Instructions for "Installing" Salomon Kevlar Quick Lace Replacement
(last updated 12-17-2009)
My Story: In my opinion, Salomon makes some great trail-running shoes. I originally purchased the Salomon XA Comp 3 to use as light-weight, 3-season hiking shoes. They fit incredibly well, had the 'break-in' feel almost immediately, and I soon found myself wearing them everyday, even when I wasn't hiking. They lifted me through Half Dome in Yosemite, Twin Lakes in Sequoia, Pinnacles, Big Sur, and so much more. Things were good, and love story was about to form.
After 6 months of general use, 60+ miles hiking, and 200+ miles biking, these things finally started to give out. The good part is that it wasn't the construction, but rather the laces that started to fray and thread. One of the lace loops (Inside Set, 3rd from bottom) caused enough friction with the lace to grind through the outer coating and even fray the Kevlar, a material sometimes referred to as 'bulletproof' -- hardly so in fabric form. The Kevlar thread bundle frayed enough to compel me to consider replacing them. I found the cheapest price for these at REI ($8.50). After reading the reviews, I was a little dismayed due to the difficulty presented. The engineer inside of me soon kicked in, and I decided to make the purchase and go with it.
Before I continue, I should note that newer models of Salomon trail-running shoes seem to have a plastic lining in the lace loop that I mentioned above. In my pair, only the top 4 lace loops had a plastic lining. This should reduce fraying of the lace due to that lace loop, meaning that newer models shouldn't have this problem of laces getting destroyed after 6 months.
Note: There are about a thousand ways to do the lacings right...and about a thousand ways to mess it up. In my guide, I provide a method that I came up with after some thought and visualization. Of course, there may be 'better' ways of doing it, but the method I present has the least number of cuts and ties.
0.1) First, let's review the package contents. You should have the following in your set:
If you do it my way, you won't need (2) set of 'break away lace'. Personally, I think they look tacky...you will just reuse the rubber grip on your old pair (the thing you pull to tighten).
■ (1) Kevlar laces with loops on each end (x2)
■ (2) Set of 'Break Away Lace' plastic caps(x2)
■ (3) Locking mechanism housing (x2)
■ (4) Locking mechanism release button (x2)
■ (5) Locking mechanism friction gear (x2)
0.2) There are also other things you will need.
■ Open flame (a candle works great, sets mood lighting too...puts you in a scene where you are in olden time spending 1-2 hours of your life to do something that seems rather trivial)
■ Small diameter rod to help you push the lace through loops (screwdriver works fine, .25" or smaller Allen wrench might work)
1) Burn the instructions. Or, as a fellow REI member said, cut the enclude instruction en burn it. I thought that was funny. If you've seen the instructions, you know why. They are terrible and un-readable. You don't have to burn it, but if you do, I've included an image just in case you feel like you're missing something.
2) Cut the old laces completely off. All of it. Your shoes should now look like the following:
3) Take one of the new laces and loop it through the bottom-most lace loop. Then, run one end of the lace into the loop of the other end as shown. This saves you one cut and one tie compared to other methods.
4) Cut the loop off of the other end of the lace you are currently using. Some people will tell you to keep this on, but the lace loops on my shoe were so small that I couldn't fit it through. They barely has enough room for one lace, hardly enough for two.
5) Burn the cut. The cut will produce a frayed end. This is very hard to lace through the lace loops. The idea is to burn the end so that you can form a needle-like point that is easy to thread. If you mess up, don't worry...you can try burning the end again or just cut it off...there is plenty more lace to go around.
6) Begin lacing to the top. Just lace as you normally would a shoe. Stop when you reach the top.
7) Run the lace through the housing, then through the old rubber grip from your old shoes, then back out of the housing. This is confusing, so it's best to look at the image. You can see the whole thing starting to take form now.
8) Finish the lacing by working your way down through the other loops. When you get to the end, just relax -- you're almost there!
9) Time to finish the locking mechanism. First, make sure your housing is positioned as shown in the first picture. If it is flipped over, then the feeling of the quick-lace will be different from what you're used to. You will still be able to lace either way (I actually messed up this part because the housing flipped in the previous step!).
Now, enter the friction gear into the larger, curved end as shown. Notice that the gear is not symmetric. The flip side has concentric circles.
Finally, push in the release button. You will need to push hard and make sure everything is aligned. You will also notice that the harder you push (down, against the button's legs), the larger the hole is on the housing.
10) Measure length, tie, cut. I put on both shoes to compare lengths. Find a length that is suitable for tightening and loosening. You don't want too much slack otherwise it will look ridiculous when you tighten. You also want enough slack so that you can take your shoe off. Find a happy medium. Then, knot the end using your favorite knot. I knotted twice. Then, cut the excess off.
11) Burn the end you just cut to prevent it from fraying. Don't burn your shoe!!
Congratulations! You're done with one shoe! Now do the other shoe and you should be rocking your Salomons again in no time!