When Yasmeen Jamil Elbanna saw a schoolmate trip on her loose shoelaces and skin her knees, she asked her engineer father, Jamil Nader Elbanna, to help her think of a solution. But because he was occupied with a design project at the time, the older Elbanna didn’t give it much thought. The plan wasn’t meant to be shelved, though, as inspiration struck when they watched the animated film “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”. In one scene, a character invented spray-on shoes with laces that never had to be tied.
After coming up with the concept for their product – colorful, stretchy laces that required no tying – the father and daughter team began the lengthy development process. They had to figure out how to attach the laces to the shoes, what length would work for most shoe styles and sizes, and which material offered the proper elasticity, durability, and shape memory. Young Yasmeen was involved in every stage of the undertaking, and the Elbannas arrived at the final design nine months later.
The Elbannas’ product, LaceOut, mimics the bar lace style that is so popular among skaters. Accomplishing the look is much easier with LaceOut than conventional shoelaces, though, as you only have to pop the pieces into the eyelets. No need to weave or tie anything, simply “press in and forget”. And with various colors to choose from, you can customize your laces to match your school colors or show your support for your favorite sports team. Best of all, they never become loose even if you move around a lot.
LaceOuts are made from a special blend of polymer that makes them stretchy and durable. The product is sold on the LaceOut site for $9.99 per set, and the Elbannas are currently in talks with a few retail stores.