Many things are taken for granted today. We drink water without thinking about where it comes from, surf the internet without knowing how it works and wear cotton without knowing how it’s grown.
But there is one thing we don’t even know we take for granted – the humble shoelace.
For many, laces are an annoying inconvenience that flap around willy nilly and cause embarrassing tripping incidents. But with proper lacing and tying, the humble shoe lace needn’t be such an irritation. Here’s how.
Why is it important to lace them correctly?
Shoes that aren’t properly laced will move when you walk. This in turn will lead to rubbing, which could cause horrible blisters and soreness.
Aside from blister nastiness, you also need to consider style. By not lacing your shoes correctly, the style of the shoe is compromised and can result in a scruffy look. Not good.
Incorrectly tied laces are one thing, but laces that come undone are another. Tying your shoes incorrectly will cause your laces to come undone, which impacts both style and comfort.
What shoes need lacing
Strictly speaking, any shoe that has laces needs to be done up properly. But for some shoes, correct lacing is more important than others.
For instance, an unlaced pair of mens leather shoes in an Oxford style will look sillier than a pair of casual trainers not being laced.
How to lace your shoes
Mens shoes are often displayed in the “gentleman’s” style, and won’t tighten as much as the criss cross or over under methods, which will bring the two leather tabs together.
Start by putting the two lace ends, or aglets, into the bottom two eyelets. Then pull the laces so that they are level on each side, and weave them in and out of the rest of the eyelets.
Once you have laced your shoes, you need to tie them. If the first knot is with left under right, then next one must be left over right – making an interlocking combination.
You’ll know if you have laced them properly as the tabs will be pulled together and straight. To check if they are tied correctly, make sure the laces sit horizontally across the shoe. If they sit in any other way, they’ll come undone.
Many people struggle with laces because of joint problems, bad backs or a fundamental lack of patience. Others avoid laces as they simply don’t like them!
Chelsea boots and slip on loafers are a stylish alternative to laced shoes. Both styles can be worn with many items, making them a versatile addition to your wardrobe.
Velcro shoes are the easiest option for those with joint problems as the shoe can be loosened when putting them on, and tightened easily afterwards.
So how to tie up all this information? Well make sure you interlock your knots, check for criss cross weaving and don’t take laces for granted! And if you fancy getting creative, then why not try some other lacing styles?
Imagine the perfect shoe. It conforms to every ridge and contour of your foot. No blisters, no soreness, no pressure points; light, flexible footwear that breathes.
These perfect shoes mend themselves, adapt to the terrain and offer dynamic, real time support for every part of your foot.
Science fiction? The new science of ‘protocells’, and cutting edge design, mean the footwear of the future are just a step away.
Take some scientists, some of the most cutting edge designers in the world, and what emerges is a shoe unlike any seen before. Enter the Amoeba Surface Adapting Trainer.
3D printed biotechnology creates a shoe fashioned from ‘protocells’. A second skin for your foot made of semi-living material; cells that divide and multiply to repair themselves, adding support where needed.
And when you get home, instead of kicking your shoes off inside the front door – you feed them by placing them in a tank of nutrient rich chemicals.
The distinction between animate and inanimate used to be clear. A cat is alive, a table is not.
But now scientists searching for the origins of life have discovered that the journey from the primordial ooze to the complex organisms and ecosystems of our world, is less clear than previously thought. The result: living shoes.
From a salty soup
It takes three things to make a cell: a body, a metabolism and some inheritable information. Simply mix, add energy and you have the stuff of life.
A single living cell can contain around 1,000,000 molecules – but to create a structure that looks and behaves like a basic cell takes as few as ten.
Scientist, Martin Hanczyc has succeeded in creating synthetic structures called protocells, groups of molecules that self assemble, move, replicate and consume energy to maintain themselves.
The origins of life on earth? Perhaps. Not living entities, but life-like structures that can be programmed to behave in specific ways.
The brain behind the incredible Amoeba shoe is Shamees Aden. She studied Textile Futures at the prestigious Central St Martins College, London.
The course encourages students to engage with cutting edge research to create concepts for the products of the future. Interacting with Martin Hanczyc’s findings, Shamees created a range of footwear that makes leather shoes look positively prehistoric.
And that’s not all. The ability to control DNA means that in future, engineers will be able to control semi-living material in the same way that software engineers write apps today.
Think strawberry plants that grow lace from their roots – even edible solar cells – we’ll be limited only by our imaginations.
If this sounds like pseudoscience, think again. Textiles Futures at St Martins has already worked in collaboration with the Medical Research Council, Nissan and the VF Corporation, owner of brands like North Face, Vans and Wrangler. The future is alive with possibility.