Fit to Be Tied

DESCRIPTIONPhoto: Panther1619

I have several pairs of shoes with shoelaces, and the laces are always coming undone. To solve this, I tie double knots in most cases. The difficulty is that, when untying them, the knots often get tangled; and it’s a real hassle (involving skewers, or my wife’s superior manual dexterity) to undo the tangles. This seems particular likely to occur when I am going through an airport security check.

My pair of New Balance walking shoes came with laces that look like a row of peapods strung together. A single knot always suffices to prevent them from coming undone. This technical improvement saves me time tying and re-tying my shoes, it improves the flow of traffic at security stations and it even reduces the risk of a shoelace breaking. I’m surprised it isn’t more widespread-it could represent an important outward tilt in the economy’s production possibility frontier.


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  1. Ben says:

    Maybe it has been patented, so we are prevented from benefiting from this improvement unless we buy from New Balance. Maybe in 20 years others will be able to implement this.

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  2. Jack says:

    But they do look awful

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  3. Kevin Ball says:

    Or you could just learn to tie your laces better?

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  4. tj says:

    An easier fix would be just tie your shoes correctly. You are probably tying a granny knot and should be tying a reef knot. I had this problem for years(30+) and finally learned the difference. All it takes is changing the direction of the first loop. I now never have a problem with shoes coming untied even on shoes that I used to have to double knot. It is also just as simple to untie as the granny knot.

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  5. Craig says:

    Perhaps you are using the wrong type of knot.

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  6. Tying the knot. says:

    If it weren’t for the shoelaces, I’d have divorced her by now.

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  7. Ocean says:

    I hear you. Sometimes I wish velcro became the standard again. Maybe more flights would leave on time then.

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  8. John B. Chilton says:

    Some years back round laces came into fashion in dress shoes and casual shoes like running shoes, perhaps because they looked of better quality. Utter failure: the knots don’t hold. There has been a reversal of this trend. Flat laces became standard issue with new shoes. And there have been innovations like the one you mention to beat flat laces at their own game.

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