Down With Laces

I’m slowly, yet methodically, ridding myself of shoe laces. With each new footwear purchase, I am opting for models that simply “slip on”, rather than those that require lacing up. I’m also aware that my gradual switch only accelerates the fact that I am no longer “cool”. That aside, let’s take a look at the ways in which non-laced footwear is superior:

  • You don’t have to bend over.
  • Does not require the use of hands.
  • Faster.
  • Pants don’t get caught in lace bow.
  • And other reasons not listed here.

What’s fascinating to me is that it’s taken so long for slip-on shoes of all styles to catch on. I realize (intelligent) people have been wearing laceless shoes for perhaps centuries, but it seems that in recent years, the variety has increased, and shoes of all types now come without laces. They’re everywhere now, or at least I’ve just started noticing.

Couple this recent popularity with the fact that I never really properly learned how to tie my own shoes, and you have the recipe for a global wardrobe “about face”.

Now, the more important question to ask, is why (on a web site historically known for web design-ish topics) all the posts on slippers, shoes and breast pockets? Well, I’m told that variety is the spice of life. And if that means meaningless rants on uncool fashion trends, sprinkled in with actual engaging topics — then so be it.

84 Comments

  1. Simon Jessey says:

    I’ve recently been wearing sneakers that are fastened by means of Velcro. This is more a reflection of my being fat and lazy, than some sort of fashion statement. In fact, it is well known that Velcro-fastened sneakers are a fashion violation of the highest order.

  2. Kim Siever says:

    I have been wearing laced shoes for many years, yet I cannot think of a single instance where my pantleg was caught in my lace loop. and I even tie my shoes the same as you.
    Another reason for slipons is that they are much easier to shine.

  3. Joel says:

    “And if that means meaningless rants on uncool fashion trends, sprinkled in with actual engaging topics – then so be it.”
    Amen, brother.

  4. Web says:

    Dan, when are you finally cut to the chase and tell everyone of your deep rooted fascination for collecting shoe horns.
    I’m sure your collection is quite impressive by now seeing you’ve been collecting all your life. I’ve seen the bids on eBay ..
    Cmon’ – Spill the beans .. lets go.
    P.S – Your last “shoelace” post only received 2 comments, this one a whopping 3. Not a hot button topic I see.

  5. Craig says:

    Lace-less shoes are definitely the way to go.
    One of our family habits is to remove our shoes when we come in the house. Mostly because we’re lazy and it cuts down on the vacuuming. Lace-less shoes help speed up coming in or out of the house. I’ve only got two pairs of lace-up shoes left and one of them is my pair of running shoes, which I only wear when running.

  6. Kevin Tamura says:

    But leaning to tie laces also teaches you to tie a bow tie. Honestly Dan, I think you’ve been looking at the T-Mac 4 too much.

  7. Ryan says:

    When you begin wearing the white Don Johnson Miami Vice shoes, you know you’ve gone too far.

  8. Brandon says:

    My shoes have laces, and I slip them on/off. I just tie them looser than normal. I don’t think the shoes currently on my feet have been untied since I initially bought them. (– and I’m planning on going to get a new pair tomorrow.)

  9. I have some strange aversion to slip-on shoes of any sort. Sandals, loafers, slippers… can’t stand any of ‘em. I never feel like my shoes are securely fastened to my feet without the reassuring presence of really tight laces. I’ll spend all day obsessed with the idea of my shoes falling off otherwise.

  10. monkeyinabox says:

    You could always take to do what kids with laced shoes always do: tie them loose so you can slip them on and off without much effort. It’s not like you’re running a marathon.

  11. MH says:

    LOL…I never really learned to tie them the “proper” way either (I also hold my pen funny).

  12. John Oxton says:

    I have long been a fan of trousers without zips or buttons (i.e. tracksuit bottoms) for the very same reasons… combined with some nice slip-ons as suggested here and maybe some white socks, I can see it taking off… no really I can!

  13. Steve says:

    My Born Blasts are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. I went out and bought a second pair they were so nice.
    Visiting Japan turned me on to the power of slip-ons when I had to take my lace-up shoes off everytime I wanted to go inside.

  14. Ed Knittel says:

    I’m also aware that my gradual switch only accelerates the fact that I am no longer “cool”.
    No, it’s not the switch to laceless shoes that makes you no longer cool – but most probably the style of shoe. For you see, laceless shelltoe Adidas mean you’re the coolest.
    Just ask these guys

  15. Like Patrick said (#9), laces are cool as long as you tie them loose enough so that they never, ever require tying.
    I have been leaning more towards no laces though, like this great shoe. Want a little lace, just for looks? Look no further.
    But hey, that’s just me ;)

  16. teli says:

    Sneakers with velcro? Wow…they still make those :).
    I’m noticing that men having interesting taste in shoes by reading this topic (and its comments). I used to be a sneaker freak (generally men’s sneakers as the women’s wear out too fast…) – but the shoes Justin pointed out are pretty cute, but the million dollar question is, are they comfortable?
    Since HS, I generally wear flip flops everywhere (literally)…slip on, snap on, tie on – just too much trouble unless I’m going for a run.

  17. mike burnard says:

    I was nearly lace-free about a 2 years ago (That is except for sports shoes — which remain in my collection only as memories of a very distant past). One perilous shopping trip late 2002 ended my collection of simple shoes. I decided a new pair of shoes was in order. I looked at all the laceless shoes, and found a few pairs I liked. I asked her opinion (oops). She, contrary to my belief, thinks my lack of laces is uncouth. I haven’t bought a pair of shoes since (yeah, they’re getting old).

  18. seth says:

    I’ve got enough to think about, without having to be concerned about my shoes falling off.
    I typically wear knee-high boots, laced to the top. I then apply apoxy over the laces to assure they will not come undone. Occasionally, I will also wrap my calves in duct-tape.
    However, this is becoming cost-prohibitive as I must cut myself free from my footwear every night. Then don a new pair each morning.
    I’m no cobbler, but I’m currently working on some experimental, vacuum-seal Doc Martins.
    While technically lace-less, for you, the lengthy procedure for getting in and out of these probably outweighs the benefits of not having laces.

  19. Travholt says:

    For people who like laces, though, it’s comforting to know there are other people out there who care enough to do research on the matter. There are other ways to do it! I personally switched to the Ian knot myself earlier this year, and haven’t looked back since.

  20. Dama says:

    Just to say – like your site, reading every post, and don’t like laces :-)

  21. I have to say – despite having bought the comfiest pair of shoes ever recently, that have a simple tightening system not requiring tying – that some classy shoes still look good with laces, they will never die surely, i hope not.
    Plus, do we really need to save the ten seconds it must take to do a pair of laces securely?

  22. Ben Brophy says:

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned this, but the key reason laceless shoes are getting popular is airport security. I am all over slip-on shoes now that I have to take off my shoes half the time I take a flight. Handy if you visit meditation halls a lot, too.

  23. tom says:

    I too use laced up shoes that I tie once and never again. I even go so far as to use a bit of wire to keep them from coming untied, and I keep them just loose enough to slip off. For this reason I prefer Airwalks and Vans, which makes me cool… or at least doesn’t make me uncool… or something…

  24. I always wear shoes with laces, but I can’t remember ever tieing them except for the very first time. My shoes are very casual, stylish, extremely comfortable, and act more like a slipper/shoe. I don’t actually have them tied, in the traditional sense though (this is a new thing I’m trying for the new pair of shoes I just purchased). Instead of tying those rediculous bows, I tighten them, tie a half knot underneath the tounge, and then cut the laces off after running them through the top two holes. From there I tie a big knot at the end of the cut laces and they stay in the shoe, tight. Perhaps a picture would be easier to understand, but I don’t have one! In any case, they act like slippers, and look like tied casual shoes. I don’t like the look of a shoe without laces.

  25. My shoes have always been “slip-ons.” I tie a knot in each lace, making sure they’re lose enough to slip on and tight enough to stay on. Though when skating they would frequently fly off. Still it’s my way of being even more lazy.

  26. Phoat says:

    Wearing laceless shoes has nothing to do with being uncool or lazy. At least, not directly. Those are indirect effects of getting old.
    Face it, you’re starting to tumble over the hill, my friend…

  27. Steve says:

    You won’t be burning those extra calories when you bend over and tie your shoes. Just think about how big your butt is gonna get.

  28. Nathan says:

    The only time I have found laces to be a problem is when they get caught in my bicycle chain when traversing a perilous ravine on my mountain bike… Maybe Velcro has its benefits..;)

  29. dusoft says:

    OK, check this out – 10 ways of tying shoe laces:
    http://www.fieggen.com/shoelace/knots.htm

  30. Dude, how are you getting your pant leg caught in your laces? That is so uncool.
    I guess this probably wouldn’t work with the winter weather in Boston, but if you’re looking to avoid laces, flipflops are the only way to. Rainbows preferably. Oh wait, flipflopping is already cool in Boston…
    (Cue drumset)
    Sorry, did I just say that? ;-)

  31. Chris says:

    What is going on Dan, you used to write interesting stuff on your bolg now it’s like “queer eye for the straight guy”.

  32. Dustin Diaz says:

    I find it highly entertaining that when one man talks about his laces, everyone has a small story.
    In some instances where they would be required, is when you’re playing a sport. Like Basketball or Track. You gotta have laces so they keep your shoe on nice and snug.
    But if you’re talkin’ about shoes to just lounge around in, it’s flip flips all the way – All year long!

  33. sean says:

    I went laceless for several years, but recently fell back to my old lacing (?) ways.
    Forgive my backsliding. I will proceed in burning all laces.
    DOWN WITH THE LACES

  34. I also have never learned the proper way to tie a shoe. All I’ve ever known was the bunny ears that my father taught me. When my wife found out, she laughed at me. :(
    My way of coping is to just stop trying. Now, I just tuck the laces down the sides. It’s much easier and comfortable that way.

  35. George says:

    Screw shoes, put on 3 pairs of socks and your set.

  36. Sean Sullivan-Daley says:

    I would like to think it all stems form that first pair of checkered Vans back in my skatebording days. As of 2 weeks ago I just bought a pair of slip on shoes and haven’t put another pair on since. (with the exception of today, when I had to put on boots to shovel the snow – Snow in Massachusetts this early could be a bad sign!)

  37. Some useful info from you all — I especially like the pointers to alternative knot tying. You continue to prove that no subject is taboo here on SimpleBits ;-)
    Josh – You’re right, we can only flipflop up here in boston in the summ– hey wait a minute!

  38. Don’t you think that reading about web design all the time would be a little bit boring? Shoes are kewl! Recently I bought new italian ones. They are perfect. And… No laces!

  39. jim says:

    So you get stranded on a desert island, what are you gonna tie your raft together with, huh?
    answer me that, velcro boy.
    ;)

  40. DB says:

    I just have to ask. Do these slip-on shoes have the little leather tassles on them? If so Dan your just too cool for school :-)

  41. luddep says:

    Or you just tie a huge and hard knot when you buy the shoes :)

  42. I never really got my pants caught on my laces before. Maybe you should try boxer shorts. ;)

  43. John says:

    I usually solve the problem myself by tying at least 4 knots in any long laces, when it gets to the point when I get beyond pissed off I just rip them out, slice them halfway down and put them back in again, no more tripping :D
    Never tried loafers tho, or slip-ons as you lot call them….I’d be too afraid of running and getting slapped up the back of the head when/if one falls off.

  44. Andreas says:

    All this stuff about slippers… now followed by slip-ons, Dan, for snugness’ sake.
    Well, its not my style of clothing, but real coolness doesn’t depend on how someone’s dressed, but on his self-confidence not to be ashamed of it.
    Well done, Dan :-)

  45. geeky says:

    i have skinny feet, so slip-ons also slip-off for me at unwanted times. however, i have found my own personal compromise so i can have the best of both worlds – i have combat boots that lace in the front, but zipper on the sides. no time consuming lacing, no risk of them falling off. i don’t even have to sipper them if i don’t want to :)

  46. Karl says:

    Thanks for the fun and interesting article. A few months ago I wrote an article that made a similar case against button-fly pants: Why the Button Fly?.

  47. Chris says:

    If you want some laceless shoes that still have a little street cred, even though they are from the “Vector”, check out the new Reebok Pump 2

  48. David says:

    I’ve been wearing Merrell shoes for about 4 years now. They are stylish, extremely comfortable, and have no laces. Many of my friends have also converted to wearing them since I’ve told them about them.

  49. ant says:

    I’ve been on the same kick. I didn’t realize I was uncool. I thought I was being so smart to eliminate laces.

  50. After living in Florida for 24 years I miss wearing sandals every day. Nobody wears velcro shoes unless you’re over 60 down there though, it’s just waaaaay too uncool.
    I’m a sneaker freak myself. Like a few others here, I tie a knot at the last lace hole and let ‘em ride by tucking the remainder of the lace under my feet when I put my shoes on. It works especially well on skate shoes, like és . :)
    (hey, I found a way to incorporate a valid site into a shoelace discussion. Woe is me.)

  51. Lauren says:

    I’d like to know what the “reasons not listed here” happen to be…

  52. Steve Madden’s — found them yesterday — black leather walking shoes… Velcro. Awesome.

  53. Well I ‘switched’ to slip ons a few months back and there is no going back to the laces. One less thing to worry about with our cat!

  54. Wil says:

    I have been thinking about slip ons myself… seems to me I tie my shoes atleast 20 times a day. Perhaps I truely dont get the finer points of lacing up.

  55. Peter says:

    Jean-Peal Sartre also never wore shoes with shoe-laces, for much of the same reasons.

  56. What about the tightening of the shoes to fit nice and snug around your foot? Isn’t that the whole purpose of the lace? If you just slip the shoes on, don’t you have the problem of the shoes sometimes sliding around the area of your achilles heel? If you don’t have to bend over in the process of putting on your shoes as you just slip them on, how does the shoe fit nice and snug sans the slip and fall?

  57. Welcome to the club I say, I haven’t bought a pair of laced shoes or trainers (or sneakers as you might call them) since about 2000. I’m currently wearing a fine pair of Adidas “Stan Smith”s with adjustable Velco fasteners. But I can also highly recommend Royal Elastics which for my money more the match the foot-hugging capabilities of lace-ups.
    Russ.

  58. Jim Moran says:

    Me? I just don’t undo my laces. Never got on with them really.

  59. Jim says:

    You may enjoy this shoe lacing website.

  60. Marc says:

    Try running in slip on shoes from a dog. We’ll see how priceless and a great idea they are once you get caught and mauled.

  61. Patrick says:

    Apparently designer Marc Newson doesn’t think much of laces either. He designed these Swiss cheese wonders for Nike. Limited to 140 pairs for the US (wtf?).

  62. hawk says:

    Or people are simply getting too dumb to tie their shoes nowadays. Where is it all going to end?

  63. luxuryluke says:

    lace on, lace off, the lacer (not available in stores, et al.) (ad for shoehorn).

  64. I’ve worn slip ons for years, oh nope there laced I just force my feet into them sod the laces :)

  65. Peter says:

    Most people I know have lace-up shoes, but never untie them, so they effectively function as slip-ons. They look at me like I’m crazy for tying/untying my shoes each time.
    apparently I use the surgeon knot, and have been for as long as I can remember.

  66. Dallas says:

    I dont know how old all you are… but im 15.. and like everyone else i hate lacin up my shoes. I wear adidas old skools and vans alot because of the ability to tie them once and slip them on each time. Nike shoes mostly arent like that. Ya airports are a lag kuz of the security krap. For one of the comments above.. IF a dawg chases you, just kick one of your shoes at him! No way u kan outrun a dawg ne ways TRY that one with lace ups fewl

  67. Ray says:

    My only lace up shoes are sneaks. I wear loafers/slip-ons most of the time. Easy to slip off and on at airport security, plus is more comfy to kick my loafers off while i’m working at my deck with no hassle. Go figure?

  68. jjeter says:

    when i want to not tie my new skating shoes and such, i just go with the flow and make a crazy looking design with my laces. i go back and fourth from laces till it looks cool the put the laces through the top holes and tie a knot. the PRESTO i hav some comfy fitting shoes. you can do it on basketball shoes. i made a slip knot at the end so i can tighten them better than with a regular bow tie.

  69. jessi says:

    When I lace my Etnies I like to *barlace them
    * barlace also known as lazy lacing

  70. Lori says:

    I stumbled on to this website accidentally and I am totally amazed that so may people are actually commenting on shoelaces…. It’s Crazy

  71. Carly says:

    I was just wondering if anyone could possibly tell me, about old school adidas what different colored laces mean? i read an article on adidas.com and one of the collectors was talking bout it any thoughts??

  72. Greshen says:

    I’m so glad I stumbled onto your site. My husband (35) has recently declared that he will no longer wear shoes with laces. We were having trouble finding sneakers, but the Reebok Pump 2s look great and I really like the shoes at Royal Elastics. Now we’re looking for laceless hiking boots — any ideas?

  73. sj;fla says:

    You people are so…somthing I won’t say. You TIE YOUR SHOES?! Seriously. Bar lace ‘em at least. I mean COME ON! Or you can lace them so that there normal but stick the laces in the top whole the other way and tuck them in your shoes.

  74. Anonymous says:

    I like shoes with laces because you can put the laces inside the shoes and that looks really cool with my Air Max runners

  75. English Person says:

    I cannot wear laceless shoes, as my feet are too narrow. They would just slip off. However, I once tried on some very nice slip-on trainers.
    I tend to think that men look a little too casual in laceless shoes, but as I believe strongly in removing one’s shoes at the doors of homes, I can see the sense in them.

  76. Andrew Frederick says:

    I like lace shoes sometimes I will while I am in a public place untie my shoes with people watching and leave them untied just to see peoples reactions. I like it when I untie them I can feel them slowly loosen up and I like the feel sometimes I will take one foot and rub the lace on the other shoe to loosen the bow until it unties.

  77. Dee says:

    How about trying some skateboarding shoes people? they have laces but they are also slip ons. check them out… http://www.etnies.com!

  78. Mel says:

    i’m from Australia, a nation prestigous for it’s laziness. We avoid exerting any amount of energy by wearing thongs (flip-flops) instead of bothering with laces.

  79. yellowbear says:

    Im with ya. Barlacing shoes is the way to go.

  80. RSLR says:

    I’m sick of laces too. I am able to wear loafers to work, but I have not yet rid myself of lace-up running shoes. I think I am going to go shopping for some right now.

  81. dan says:

    When I moved to Tortola in 1991, flip flops became my sole means of transportation. I NEVER touch my shoes/footwear! Plus, my feet never SMELL anymore! Plus, I never insult anyone by not taking my footwear off when I enter there house!
    Now I spend winters back in the BVI and summers in Sag Harbor, NY. I’ve chosen this lifestyle primarily so I don’t have to alter my footwear…
    It’s about time people are coming around!

  82. Larry says:

    I’ve started to do the exact same thing. I feel like I have achieved a whole new level of laziness…

  83. Leo says:

    Non-lace shoes wear out quicker; you always tend to slip in- and out of them all the time :)