It’s pretty much inevitable: Your shoelaces are going to come untied at some point, and the odds are high it’ll trip you up in a very public way. Now, a group of mechanical engineers at UC Berkeley have conducted an in-depth study to put their degrees to good use and figure out why, exactly, this always happens.
The study, which was published in the journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society A, was sparked after researchers stumbled across a 2005 TED Talk in which Terry Moore, director of the Radius Foundation (a forum for exploring and gaining insight from different worldviews) broke down the right way to tie shoes. But the researchers wanted to figure out why shoes become untied at all, so they embarked on an actual scientific study.
For the study, scientists used an experimental treadmill and filmed the laces on a pair of shoes as someone walked with a slow-motion camera. They also analyzed different types of knots.
>’s what they found: Laces come untied due to a combination of the force created . your shoe repeatedly hitting the ground and the swinging that happens as you walk or run. Researchers also discovered that shoes tied with a “weak knot,” i.e. when your laces lay parallel with your foot after being laced, always came untied before shoes with a “strong knot,” a situation when you switch which loop goes over the other in the second step of tying your shoe (as a result, the loops fall perpendicular to your foot).
The conclusion: Go with a strong knot whenever possible. Of course, you could also just tie a double-knot in your laces. It won’t eliminate the problem entirely, but it will lower the odds you’ll fall flat on your face at work as a result of a rogue untied shoelace.
.: Men’s Health
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