Wednesday, March 03, 2010

All the things I thought I'd figured out I have to learn again

A little over a month ago, Uniwatch pointed to a post about the right way to tie your sneakers. And when Verlyn Klinkenborg wrote about it yesterday, I decided to chime in with my review: It works!

Like Klinkenborg, I had no idea I was doing anything wrong. Of course, I also had some sort of mental block or performance anxiety about tying my sneakers as a kid. I can vividly recall not only asking parents -- mine or my friends' -- to tie my shoes when they became undone well into my school years, but I also seem to remember Sue, the mother of my best friend, Matt, being particularly proud when I no longer had to ask her for assistance.

But this revelation came to me at a particularly fortuitous time, for the sneakers I've been wearing as my everyday footwear for the past several months have a rounder, more slippery lace that tended to come undone more easily than any in recent memory. To wit: There were days when I couldn't even make the third-of-a-mile, eight-minute walk from the house to the train station without having to stop to tie one sneaker or the other. Once I started trying the new method -- the Reef Knot -- I saw an immediate improvement. Now, I have to stop maybe once a week to re-tie a sneaker between the time I put them on and the time I get home and remove them. And like Klinkenborg, I found that the first several implementations required me to think about what I was doing, how I was tying my shoes. It's becoming more natural of late, but there are still times when I have to pause when I bring the one free lace over the formed loop and create the second loop.

Despite the knot's usefulness, I won't be getting any more New Balance with these laces in the future -- and I'll be sure to think the colors through. When I bought these, I saw them as blue and gold -- Notre Dame colors. When I finally put them to regular use, they seemed blue and yellow -- Michigan colors. Ew.

Maybe the lace slippage is just what I get for my tradition in recent years of buying anything with a decent (read: not garish) design in my size at a discount at the LL Bean Outlet in Freeport. This pair was the last I'd stockpiled in the past several years. I'll be due for new kicks when spring arrives (I prefer to stick with the current/old shoes through the slushy snowmelt and, depending on the year, April's showers, then break out the new ones when the weather turns warm) and for the first time in a long time, I don't have a pair stored away. With no trip to Maine planned as of yet for this year, I'll try the Nike outlet in Paramus or see what deals I find in some of the local stores.

No matter the brand, though, I'll be employing the Reef Knot after this success.

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