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The Prospector

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The Prospector

Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

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Be orange and blue from head to toe

Special to The Prospector

With T-shirts, jerseys, face paint and foam pickaxes, die-hard fans of UTEP’s sports teams find many different ways to show their support for
the Miners. 

A product was made to bring stylish trends and customization together for a new and unique way to show off school colors, starting with the shoes.

“U-Laces are elastic shoelace inserts that enable users to lace multiple colors and patterns into their sneakers,” said Tim Talley, founder and CEO of U-Lace, on ABC’s “Shark Tank.”

Designed to look like shoelaces, U-Lace brings new meaning to the comfort and style of sneakers. The product is inserted through two eyelets of the shoes to mix and match designs and styles. With over 50 different colors to choose from, users can personalize any pair of sneakers.

“We’re the only lacing system that looks like actual shoelaces,” Talley said. “It took two years to figure out how to perfect our product and (it allows for) over 87 billion possible lacing combinations.”

Talley got the idea for U-Lace when he went to Tokyo, Japan, in search of business ideas. While there, he saw a pair of sneakers on display that was laced with different colored laces, a fashion trend in both Japan and the United States. Talley decided that he would find new ways to make this trend reach its full potential.

“I thought (the lacing) was really cool, and while one-siding doesn’t make a trend, a lot of sneakers were this way, so I decided that it was the product I would run with,” Talley said.

Founded in 2009, U-Lace products have been sold worldwide, through its online website, several shoe stores and now at Target stores as well. The company is continuously finding new ways to expand, going far beyond just a
shoelace insert.

“The design for U-Lace is that we make products to customize other products, empowering customers to make the products their own,” Talley said. “We plan on having our product sold in 1,500 to 2,000 stores by the holidays, and five to 10 years from now, we expect to be making things like furniture and apparel that continues
to be customizable.”

With teenagers and young adults being the target demographic for U-Lace inserts, the idea has gone over well with UTEP students, who are happy about the new possibilities of expressing themselves through their shoes. The inserts are sold at $3.49 per pack, with two packs being needed to lace a pair of shoes.

“U-Lace is pretty cool. They’re cheap and easy to lace, plus, no more tripping on shoelaces,” said Miriam Perez, freshman forensic science major. “It also seems like a good alternative for little kids who don’t know how to tie their shoes. I would totally buy them.”

Talley sees a bright future for U-Lace, specifically for sports teams and their fans. The growing company plans on highlighting team spirit and letting it be expressed in ways that were never possible before.

“For us, we think that U-Lace can be the next big thing for game day,” Talley said. “We can match any team color, we’ve got 50 colors in our line, and if we need to, we can add more colors. You can rock school colors any time during the week. We’re working on a new accessory that will bring teams and clubs to another level, making special packs for sports teams and new products that feature team logos.”

Trendsetters and sports fanatics alike can express themselves in a simple yet fashionable way to show off their own style and “put the kick back into kicks.”

“U-Lace helps define someone’s personality. You can make styles that are comfortable to you,” said Robert Rivera, freshman electrical
engineering major.

Joseph Esposito may be reached at [email protected].

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Be orange and blue from head to toe