The seemingly humble and simple shoelace has undergone many changes since it was invented, although most have to do with the material rather than the design. For although shoelaces have been around for thousands of years in some form, their basic design and function have largely remained unchanged all this time. It appears that simplicity and efficiency have won over innovative and hi-technology when it comes to shoelaces–but you certainly don’t hear anyone complaining!
Also called “shoestrings”–or “bootlaces” in the U.K.–shoelaces are used for securing shoes, boots, and other types of footwear. They come in pairs, with one for each foot, and the tips are coated with stiff material forming what are known as “aglets”. Shoes are generally designed so that the shoelaces pass through holes, eyelets, or hooks arranged in sequence along top flaps on either side of the shoe. The laces will usually have to be loosened in order allowed the flaps to be spread open, making it possible to insert or remove the foot. With the foot in the shoe, the laces can then be tightened.
Historically, shoelaces were made with a variety of materials commonly associated with the manufacture of rope. These include leather, jute, hemp, and cotton. Nowadays, shoelaces are more likely to be made with synthetic materials, which generally provide a smoother surface. Although this makes modern shoelaces more slippery and more likely to come undone than shoelaces made out of traditional materials, they tend to look better, last longer, and are less likely to rot from moisture.
The use of synthetic materials also makes it possible to produce shoelaces that have qualities simply beyond the scope of traditional shoelaces. They can be made to be flame retardant for instance, which makes them ideally suited for use in firefighting situations. In such applications, shoelaces made out of traditional materials simply will not do.
In recent years, there have also been numerous innovations in elasticized shoelaces, which provide a number of advantages over traditional shoelaces, especially for athletes, children, and the elderly. They basically lock into place automatically, ensuring secure fastening without too much effort. Elastic shoelaces can also be fastened invisibly, although they can be tied normally as well.
One other interesting innovative is the ‘knotty’ shoelace, which is designed with knots that limit movement through the holes to only one segment at a time. These types of laces can generally be left untied at the ends, with the knotted segments providing sufficient security throughout the lace area.
All of these innovations basically improve the efficiency of shoelaces slightly, although they do not depart significantly from traditional shoelace design. For most applications, basic shoelaces should provide sufficient performance, although it would be best to get laces made with high-quality materials. This will help ensure satisfactory performance over a longer period of time compared to similar laces made out of substandard materials. Once you come across a pair of shoelaces that you like, it is also a good idea to by a couple of extra pairs. You never know when they might be discontinued, so its best to have as many as you need until a better one comes along!
Learn more about high-quality shoelaces by calling Xtenex Corporation at 1-888-498-3639.