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Gear Review: 'Hickies' Shoelaces to Ease TSA Shoe Scan Drama

November 29, 2012 at 5:42 PM | by | ()

Okay so, there's these things called "Hickies" and, despite the unfortunate name, they're pretty useful...especially when it comes to long travel days. You see, they're lace replacements for sneakers, or really any lace-up shoe. Made of stretchy plastic, they feed through the eyelets and buckle closed, essentially turning a tie-up shoe into a slip-on.

Now, we pride ourselves on being the fastest, slickest through the X-ray and metal detector machines at airport security. That scene from Up In The Air where George Clooney describes his process to expedite his way to the gate? Yeah, we're like that but with one notable exception: high-tops.

No slip-on leather loafers here; we typically don our trusty dusty, Whitney Museum-edition Keds high-tops for the long-haul, which can mean extra, tangly time un- and re-tying 'em up at TSA and onboard the plane when we want to wiggle our toes. Hickies seemed like the answer, so we gave them a go recently on a roundtrip JFK-SFO flight in economy.

They're currently on sale at Brookstone.com for 2 packs for $30 and come in all sorts of crazy colors. Each box includes 14 Hickies (we got black and gray) plus two bonus in a random color (we ended up with puke green and brown bonus ones, which we'll probably use as cord wraps).

Fitting 'em on: Hickies are sturdy things, and we really had to play with the number we used on our shoe and eyelet placement for max comfort and fit, but easy on-and-off. On a high-top of 8 eyelets rows, we only need to use 4 Hickies. That means only 8 Hickies total took care of this one pair, freeing up the other 8 in the package for another set of shoes.

Replacing the laces is extremely easy and, though we gave them a real workout, none even threatened snapping.

At the airport: Stepping on the back of our heels to slip out of the shoes worked; this wouldn't have been so possible laced up. Plopped 'em in the TSA bin and we were through, able to slip our shoes back on while still waiting for our carryon to come through the scanner. No sitting down required, no holding up the line, no knots in laces and no sweat. Two thumbs up.

In conclusion: These shoes will likely never see their original laces again. We've been wearing the Hickies almost daily for several weeks now, including the week away to SF, and even been complimented on them several times. Trying them on a pair of classic Converse, the effect is similarly pleasing (and it's even the way Brookstone displays them on their website).

Preparing to head through the X-ray machine

Hickies sent us a set for review, but we made no promises and all photos and opinions are completely our own.

[Photos: Jaunted]

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