Over time, humanity manages to replace ugly, clumsy technologies with better, more efficient ones. Quill pens evolved into ballpoint, rotary phones into touchtones, cassettes into digital music. So could somebody please explain why we’re still using shoelaces? They’re fussy to tie (and come undone). They get caught in escalators and doors. They hold up the TSA line.
Various entrepreneurial weirdos have come up with fasteners that eliminate the tying; I reviewed some of them a couple of years ago. They’re cheap, and some of them do the job. But they eliminate only the tying, not the laces themselves. And they’d look supremely goofy on anything but basic sneakers like running shoes. Imagine my curiosity, then, when I saw an ad on Facebook for new, hands-free shoes called Kiziks. (Amazing that such an ad should appear in my feed like that. It’s almost like Facebook knows everything about me!)
The Kiziks, which began life as a Kickstarter success story, work like this: You know how lazy people crush the heels of their shoes when they shove their feet in? (If not, I invite you to look at my sons’ sneakers. Or mine.) Well, this company wants you to smush the heels. As your foot pushes past, the heel folds down — and then snaps back upright behind your foot, thanks to a titanium spring inside. In other words, you can shove your feet into Kiziks as though they’re loafers — but once they’re in, these shoes are snug. (Velcro patches on the overlapping sides let you adjust the shape, width, and position of the tongue for a customized fit.) As for taking Kiziks off: You know how lazy people step out of their shoes by stepping on the back of each one? This company wants you to do that, too. The rear sole actually gives you a tiny landing area for your other toe. These shoes are a gift for people with no tolerance for inefficiency.
Most of Kizik men’s shoes (there are three styles, plus two sandals) look like what you might call “dress sneakers.” They’re made of soft, full-grain Italian leather, but many still have faux laces stretching across the tongue, hinting at a sneakerly heritage. They look a lot less goofy than shoes with weird plastic tabs attached to hold down the laces, but I don’t think the hypebeasts will ever be queuing up to wait for the next style to drop. I bought the New York in gray — it’s one of the simpler, more clean-looking men’s styles — and ever since, I’ve pretty much stopped wearing anything else. They’re effortless enough for running out to the mailbox or picking up a kid after school, but dressy enough for neighborhood parties and even business-casual events (though you’ll still want something nicer for court appearances). The brand also makes seven styles for women, including a kind of Common Projects–looking all-white leather sneaker, and a fugly orthopedic-looking sandal — which, of course, is the original way to go laceless.
My sons aren’t the type to raid their dad’s closet, but after I got my Kiziks, they both requested pairs for themselves, too. Even they get that wearing these shoes means never having to sit down, or even put down their phones, to get them on or off. The laziness gene clearly runs in the family.
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