on a (shoe)string

I can’t ever remember liking shoestrings.  Growing up, a relationship with shoestrings was a must, especially with sneakers.  You had to have sneakers, you therefore had to have shoestrings.  There was no getting away with not dealing with shoestrings.

How did the shoestring become so popular?  A couple of hundred years ago, strings wormed their way into footwear and won a huge following. Prior to shoestrings, we knew very little of strings (in general).

You’d think then, that strings would be grateful to the shoe for the notoriety.  But the string wasn’t satisfied and had to work its way into the food chain and chase after beans, cheese, and even potatoes.  They also got hamstrung in the musical instrument world and as an integral part of a bikini.  But shoes is where they dominate.

Closing dress shoes, they were somehow elevated to lace status. We all know that a lace is simply a dressed up string.  There is something frufru about shoes with a bow on top.  I have avoided avoid buying shoes which require laces or strings.  Perhaps I have trouble contributing to their pompousness, or their prettiness.  There are plenty of options for their supposed functionality.

these converse sneakers work fine without strings

As parents, we are proud of our children when they learn to dominate their own shoestrings. But decades after we’ve landed on the moon and reached speeds of mach 20, we are still using shoestrings to keep our shoes on?  It’s a joke, right?

It is a joke.  At least for this yoyo.  But I wish I could say there were no shoe strings in my closet.  Haven’t they been deemed a tripping hazard by folks determined to pass laws protecting ourselves from ourselves?   We’ve outlawed strings from kids garments, but not the shoes.

The sneakers I have today, whether for running, walking or working out have been stripped of their strings, replaced by elastic cords (all except for one pair).  Technically you could still call them strings, but you’d be wrong.  Without the bow, they’ve bowed out of the string family.

And what is wrong with a sleek buckle, strap, or technically advanced snap?  We should be revolting against the shoe designers and manufacturers against the use of strings.  What is it about strings and footwear?  It’s so last century.

Bow ties look nice also.  To some.  I had a meeting Friday with a guy who wore torn jeans and a sport jacket over a dress shirt with a bow tie.  I like mixed styles, but can’t imagine leaving home in the morning and tying a bow around my neck.  Bows are not meant for just wrapping gifts.  We like to tie bows around our necks, and our feet.  How modern.

So Friday, the day I met bow-tie man, I was wearing the only shoes I own which have strings, white sneakers.  The shoes were a recent gift from a shoe designer.   They are super lightweight and I packed them for a vacation I took at the beginning of the year.  Because I was moving around for two weeks on that trip with hand-carry luggage, weight and packability were key, hence the inclusion of the white sneakers.

a conversation in jan 2012 with white sneaker strings. those strings have recently been recycled

However, I hadn’t had time to convert the strings to cord.  As I was walking to work, I looked down and the pretty bow I tied had come undone.  I knew immediately it was my fault.  I still cursed the string.  My hands were full.  It was rush hour and the sidewalks were crowded.  I didn’t want to walk on the string and didn’t want anyone else to either.  So I delicately gave the foot a little jerk with each step to keep the string airborne until I could maneuver to a place to unload, stoop down and re-tie the string.  Then and there I knew I could wait no longer.  The shoes could stay (in my closet), but the strings had to go.

So as of this day, April Fool’s day 2012, I can proudly say there is not one shoestring left in my closet.  Sorry strings, no hard feelings.  But no more knots over you.

a retro looking cycling shoe, but one of the most technically advanced. why don't other athletic shoes incorporate more of these qualities?

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