Fit to stay tied


I have a confession to make. For the last several years I have had trouble keeping my shoelaces tied.

I learned in kindergarten, same as most folks. (Mrs. Chambers had one of those wooden Playskool lacing toys to practice on.) For the next few decades, I had no problem tying my shoes and my shoes staying tied until I was ready to take them off.

But lately my shoelaces will not cooperate. Here's what I think happened: I started wearing shoes with round, waxed laces, which are more prone than flat laces to coming undone. When they did come undone, I started to second guess thirty years of muscle memory, and I tried different things to get my laces to stay put. I switched between right over left and left over right, did the two-loops method, did the normal method, and it got to the point I couldn't remember which was the way I had originally been taught.

Today I stumbled across a website that solves my problem: Ian Fieggen's Shoelace Site. In this amazingly comprehensive site, Fieggen illustrates 31 different ways to lace a pair of shoes, 16 ways to lace shoes with lugs, and 17 different ways to tie shoelaces. He explains what causes shoelaces to slip. There are tips for teaching your children how to tie their shoes, and pointers to tying and lacing methods more suited for different sports. There are even one-handed methods for tying your shoes. The illustrations are crystal clear, using different colors for left and right lace.

I tried Ian's secure shoelace knot tonight before heading off with the family to the Tulsa State Fair. We walked from our car, parked on the race track near Driller Stadium, to the Children's Building to see our kids' artwork on display. (The boy won a blue ribbon for his Lego car, and the girl entered two drawings and an acrylic painting.) Then it was off to hear Asleep at the Wheel at the Oklahoma Stage. After the show (during most of which the baby boy was happy-bouncing), we went on to Bell's to ride some rides, then walked all the way back across the fairgrounds to the gate. The parking trams were calling it a night just as the fair was closing, so we had to trudge all the way back to the car.

For all that walking, my laces stayed tied.

Ian's Shoelace Site is the sort of site that makes me love the Internet. Someone with a lot of passion on a narrow subject has put together a beautifully organized site full of useful information. It's not the sort of information you'll need every day, but it's awfully handy. And even if you don't need the information, it's so well done you could lose yourself for a while and end up saying to yourself, "I never knew there was so much to know about shoelaces."

I was curious about the sort of person who would create such a website. Ian Fieggen is an Australian, about my age, who works in both graphic design and computers.

Ian has a "long-time partner" named Inge, but they haven't yet tied the knot. If they ever do, I feel sure it will stay tied.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 29, 2006 12:25 AM.

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