Why would anybody want a running or walking shoe with a hook-and-loop fastening system? Running shoes with laces work perfectly well, so why go to the trouble of finding Velcro-fitted footwear?
The reasons are many.
People with disabilities may lack the level of mobility or hand-eye coordination required to lace their shoes. Even temporary hand injuries could restrict the use of fingers.
Age-related arthritis also makes operating traditional laces difficult.
Lacing shoes with gloves on is also hard. This happens during winters, and also in workplaces which mandates the use of protective gloves. It is no surprise that the aerospace industry was one of the early customers of Velcro; it helped astronauts manage their bulky suits.
Or the reason could be as simple as finding laces cumbersome to manage. Slip-on shoes usually lack the required levels of lock-down, so a hook-and-loop closure is the next best thing.
So let’s go find some running and walking shoes with straps. How hard can that be?
As it turns out, there aren’t many options. And why is that?
Strap-based closure systems add bulk to running shoe uppers – visually and empirically. The wide straps break the continuity of the upper design and make the shoe look stodgy – no brand wants that. Velcro straps are usually affixed over a synthetic or leather base, and that adds weight. That, too, isn’t preferable when shoes are competing against each other to shave every possible micro-ounce.
There’s a functional impact too. Athletic footwear – especially the running kind – need flexible uppers which work dynamically with the foot. Once you put a couple of hook and loop straps on the shoe, that affects the upper’s movement range.
Also, putting real miles on a running shoe will stretch and loosen the straps over time. Throw in some dirt from outdoor workouts and the efficacy of the fastening system becomes greatly reduced.
That is why running shoe brands prefer to go BOA lacing instead of strap-based fastening. This way, you get the functional benefits of traditional lacing while maintaining a slim exterior profile.
On the other hand, footwear meant for biking/cycling and weight lifting make liberal use of hook and loop straps.
Biking and lifting shoes are static in comparison; the feet stay in one spot instead of covering distances. Under the circumstances, Velcro panels are perfect for securing locking the foot down. One also doesn’t need to worry about the laces coming undone and getting snagged in the chain assembly.
Sure, lots of children’s footwear are sold with no laces. But that’s more for the convenience of the parents than anything else. Besides preventing kids from tripping on their own laces, these silhouettes allow an easy on and off.
There are only a couple of running shoes we could find for this guide. Even then, only the Nike shoe is the legit performance kind. Some shoes such as the Altra King MT 1.5 use a strapping system, but that’s more to supplement the lacing system rather than replace it.
Running shoes with hook-and-loop straps.
1) Nike Revolution 4 Flyease
This has to be one of the easiest shoes in the world to put on – and our top pick. A hook and loop strap is connected directly to a long zip on the side. In other words, the strap is the pull tab.
Pull the strap towards the inside, and the zip automatically closes. Applying light pressure allows the strap to securely fasten. The elastic laces are the fixed-position kind which does not require to be cinched – ever. The Revolution 4’s $60 retail also means that the shoe is accessible in more ways than one.
Nike sells an entire collection around the ‘FlyEase’ closure system – a concept targeted to make wearing shoes more accessible. Not all FlyEase products use Velcro straps but are easy to wear and take off.
Also see: The Pegasus Flyease with a bungee cord stopper and zip closure.
2) Nike Metcon sport
The Nike Metcon Sport isn’t a running shoe per se; this is a cross-training shoe. But you can run short distances in them, including treadmill workouts.
That’s a small compromise for a shoe with a slip-on entry and velcro loop closure over the midfoot.
3) North Face Cadman Moc Knit
For more serious athletic activities, the Nike Revolution FlyEase is a superior choice. The North Face Cadman Moc has a strong athleisure vibe and is better suited towards activities of a milder nature.
The simple one-piece upper design makes the interior comfortable but lacks the secured fit of serious performance shoes. A thick band with a hook-and-loop function provides a midfoot grip which is sufficient for leisurely use.
Walking shoes without laces
1) Brooks Addiction Walker V Strap
Brooks sells the Addiction Walker in two flavors; we’ve covered the laced edition in one of our other guides.
The second variant has an upper with dual fastening straps for ease of entry and egress. The rest of the shoe is the same as laced kind – the V Strap’s upper is made of leather which adds comfort and durability.
The high-volume midsole is built wide for cushioned support, and the V Walker comes standard with a slip-resistant outsole. All in all, this shoe is excellent value for its $120 price.
2) New Balance Men’s 577
This is one of the best lace-free walking/work shoes with a sub-$100 retail price. The all-leather and comfortably-fitting upper can be fastened through the two straps, and is also available in four widths, three colors, and a women’s version.
A full-length Polyurethane midsole adds resilient cushioning and all-day support. The geometry of the full-contact outsole is specifically designed for walking.
Some variants of the 577 are assembled in the United States.
3) New Balance hook and loop leather 928v3
Available in both Men’s and Women’s versions, the strapped version of the 928 is a robust – yet heavy – walking shoe. With its standard-fitting upper comes the option of five widths, ranging from a narrow to an extra-extra-large.
Two Velcro straps loop through a wide receptacle for a quick yet secure fastening experience.
4) New Balance hook and loop 813
The 813 is a basic yet dependable walking shoe with a cushioned and stable midsole. If you consider its $90 MSRP, the 813 ends up being a good buy.
A full leather upper runs warm but is protective; the plump tongue and collar make the interiors comfortable and filters any top-down pressure. The 813 is also available for women.
5) Reebok Work and Cushion 3.0 KC
The Reebok Work and Cushion 3.0 KC costs just $60, has an oil and slip-resistant outsole, a DMX Ride foam midsole, Memory Tech insole, and a hardy leather+synthetic upper. If it isn’t obvious already, this shoe has a lot going for it.
There are no laces here; just a couple of hook and loop straps for an easy on, easy off. This is a great product for long walks or long hours at work.
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