I've been lurking this thread for a while now being a long time Wings + Horns fan. Recently, W+H came out with something I consider a grail item. The piece(s) is a staple in any wardrobe of a fashion conscious man, however, is utterly unique in its execution and quality. I always knew there was something missing from my fits and now I know what that is. Since, the Canadian company released their '13 winter collection, I haven't been able to find a review of the item so I thought I would give back and contribute to this wonderful community by doing an extensive review. I'm sure others on the forum would be curious about the details, fit, and quality of this item and hopefully they find answers to those questions. Without further ado:
My past purchases from Wings + Horns off their online store have always been a joy to receive, particularly from their uncomplicated yet sincere packaging. The packaging of this item was no different. Wrapped four times over in a 3.5 cm wide paper ribbon, the loop of leather laces fit snugly under the taught hand wrapped packaging. A circular matte sticker in classic black adorning their "+" prevented the ribbon from unfurling. This reference to their beloved logo is a nice touch that sets the company apart from many of its contemporaries.
Tearing the sticker in two (which was no easy task given the quality and robustness of the sticker), the paper ribbon slipped away with ease. I was left with the most beautiful pair of laces I have ever seen. Designed to be durable, the laces feature a square cross section. Three sides exposing the soft velvety suede portion of the hide while one side exudes the brilliant smooth face of the leather. As described on the site, the laces are 100% leather. Being made in Italy, one can assume that the leather used to make them is Italian in origin as well. Soft, supple, but substantial. The sides are cut thick and precise, 4.5 mm on each side, and have a hearty weight about them. The colour is fantastic. A deep midnight black saturates the leather, penetrating the suede portions while also giving off a rich soft sheen on the face surface. These laces do not come with aglets, which I think adds to their overall asthetic - simple, minimalistic, and raw.
Comparing the original white Wings + Horns laces that came with their popular hi-top sneakers, you can notice the undeniable pristine condition of the new laces. Having the sneakers for around 4 months now, the patina on the white laces is apparent: creases in places where the laces were pulled into the grommets and slight discolouration due to indigo dye transfer. Being of the same ilk and brand, I anticipate the new black laces to distress similarly, however, one can only hope that stray indigo dye will be visible on the black surface.
In terms of fit and sizing, the 100% Italian leather laces are TTS. The actual dimensions are 181 cm in length by 4.5 cm in thickness. They fit perfectly on my hi-tops. One should note, however, that the laces were about 4.5 cm shorter than the original ones that came with my sneakers. For me, with my emaciated ankles, this discrepancy is not a problem. Those who sport thicker ankles, or dare I say it, cankles, may want to look into directly contacting Wings+Horns for a custom cut pair.
Despite the outstanding design of the laces, every piece has its deficiencies. The thick and sturdy character of the laces make it difficult to maintain in a regular knot. A single knot and bow leaves the shoes precariously on the edge of becoming untied. In my experience, however, due to creasing and bending, this will become easier over time. This slight flaw invokes the eternal argument of form vs. function. Without the chunky design of the laces, one may argue that there would not be any design at all. One other fault is the stray pieces of suede breaking off from the surface of the laces. These would pose an annoying problem to those that require their shoes to be absolutely clean and spotless. I've observed that the new black laces do not suffer from this shedding as much as the white laces, although it just may be due to the contrast and nature of the colours themselves.
Overall, I feel fully satiated. My expectations were fully met and without much fault. Of all my purchases throughout the years, I can honestly say that these are among the top 5. To those looking for a one of a kind accessory that can take your aesthetic to the next level, I wholly recommend Wings+Horns' leather laces with the entirety of my body and mind. To those harping on the price increase this season, these laces are a testament to the good price to quality ratio that W+H is able to provide. $7 Canadian for a grail item is almost grand larceny. Do yourself a favour, don't sleep on these.