Just when your shoes are nice and broken in, the laces seem to wear thin and break. Granted, the same forces that break in your shoes are also working on the weakest link in your shoes, but it has always seemed a design flaw that could be fixed.
Shoelaces are not a sexy topic, but they’re highly relevant at critical moments, like when I’m rushing to a meeting and quickly slipping on my shoes to dash out of the hotel room and BAM! a shoe lace goes. Emergency splicing and cursing ensue, followed by a visit to a store for some lesser shoe laces that never feel as special as the originals. Many love affairs with well worn shoes have gone south for the lack of decent replacement laces.
A good pair of shoes takes you to faraway places; hiking the coast of Portugal or walking La Ramblas in Barcelona, or to dance floors at your niece’s wedding reception, or to quiet walks of reflection with your aging dog. I’ve come to appreciate a great pair of shoes as I appreciate a great tool in my toolbox. I don’t buy a lot of shoes but the ones I buy get a lot of use. And they do the job time and time again. But time and use wear out each and the laces are the canary in the coal mine for shoes. I’d like to think that an old pair of shoes is like Willy Nelson’s worn out guitar full of holes but still making beautiful music, but in reality an old pair of shoes can only take you so far. At least with guitar strings you replace one with another just as good. Not so with replacement shoe laces; they almost always are found lacking. And while we may get a replacement set of laces or two, usually that first set of laces marks the beginning of the end for shoes.
So consider the humble shoelace. Designed to tightly integrate your shoe to your foot. An excuse to stop and observe for spies around the world. Source of many a middle school prank and inadvertent fall. There when you need them until the day when they announce they’ve had enough.