product-categ...ed-core-laces/). Laces from this particular line were tested on figure skate boots in the field trial.

    3. Width. The nominal width designated by the manufacturer is 6 mm. I measured an unstretched (laces relaxed) width of 7 mm and a stretched (laces pulled tight under tension) width of 6 mm. In comparison, I measured the following widths (unstretched/stretched) for three common brands of figure skate laces: Jackson (6.5 mm/5 mm); Riedell (5.5 mm/4.5 mm); A&R (6 mm/4.5 mm). Although the CORE laces are slightly wider than typical figure skate laces, they are narrow enough to attempt a trial. [For those who are interested, I have included details of width and thickness measurements in an Appendix at the end of this review.]

    4. Materials and Features. The laces are manufactured from all polyester fibers and treated with wax. The tips (aglets) are integrally molded (thermally fused) from the lace material itself: no separate tips that can be pulled off.

    5. Colors. For traditional figure skaters, basic white and basic black are available. For coaches seeking laces that coordinate with beige or tan coaching boots, tan is available. In contrast to figure skaters, roller derby skaters apparently are colorful characters. For whimsical figure skaters, the CORE laces come in a rainbow of colors, including, literally, “rainbow”.

    6. Lengths. Lengths currently range from 36 to 120 inches, with values based on the needs of the roller derby boot market. Many, however, are suitable for figure skate boots. The manufacturer plans to introduce more lengths to meet the needs of the figure skate boot market. If you are interested in a particular length not currently available, I suggest that you post the length that you want.

    7. My Experience. I wore the CORE laces on Jackson Elite Suede boots (previous leather model, purchased late 2014). The previous laces I wore were Jackson Elite laces.

    * Initial lace-up (threading the laces through the eyelets and looping the laces around the hooks) with the CORE laces was slower than with the Jackson laces because of the increased width of the CORE laces.

    * The wax on the CORE laces hit the sweet spot. Not too little, not too much ... just right. Not too slick, not too tacky ... just right.

    * Pulling on the laces gave a secure feeling. The wax served as a lubricant as a portion of the lace was pulled tight through an eyelet, across another portion of the lace, or around a hook. The wax also helped anchor a portion of the lace once it had been pulled tight.

    * Laces stayed tight throughout the session; no re-lacing needed. In addition to the wax, the extra width probably helped in keeping the laces from slipping.

    * The laces stretched with initial use, resulting in slight narrowing of the laces. After about three sessions, I was able to loop the laces around the hooks with ease (my boots have small hooks).

    * I have worn the CORE laces for about 6 months (about 120 sessions) now. They have held up well. After the initial break-in of the laces, the overall lacing procedure is easier, compared to that with previous laces, because the laces keep tension during lace-up better (less slippage) and maintain the tension throughout a session. Overall, they feel more secure than previous laces I’ve worn. As an added advantage, the waxed fibers are gentler on my fingers.

    8. Other Skaters’ Experiences. Seven other skaters participated in the field trial. They included skaters who skated intermediate and advanced freestyle and intermediate and advanced dance. Some skaters also worked as coaches and rink guards. Figure skate boots worn in the field trial included (a) Jackson Freestyle (previous leather model), (b) Jackson Elite (previous leather model), (c) Jackson Elite (current 5000 series synthetic model), (d) Jackson coaching boots (unknown previous leather model), (e) Riedell Aria, (f) Harlick custom dance [two skaters], and (g) an ancient pair of Kneblis (unknown model).

    * The common positive response from all skaters was that the CORE laces stayed tied tight throughout a session; whereas, with their previous laces, they had to stop and re-lace one or more times.

    * The skaters with non-Harlick boots either reported no problems with initial lace-up or slower initial lace-up, followed by easier lace-up after several sessions. This likely depended on how worn the eyelets were and on the size of the hooks.

    * The two skaters with the Harlick boots had relatively new (several months old) boots that came with extra narrow and thin Harlick break-in laces. They had not yet changed over to ‘normal’ laces. Consequently, the CORE laces were substantially more snug and slower to lace up. Both skaters, however, were pleased with the non-slip performance of the laces and continued to use them (they strongly preferred them to the laces that had been supplied with the boots).

    9. Other Applications. Since the laces are available in short lengths down to 36”, I tried a pair of 45” laces on my ankle-height work boots that I wear every day. They perform much better than the typical round laces supplied with work boots. These laces stay tied down and are durable.

    __________________________________________________ ______________


    10. APPENDIX. Width and Thickness Comparison.

    Width*: (Derby) 7.0/6.0; (Jackson) 6.5/5.0; (Riedell) 5.5/4.5; (A&R) 6.0/4.5

    Thickness**: (Derby) 1.7 – 1.8/1.5 – 1.6; (Jackson) 1.4 – 1.5/1.3 – 1.4; (Riedell) 1.8 – 1.9/1.7 – 1.8; (A&R) 1.5 – 1.6/1.3 – 1.4

    * Nearest 0.5 mm in unstretched/stretched state. Measurements taken at 10 points along a single sample lace.

    ** Nearest 0.1 mm in unstretched/stretched state. Measurements taken at 10 points along a single sample lace.

    Laces were unused, out of the package. Derby laces were recent vintage. Other laces were purchased ~ two years ago. Product designations:

    Derby CORE
    Jackson Elite No. 92PT
    Riedell No. 3276
    A&R No. 9094B.

    Since laces are easily deformable, measurements will depend on the instruments and conditions used. All laces were measured with the same instruments and under the same conditions. We would expect measurements to vary with lot, storage conditions, and age. Therefore, these measurements are not statistically valid.

  2. #2
    On the Ice
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    My daughter would love rainbow laces.... I might have to buy some for her...

  3. #3
    Rinkside Bill S's Avatar
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    I was in need of some new laces, so I ordered some. I even went beyond basic black and got deep purple and periwinkle gray. At my age, seeing laces when tying them is more important than self esteem - within reason. No safety orange for me regardless!

  4. #4
    Tripping on the Podium
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill S View Post
    No safety orange for me regardless!
    Would you reconsider, if "carrot orange" gave you the right of way during a freestyle session? :-)

  5. #5
    Rinkside Bill S's Avatar
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    Yeah, but I'd hate to relace before and after my program run-throughs.

  6. #6
    Rinkside Bill S's Avatar
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    I just got them in the mail today. That was quick shipping!

    In looking at the colors, the periwinkle laces aren't going to be used, but the purple is dark and subtle enough. I might be able to see purple better than black laces on black boots for lacing - my real reason for trying colors other than black. I wish that they had gray!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill S View Post
    I just got them in the mail today. That was quick shipping!

    In looking at the colors, the periwinkle laces aren't going to be used, but the purple is dark and subtle enough. I might be able to see purple better than black laces on black boots for lacing - my real reason for trying colors other than black. I wish that they had gray!
    What was the charge for shipping? I'm thinking about within the US.

  8. #8
    Tripping on the Podium
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    Quote Originally Posted by NanaPat View Post
    What was the charge for shipping? I'm thinking about within the US.
    You can get shipping charges by placing the items in the shopping cart and then going to checkout. In the checkout page, don't fill out anything except for the country. Shipping charges will then be listed; they depend on quantity ordered and delivery service. For US and Canada, delivery is free for quantity of two or more via regular mail.

  9. #9
    Rinkside Bill S's Avatar
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    Just to confirm what tstop4me said, I ordered 4 laces of different colors, and shipping was free. I'm in the US, and they came via postal mail in a flexible packet.

  10. #10
    Tripping on the Podium
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    Update for Skaters Who Wear Edea Boots:

    The CORE laces were not tested with Edea boots during the initial field trial. Edea laces have an unusual flattened tubular geometry; and they are also wider than traditional laces such as Jackson or Riedell. I recently found out that CORE laces also have a flattened tubular geometry (not obvious upon casual inspection). Since the CORE laces are also wider than Jackson or Riedell laces, I asked a skater at my rink to try them out on her Edeas. She’s a high-level competitive freestyle skater who wears Pianos, the top-of-the-line Edea boots.

    She raves about the CORE laces, and strongly prefers them over the Edea laces. The width is a good match; they lace up more easily ... and most importantly, they stay tied down throughout a session. She told me that, in the course of a 45-min intensive jumping session, she typically needs to re-tie her Edea laces twice; but, with the CORE laces, she doesn’t need to re-tie at all.

    If you are looking for an alternative to Edea laces, you should try the CORE laces.

  11. #11
    On the Ice
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    I just bought some with my Jackson. I just realized that I had been skating in them without using the ankle crease hole.... and I didn't need it. I really really like these laces. I can keep the toe box loose, but tighten at the instep and it stays put. They've really helped lock in my heel.

  12. #12
    Rinkside Bill S's Avatar
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    I'm wearing them too, and changed into them last week during a spring boot "refresh".

    I have about 4 hours on them so far, but they lock against each other and to the boot's lace-holes very, very well. They don't loosen at all during a 1-1/2 freestyle practice.

    They feel a little sticky (the wax?) when you pull them tight. Untying them takes your attention to pick them loose, but that's what makes them work so well when skating. I like them a lot.

    Edit: I'm using the Core laces with Riedell Gold Star boots

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