It is a plague that infects something like 40 percent of sneakers: the rogue shoelace. Seemingly always slung over the sneaker’s outer fabric regardless of how many times you tie it, the rogue shoelace proudly takes its place among the brethren of bothersome bindings. It is akin to the seat-belt that always gets stuck in the car door, the leather belt that awkwardly doesn’t reach the next loop in your jeans, the single strand of spaghetti you can never keep on your plate (ok, this isn’t a binding, but stick with me here I’m on a roll).
The rogue shoelace is the main flaw in sneaker design. And I loathe it.
Outside of its obvious detriments- having to constantly look down at your feet to ensure you’re not going to trip and send yourself into a public and graceless free fall; the ugly disheveled appearance it immediately showers upon the rest of your attire; the self-inflicted wear and tear, forcing you to prematurely buy a new set of strings (Seriously- Rogues are almost always destroyed within a week. They’re fucking suicidal, and I don’t blame them, being the blight on the world that they are.); what really frustrates me about the rogue shoelace is the complete and utter mystery behind their conception.
From the very first time I tied my sneaks at age 17, what causes a shoelace to untie itself is a conundrum cemented in my mind unlike any other. (In fact, the only other spooky quandary that frustrates me as much is this one’s corollary: how the hell do my ear buds tie themselves into dozens of knots after being in my pocket for 30 seconds?)
With certain shoes, it does not matter how many times I tie them, or how tightly I cut off the circulation to my foot, that shoelace is going to unravel.
It does not matter which knot I use, the loop-and-swoop, the rabbit ears, single, double, triple, the slip, sailor’s, square, angler’s, bowline, the forget-me…that shoelace is going to unravel.
Clamp it down with duct tape? Tried it. That shoelace is going to unravel.
There was a time when I thought that it was my own fault. Maybe I was born without the faculty to properly tie my sneakers. I investigated for evidence. Asking my brothers yielded no conclusive results. They had the same problem. Perhaps it was a genetic deficiency relegated to us Neanderthal descendants, the Fidler clan. I went to my grandfather, and got little information. He wears Velcro. Wise man.
I’ve seen friends, acquaintances, co-workers, strangers, homeless babies and the occasional dog unknowingly hampered by the single shoestring protruding from between the bottom of their pants and their shoes. I observe them with a sad mixture of empathy and pity, and wonder why we can’t, as a nation, find an answer to this calamity. There is so much to fix in our country- the economy, foreign relations, the upcoming bacon shortage… we can’t take the first step in resolving any of it if we keep tripping over our shoelaces.
Therefore, in this time of great national political conversation due to the presidential election, I urge members of both major parties to come together and fix our country’s shoestrings. Democrats can take the left side of the lace, Republicans the right, and let us together tie a knot so inseparable that neither the weight of gravity, time, or political disunion leaves it hanging on the ground!
A better shoelace today, a stronger America tomorrow!
*This content has been paid for by Fidler for America