Midweek Rant #12: Converse Shoelaces

May 7, 2009

About four years ago, I finally deemed myself “cool enough” to start wearing Converse sneakers.  Always the apprehensive type when it comes to fashion, I thought it best to transition with a pair of Old Navy imitations.  No one seemed to notice, and it helped make me a bit less anxious about the whole thing.  What if someone called me out on being too lame to wear Converse?



Converse sneakers are the paragon of a feature that usually reigns in the Dress-Shoe Category: Shoelaces Won’t Stay Tied-Ability.

There’s gotta be a better name for that.

Aesthetics aside, there aren’t too many factors that the boys down at the Shoelace Think Tank have to concern themselves with.  I would hope that the ability of the lace to remain tied takes top priority.  Come to think of it, I would hope that that would be the only thing the boys down at Shoelace Inc are thinking about once they’ve established what they want the lace to look like (thickness, color, fabric etc).

Converse sneakers, and yes I’ve moved on to the real thing, have terrible laces.  I’m not sure if they’re the same as other sneakers and this is in fact an issue of the lace-holes on the sneakers themselves, all I know is that since I started wearing them I have had to instate a new policy.

Much like a parent that understands the importance of drawing boundaries, I will occasionally refuse to tie my laces when walking in public.  Before you go thinking I’m an unfair shoe-parent, let me make my case.  Sometimes my shoes will come untied over and over with mere minutes between each instance, no matter how many double knots I apply to them (why oh why didn’t I do Boy Scouts and get one of them ‘knot badges’?).  This doesn’t happen every single day, in fact in only happens maybe once a month.  The very next day the laces will return to a much less ridiculous state of won’t-stay-tied-ability, which leads me to believe that the shoelaces are in fact testing me.

The physics of it doesn’t add up unless the shoelaces have a mind of their own.  And Jesse Gavin doesn’t let shoelaces walk all over him, thank you very much!  So the next time your shoelaces come untied over and over, do what I do: let them stay untied, and make sure they know why:



Occasionally you’ll get concerned onlookers inform you that you should really tie your laces.  My advice in this situation is to sternly and respectfully inform them that they should really mind their own business; it’s not their place to tell you how you should be dealing with the shoes that you bought with your hard earned money.

There have been times I have doubted whether or not Chuck Taylor’s are worth the occasional scene I have to cause.  Fortunately for me there is a solution, although I’m still working on becoming “cool enough” for it (perhaps step one would be to stop using quotation marks around the phrase “cool enough”).  A fellow by the name of John Varvatos had the good sense to design a Converse sneaker without laces.  Is it possible that he was so sick and tired of yelling at his shoelaces in public that his invention was merely an attempt to save himself some embarrassment? 

Yes.  I would say that was definitely the reason.  Thank you Mr. Varvatos, and I assure you I’m working hard to become “cool enough” to wear your sneakers.

I like quotation marks – back off.