Opinion: Laces knot for me


I’ve been doing it wrong for about 65 years, making the same mistake more than 24,000 times. You’ve probably been doing it wrong, too. I’m not talking about how you brush your teeth or shovel snow or make your bed.                           

This revelation came to me as a result of watching a TED Talk, those cool short videos online where you can learn about everything from Chaos Theory to the life of a sloth. This particular TED Talk by Terry Moore is a fascinating look at the correct way to tie your shoes. He demonstrates pretty convincingly that the worldwide epidemic of laces becoming untied can be solved by a simple adjustment to how we loop our knots. It took me a few tries to do it correctly, but trust me, he’s right on the money. By the way, a frozen mummy from 3300 B.C. was found wearing the first recorded shoelaces. They were untied. He tripped and fell off a glacier.

I have been plagued by loose laces my whole life. People are always saying to me, “Do you know your shoe is untied?” Actually, I usually do, but around the time I turned 70, I decided I wasn’t reaching all the way down there unless both shoes required my immediate attention.

I came across this TED Talk as a result of Googling the word “shoelaces,” hoping to find some replacements for a pair of casual shoes I owned. Instead of traditional laces, these shoes came with a new contrivance called Lock Laces, which are loops of elastic that are woven through the eyelets and never need to be tied. You simply pull the shoe on and it tightens up automatically.

These new thingamajigs were driving me crazy. I decided to cut them off the shoes and replace them with traditional laces. But most stores don’t carry a good selection, so I logged onto Amazon Prime and found a dizzying assortment of colors and styles.

As you probably know, each product offered on Amazon allows previous buyers to write a review to educate others by recommending or warning about their purchase. OK, I could see taking the time to give your opinion if you bought a TV or a computer or a weed whacker, but shoelaces?  For each possible selection there were literally hundreds of comments by people who, I assume, have nothing better to do than sit around looking at their feet. These are actual postings:

  • “The shoelaces are thicker than I thought they’d be. What a waste of $2.”
  • “The laces were 36 inches, not 34. What should I do?”
  • “These laces won’t stay tied. Any suggestions? (Author’s note: See TED Talk on this topic).
  • “The laces are too dark for my shoes. Not sure which to replace.”
  • “The laces I ordered are too short. Could that be my fault?”
  • “When they ask how many eyelets, do you count both sides of the shoe?”

By the way, while browsing on Amazon, I bought some new dress shoes. To avoid all the hassle, I opted for slip-ons. Am I lazy? Yes, I’m a loafer.