Do your running shoes unlace when you race? April 13 2017, 0 Comments

Few things are more irritating than the nagging flap-flap of an untied shoelace when running in a nice rhythm. Stopping to retie loses valuable seconds when running in a race, and failure to do so when navigating brush or a rough trail runs the risk of an undignified face-plant when it snags something mid-stride.

study at MIT recently discussed research on why shoe laces come undone when you are running. Apparently, the impact of landing stretches and then loosens the bow, and the swing of the leg causes the lace ends to swing like a pendulum, and all of this loosens the knot.

Intriguingly, this is quite a big subject, even with a presentation on the subject on TED. A study at the university of Berkley in California looks at the merits of different kinds of bows. A 'granny bow' in which the bow is tied in the same way as the first knot, say right-over-left for both, is intrinsically less stable than one in which the bow is tied in the opposite way to the first knot, so left-over-right after right-over-left. This intuitively makes sense for the same reason that a reef knot is more stable than a granny knot. Stability can be increased by using more complex bows, such as a double loop in the second knot.

It's all a bit academic if you use ZEMgear shoes, which conveniently slip on without laces, the sole held snugly in place by the Tech bands over the instep. Check them out here.