Many years ago, a great break through was made in shoes, through the acceptance of athletic shoes (trainers in Europe) in circles that before had expected more formal footwear. They combine comfort, function, lower cost, and even fashion. Almost all people who work or study at Stanford or in what is called Silicon Valley, if not most people in the world, wear them. I took to them effortlessly, and have only one pair of shiny black shoes I wear when I figure that they are called upon. But complications set in even here because of fashion and the desire of companies to increase profit. The fashion angle occurs because of the desire to appear “athletic”, the profit from selling them to people who want to look like some one they admire (Air Jordans?).
Although at one time I was involved in sports, I no longer am, nor do I want to be. But I do walk a lot, engage in manual labor, ride my bicycle, etc. I lead an active life but not a competitive one. By rights I should be a perfect match to so-called walking shoes, and if I can find them wide enough and shaped somewhat the same as my feet (the front of my feet are somewhat square, not pointed) and in black instead of appearing that they belong to an endorsed professional athlete, they should be perfect.
But, why can’t the manufacturers figure out the laces to fit we amateurs. I don’t need extra long laces, because I don’t need or want a “heel lock”. And I don’t want to tighten them one set of holes at a time, so what’s with the little bitty holes through which the laces need to be pulled? I seem to remember that shoes had eyelets so one could simply haul on them from the top and tie them. Now they seem to want to be like runner’s shoes, where tugging them tight one crossing (or whatever) at a time makes them fit more closely. The photo below shows two different samples of my shoes, made by established companies. The lace on the shoe on the left has gone through all existing holes, and is still obviously too long. It is also obviously too fat to fit through the very small holes in the shoe. Like many of these types of fabric laces, it is on its way to losing the plastic tips that do fit through the holes. After both of these are gone, new laces will be required.
The shoe on the right uses wire loops to hold the laces except for the top holes (which an informal survey shows are not used by my friends). So for me, they are the proper length, but even though they are only three weeks old, the wire loops are stripping off the black covering, and even doing it in such a way that the covering ends up over the plastic ends, requiring a scissors to strip it away, and leaving what one of my friends calls “interesting looking” laces. So using the top holes, the left shoe laces are okay in length. The right shoe laces are okay in length if one does not use the top holes. But the stripable fabric laces make me look pretty indigent
I may seem overly picky, but I don’t want to buy new laces to fit the usage of ever pair of shoes I buy. I also don’t want to go through my vocabulary of curse words while tying and untying them. I want informal comfortable shoes that don’t pretend that I am an athlete. Been there, done that. I was pleased when it seemed that Velcro was taking over from shoe laces, but it didn’t seem to happen, leaving me often trying to stuff the unraveled end of a string through a hole of a lesser size, and spending more time than I want to fastening my shoes so I can get about my life.