I use this blog as a soap box to preach (ahem... to talk :-) about subjects that interest me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lacing Shoes

Almost one and a half years ago, I posted an article about how to fold toilet paper (Toilet paper woes).  Today, I would like to write about another simple task that often doesn't receive much attention (except by me, that is): how to lace shoes.

After deciding to write about this neglected subject, I discovered a great website entirely dedicated to the different techniques for lacing up shoes: Ian's Shoelace Site.  Very thorough a professional.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the discovery of Ian's site didn't deter me from writing here my reflections on the subject.  Ian shows diagrams for 36 different ways to lace shoes, but I will concentrate on the three methods that, as far as I can see, are used by the vast majority of people.

Here is the first method, in which one side of the lace spirals through all eyelets and the other side goes through to one of the two top holes:

The advantage of this method is that, if the two sides can come close together, the loops are parallel to each other.  This appeals to many, and I have often found that this method is applied by salespeople.  Perhaps they do it because, with this method, you don't need to count holes.

I hate this method.  After a while, it tends to skew the holes, as one of the bottom ones is strongly pulled towards the top.  It is also somewhat more difficult to open up the shoe, and the side of the lace that loops through tends to remain loose in the middle.  Besides, I like symmetry.

One variation of this method is as follows:

As you can see, both sides loop through each second pair of holes.  The loops remain parallel in front, while the skewing effect is significantly reduced.  But I still don't like it, because it remains asymmetrical and (don't ask me why) somewhat unnatural.

The third method I would like to show you is completely symmetrical.  Here it is:

In the example shown, the lace always go through the eyelets from the outside to the inside.  This is in fact a variation of the most common technique, in which the lace starts from the inside and always go through from the inside to the outside.  The result is a zip-like pattern that is quite pleasing.  Like in the previous cases, it doesn't require you to count the holes.  But it has two disadvantages.  The first one is that you cannot bring the two sides of the shoe completely together.  It is not a problem in the example, but I had sometimes shoes in which the two sides even overlapped.  The second disadvantage is that the two sides of the lace rub against each other, thereby making it somewhat more difficult to open and close the shoe.

The final method is the one that I consistently use.  Although, for the best effect, it requires you to count the holes (in, out, in, ...), it represents in my opinion the most pleasing solution in terms of symmetry, low friction, and applicability.

It is also nice to see the Xs formed by the laces inside.  Or not?

No comments:

Post a Comment