Tying shoelaces, how I gave it up: Confessions of a Convert

Pictures from Condesa taken December 9 2013

What tying shoelaces has always been…

I was always … well, used to tying my shoes. It’s just a part of life, right? I mean, I learned tying shoelaces when I was about 4 years old! It’s a tradition, a human ritual, a skill I am proud to possess!

But I’ve come to realize something very strange and stagnant: I’m as good at tying my shoes now as when I was a kid, or as a teen, or when in my twenties! Nothing changed. There’s no improvement, no revelations, epiphanies, nothing, just the same old pull, twist, thread, loop and tie routine. Indeed, tying shoes is one of those repetitive tasks we don’t need to put much thought or creative effort into. But who knows, some people might.

Tying shoelaces no more: my first real experience with no tie shoelaces pictured here.Tying shoelaces: Why do we even do it?

Recently, I got my first pair of Laceez no-tie elastic shoelaces. I must admit, I was a skeptic. I figured that something would have to go wrong, there would have to be something that I didn’t like. I mean, what can replace the tried and true tied-up shoe?

When my first box of Laceez arrived, I found myself filled with less anticipation than suspicion. Pinching them with my thumb and index as if they were covered with something I didn’t really want to touch, I inspected them like a magnifying glass with one wide eye zoomed-in close. Everything looked pretty normal to me. I relaxed a little and tugged on both ends to feel the tension in the elastic. “Ok, I can do this,” I thought.

It only took about three minutes per shoe to get my Laceez installed. But honestly, I found that I had a strange attachment to my old shoelaces. Even though their plastic aglet tips were chewed up and shriveled from a few years of tying abuse and being stepped on, I really didn’t want to let those old shoelaces go. In fact, I still have those old laces tossed into a corner of my closet… just in case!

The moment of truth:

So, my feet slipped inside my shoes … and … that was it. I stood up and walked around a bit … ok, everything seemed fine, I figured,“time for a test drive.”

On my first day out, I planned to go far. I wanted to give my new Laceez an extreme test to really see how reliable they were. So I decided to walk at least 10 miles, all around the city, see some of those sites I’ve been meaning to take it, and even do the 3 mile nature trail in our city’s nature reserve. I had my voice recording app in my iPhone completely ready to give a full minute-by-minute report on my Laceez, noting all the little nuances, all the little advantages and disadvantages.

Came up short, in a good way.

The truth is though, I didn’t record a thing. I forgot I even had Laceez on! As soon as I stepped out the door I was thinking about catching the bus, and as soon as I caught on the bus, I was thinking about my stop. As soon as I stepped off the bus I was taking in all the sites and sounds. It wasn’t until halfway through the day that I even realized I had Laceez on. It happened like this:

Walking along 7th street I heard music from a live dance demonstration and I wanted to go in and see the performance. I went inside and up the stairs, there was a dance studio with beautiful hard-wood floors and a no shoes policy. When I reached down to untie my shoes I was shocked, and pleasantly surprised, by a strange feeling of elation …

It was a serendipitous day filled with sights and sounds of the city. I covered a wide range of territory, climbing stairs, crossing streets, and navigating nature trails all while completely oblivious to my no-tie, elastic shoelaces. I guess that’s the way shoelaces really should be, discreet and not coming untied and getting in the way. Makes sense indeed.

So, the funny thing is, to this day I still go out and forget I’ve got Laceez on, it’s only when putting on/taking off my shoes that I am reminded. And every time, I get that same strange feeling of elation, although to a lesser degree now. I know I’m done with tying shoelaces, I’ve made the switch. Although I wonder, how long will it take me to get used to this?

By guest blogger Karl G. Farley

P.S. Here’s some background on what we’re all tied to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoelaces