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Marines' invention makes tying bootlaces obsolete

Nov. 2, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Proper wear of TacLace eliminates having to tie up bootlaces.
Proper wear of TacLace eliminates having to tie up bootlaces. (TacLace)
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A Marine duo is revolutionizing the way military members could put on their boots.

A Marine duo is revolutionizing the way military members could put on their boots.

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A Marine duo is revolutionizing the way military members could put on their boots.

The two Marine inventors have created TacLace, a simple product that transforms the time-consuming and tedious chore of tying boots into a simple process taking just seconds.

When Marines first use TacLace, they thread the lose ends of their laces through a TacLace strap. From then on, they simply yank on the strap to tighten the laces and then wrap the strap once around the top of the boot — no tying or tucking.

“The idea is to get boots on quickly in combat,” said co-inventor Andrew Williams, a former logistics captain who served from 2007 until 2012.

But Williams, who deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, said he also wore them in garrison.

“Being faster at home is good, too,” he said. “That is time you could be doing something else.”

They are also more comfortable since they do not involve tucking excess laces into the tops of boots which create potentially painful friction and pressure points.

The best part: TacLace is inconspicuous and falls within the uniform regulations of every branch of the armed forces.

“I wore it for almost two years, deployed and in garrison. Only the Marines that I spoke with about it knew I even had it on,” Williams said. “It is concealed with your trousers bloused.”

He recently took the product to the leaders of Infantry Combat Equipment at Marine Corps Systems Command, who told him that as long as it did not interfere with the function of clothing items, it was acceptable.

Williams hopes the $15 device will one day be an issued item.

For now, Marines are more likely to find it in the exchange. He said TacLaces’ distributors are trying to arrange that.

The product is the brainchild of Williams’ partner, Capt. Pete Foster, who continues to serve as a recruiter. The two passionate inventors deployed to Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, in 2011 and served together on the II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) staff. Foster shared the idea with Williams, who began refining it, enlisting the help of an Afghan who worked at the Leatherneck sewing shop.

The product became commercially available about two months ago. But a recent spate of media attention has shifted their business into overdrive. On Oct. 8, the day their product jumped from military gear blogs to mainstream media, TacLace received 833 orders. The next day the company got another 700.

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