Tuesday, May 05, 2009

String Theory: Shoe-String Edition

Pardon me while I go all Andy Rooney for a minute here.

What the hell is wrong with shoe companies these days? Every pair of shoes I've owned since like 2002 has had the same problem: the damn laces won't stay tied. Before '02, all I ever had to do was tie a simple bow and my kicks stayed tight all day long. But the last, like, seven pairs of shoes I've bought inevitably untie themselves--sometimes in as little as twenty steps.

Really, Skechers? Seriously, Puma? Et tu, Asolo? Shoe-lace technology has had what, 3000 years of research & development, and you still find a way to screw it up? Did the secret recipe for laces that stay tied get classified after 9/11?

I wouldn't make a big stink out of it except that the obvious solution--double-knotting--is a big pain in the ass. Pain in the ass to tie when a man's running late in the morning, pain in the ass to untie when a guy just wants relief from sweaty sneaks. Even when I double-knot, my stinking laces undo themselves half the time anyway. And the less-obvious solution--velcro--is really expensive (85 bucks for canvas Vans!) or really ugly (you're not helping anyone, Wal-Mart).

I can't remember the last pair of shoes I bought that stayed tied...until now. I picked up a couple pairs of Chuck Taylors last month, and those puppies haven't untied on me once. So the moral of the story is this, apparently: in the age of iPhones and Large Hadron Colliders and the mapping of the human genome, the only shoes that stay tied are ones that were designed 92 years ago. Sometimes, the simplest designs prove the most excellent and enduring.