Monday, January 11, 2010

Shoelace Shocker!

The recent Arctic conditions have forced me to wear my hiking shoes for all expeditions, however trivial. They’re fine shoes, with the one problem that the laces come undone with annoying frequency. This is also a problem with a pair of formal black shoes I own, and has been a minor irritant over the years with various items of footwear. But because it has not been with all items of footwear but only some, I always blamed the individual shoes.

On Friday, exasperated by a walk punctuated with lace-tying stops, I googled the problem of shoelace slippage and found Ian, who appears to to be the world’s leading exert on shoelace-related matters. To my utter amazement, it became clear that everything on this page directly applied to me and therefore that for the whole of my life I have been tying my shoelaces incorrectly!

Since childhood I have been folding the second bow over rather than under the first. I changed my method there and then, and the problem has been solved at a stroke.

The revelation was astounding, humiliating, liberating. I march into the new decade a changed man, confident in the security of my shoelaces, freed from the necessity of constantly stooping to retie, but also obliquely unnerved. An only life can take so long to climb clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never - oh, what bitter truth in Larkin's words! If shoelaces, then what other deeply ingrained habits, what other fundamental routines of my daily life have been wrong, half-cocked, misconceived all along? Perhaps it is better to remain in ignorance.

17 comments:

Gaw said...

A more optimistic view would see it as part of life's unfolding adventure.

malty said...

It's the dog end, post holiday feeling again, happens every year, wear slip ons and smile.
Two thoughts, bought some Campers before Christmas, from Amazon, the laces could be used to secure deck cargo. Beware the granny knot, knew an Italian who swore by it when anchoring for an abseil, we finally found him at the bottom of the Capucin. The other half of the knot was still there some years later, flapping in the wind, attached to a piton.

Brit said...

A powerful image, Malty. And a cautionary tale.

Willard said...

Doc Martens ankle boots. Finest pair of shoes I've ever bought and have kept me (mostly) upright whilst the world has been slipping around me.

worm said...

I find the modern tubular lace is often recalcitrant

Matt said...

A similar experience for me-- I was standing in a supermarket line recently when my shoelaces spontaneously untied themselves. A kindly little old lady explained that I should wind the string around the bunny ears twice, not just once. My laces have stayed tied ever since.

Brit said...

A bittersweet discovery, isn't it Matt?

Susan said...

A laces website - now that's really curious! Great stuff, especially the morbid poem. Can recommend Dubarry boots for snowy conditions (curiously, only one lace and you don't have to tie it).

Peter Burnet said...

Now that you have all that extra time you used to devote to repeated shoe-tieing, you can tackle that other little irritant you've suffered unnecessarily for so long.

worm said...

susan - those Dubarry boots are so expensive it may actually be cheaper to buy a pair of shoes at Asda and pay a small albino child to run around after you scattering rose petals and tying your laces when required

malty said...

Try lacing these up, covered by crampon straps, in a blizzard, with 3 layer gloves on, minus 30 and flat head-torch batteries.

Gadjo Dilo said...

"folding the second bow over rather than under the first..." Ffff, you're a brave man to attempt to describe how to tie shoe laces using words rather than pictures!

Gadjo Dilo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
martpol said...

Ah, the power of the World Wide Wobblything. It still surprises me that no matter how trivial or esoteric a problem, another human will have experienced it and uploaded the solution. But a whole website dedicated to lace tying? That man is on a mission.

Recusant said...

Susan and Worm.

Don't buy the 'Dubarry' boots. You can get 'Dublin River' boots, which are pretty much identical, for less than half the price.

Bloody hell, this is turning into a price comparison website and I'm discussing buying footwear in public.

Sean said...

So we have learned that the southern sissy's as well as not warming up pork pies, tie their second knot over the first! if you lace them up properly you should not need a second knot..no wonder the country is *ucked.

Ali said...

Never saw the point of laces, so I stick to loafers.