His name sounds like a Cluedo character, but he is not.
I was having a pretty average Tuesday morning when a colleague alerted me to the institution that is Professor Shoelace. That’s when everything changed.
Professor Shoelace is a 55-year-old man called Ian Fieggen. He lives in Melbourne with his partner Inge and describes himself as “Not a knotting nut. I’m just a friendly Aussie guy trying to contribute to the internet”.
Ian is inspiring. His passion for tying shoelaces is infectious and at his very core, he’s just a lovely man who wants to make life a bit easier for everyone.
Here’s where my problem comes in. I tie my laces like this:
Pretty standard procedure, I always thought. I tie the laces as normal, then do a second knot because I don’t like having extra lace dangling over the sides of my shoes.
I cannot and will not ever understand how people simply tuck their loose laces into their shoes. It baffles me. I’ve tried it on numerous occasions and can always feel the aglets poking into my feet (Shoelace trivia – aglets are the little plastic bits on the end of your laces). It’s an uncomfortable and frankly inhumane procedure.
Approximately seven months ago, a friend remarked that the way I tie my shoelaces is “funny”. I immediately refuted the claims and continued about my business. However, seven months on, I’m still thinking about that remark. It haunts me. Do I tie my shoelaces in a “funny” way? I didn’t realise there was a funny way to tie your shoes, unless you lay the laces out flat on the ground to spell out ‘fart’. That’s pretty funny.
The remark has manifested itself into my psyche. I am paranoid. Is my shoelace tying technique a talking point among my friends? Am I making a fool of myself with a system that I have put in place solely for comfort? I don’t know. So I’m going to find a better way to tie my shoes in the hopes of putting this whole debacle to bed. That’s where my saviour Professor Shoelace comes in.
I decided to try out a variety of the Professor’s techniques to find one that a) isn’t funny and b) looks cool. Herein lies the story of how I spent five hours obsessing over a completely unnecessary task.
Professor Shoelace’s instructions were pretty basic. He shows you the finished product, then holds up his phone which is showing an illustration from his website and then shows the technique in real time. The videos date back as old as 2011 so I’ll forgive Prof for not knowing how to insert the video into this one rather than holding up his phone on camera.
I followed the demonstration and ended up with this:
I think I laced them up too tight because the over and under thing isn’t very visible. Also, it took me 15 minutes to do this technique and I still don’t like the dangly bits of lace floating around at the top. They will get caught in a passing cyclist’s pedal and my leg will rip clean off. NEXT.
I continued my quest to find a suitable shoe lacing pattern with ‘Gap Lace’, which sounds like a very specific type of bra. Again, I followed Professor Shoelace’s instructions and appreciated his comforting tone. He didn’t address it in any of the videos, but his entire approach to the techniques was so easy going, it’s as if he could tell that anyone watching these videos would be in a heightened state of turmoil, so he adopts a tone similar to one you’d use talking someone down off the edge of a very high building.
Not to brag, but I’ve absolutely nailed that one as well. I can’t quite understand why you’d ever want to tie your laces this way. If anything, this is funny. The way I’ve always been tying my laces isn’t one bit funny. I maintain that. But this technique looks like someone has had a very brief lapse in concentration halfway through the lacing process, then quickly gotten back on track without noticing the mishap. NEXT.
Questionable naming aside, it was time for me to try one of Professor Shoelace’s more difficult techniques since I was absolutely nailing the others. I felt confident that I could conquer anything. Then I saw the finished product of the Gippo Lace.
I started at a loss because I didn’t have any extra-long shoelaces at my disposal since I’m not into fetishes. But I did my best with what I had and I’m proud of myself for getting through one of the more difficult shoe lacing techniques.
You can’t really see my work as clearly as Professor Shoelace’s because I’ve clearly pulled the laces too tight again, but please believe me that the diagonals are hidden underneath. I did my best, but the Gippo method still wasn’t right for me. The research continued.
At my very core, I am a respectful lady. The corset lace spoke to me as a strong frontrunner in becoming my go-to shoelace tying method. Look at it, FFS. This is the picture of sophistication. ‘Her laces are so elegant’, they will say about me behind my back.
I’m not too proud to admit that on this occasion, I fucked it. I absolutely fucked it.
To start with, Professor Shoelace had used a sneaky six eyelet shoe as opposed to the eight eyelet shoes he’d been working with up until this point. Genius here noticed that approximately two thirds into the process and had to improvise. I was ultimately left with too much lace at the bottom and not enough in the middle to create a bow. I despise this method and have no further comment to make on the matter. Please respect my privacy at this time.
Spider Web Lace
At this point my hands were aching. It’s very intricate work and I have very little patience. The only thing driving me on was the fear of my shoelace tying method ever being called ‘funny’ again. I regained composure and put everything I had into this next method, the Spider Web Lace.
Armed with my mistakes of the past, I instantly noticed that old Iany boy had used a cheeky five eyelet shoe. Currently not in possession of a five eyelet shoe, I adapted accordingly. This one was tricky, but it was also my final hope at some kind of solution to my pressing problem because I was sick of lacing at this stage.
Oh heck. This one turned out to be very special. The little loops on the outside add a touch of class, while the crisscross pattern adds some excitement into the shoe. Somehow, my version looks nothing like Professor Shoelace’s example, but that’s fine. We are all unique snowflakes anyway.
I’ve decided that the Spider Web Lace is a good way to tie shoelaces and this will be my new look. Is it funny? No. Is it as advertised, like a spider’s web? Again, no. But is it cool? Yes. My shoes look cool now. Thank you Professor Shoelace for saving my life and making my shoe tying technique look unfunny.
The Ian Knot
It’s important to add that Professor Shoelace has invented his own knot (cleverly called the ‘Ian Knot’).
He claims it to be ‘the world’s fastest shoelace knot’, so naturally I had to investigate the validity of such a bold claim.
His technique involves creating the loop as you tighten the laces as opposed to doing it in two separate moves.
It took longer than I’d care to admit for me to figure out how this one works. Basically, you create two loose loops without closing them, then grab each loose bit of lace and pull them through the loops.
The video explains it slightly better, but you still need to have a bit of a feel around yourself until it works properly. I don’t dispute Ian’s claim that it’s the fastest knot in the world, but I will kindly suggest that he needs to add an asterisk at the end of the title.
As you can see in the video, he ties the initial lace tying knot before he performs the world’s fastest one. So there’s a bit of cheating going on before the admittedly very impressive feat takes place. Regardless, I will use this knot going forward because I am a busy and important person who could put the valuable half a second saved to great use. Plus, I owe Professor Shoelace a great deal of gratitude and this will serve as a good reminder.
The Ciara Knot
As I slipped into my newly laced shoes, I realised that I couldn’t come all this way without adding to the shoelace community. The only fitting conclusion to this piece is for me to create my own shoelace style and tying technique. I didn’t want to just steal someone else’s design. That’s not how it works. I continued my research and perfected the methods I’d learned until my fingers literally bled from boredom. But I got there. I invented the Ciara Knot.
I know what you’re thinking, and don’t. I’ve got a patent pending on this design so trying to pass it off as your own to make millions of pounds isn’t going to work.
The Ciara Knot is a revolutionary concept that is going to change the world and solve everyone’s problems just like Professor Shoelace’s work has done for me. Nobody is going to describe the Ciara Knot as ‘funny’ because they’ll be too perplexed by its intricacy to even gauge whether it’s funny or (k)not.
What’s the number one problem with shoe laces? They open and cause you to trip over them. The Ciara Knot laughs in the face of this shortcoming because it has solved the problem and then some. Your laces aren’t going to open easily if they require a key to unlock them, are they?
When you use the Ciara Knot, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that it’s going to take a lot of work to untie those laces. Nobody will call it funny because it isn’t. Stupid, sure, but not funny.
Go forth and turn your life around like I have with the help of Professor Shoelace in association with the Ciara Knot. You’re welcome, society.
Instructional images via Professor Shoelace