Do you need a refresher course on how to tie your shoes? Don’t be so quick to say no! Here’s a TED talk that has taught five million people (and counting) a new way to tie their shoes:
TED talks notwithstanding, if you’re old enough to be reading this blog post, you probably mastered the art of lacing up your sneakers many years ago. And yet, I often come across friends, family, and patients consistently wearing their shoes unlaced. This can be frustrating to me, because unlaced shoes can lead to a surprising variety of negative outcomes.
As a result, whenever I see a person walking in unlaced shoes, my first inclination is to give an inspired lecture on the orthotic and other benefits of properly-laced shoes. Now I realize that doesn’t make me sound like a guy who’s fun to have over at a party, but I feel strongly enough about this question I’ve written an entire blog post about it.
So without further ado: Here are five reasons why tying your shoes might improve the quality and comfort of your life:
1) The shoe stays on your foot
This is the most obvious yet I still feel the need to point it out. You tie your laces so that the shoe stays on your foot. If your foot can slip in, then your foot can slip out. This can create blisters, especially at the heels. Untied laces also put you at risk of falls and twisted ankles, even when you’re just hanging around the home.
2) Reduce strain on your tendons
Untied laces lead to unwanted motion, resulting in your body’s attempt to stabilize and minimize that extra motion. The muscular activation required to gain stability can lead to tendonitis from overuse of these muscles – hence why flip flops can lead to shin splints.
The muscles required to push the toes down to ‘grip’ the front of the sandal are opposing the muscles that are required to pick your toes up so you don’t trip over them. This makes anterior tibialis work extra hard, and shin splints are the result. This same effect can also take place with the foot having unnecessary movement within the shoe.
Additionally, for those that wear orthotics in the shoe the orthotic supports the foot but the wall of the shoe is needed to support the orthotic. The laces pull the wall of the shoe inward and hold it against the orthotic. Without this pressure, your foot is getting less support from the orthotic.
3) Your shoes will last longer
Walking in unlaced shoes will put unnecessary strain on your shoe’s heel counter. The heel counter of the shoe is the structured piece of material embedded in the heel of the shoe. When you slip in and out you are prematurely wearing this part of the shoe.
4) Tied shoes fit better
Doing up the laces from the bottom eyelet pulls shoe around foot more effectively. As you do up each lace to the same tension this will release pressure where there is extra pressure and add pressure where there isn’t any. This will lower the peak pressures by spreading them out more effectively, leading to a better fit, more comfort, and better performance.
5) What would your mother say?
Untied laces look sloppy; smartly-tied laces are dapper.
Just ask your mother if you don’t believe me! “Are you leaving the house looking like that?” She’ll say, whether you’re fourteen or forty years old.