Crossing the Eyestay

Blue sneakers with cross crossing orange laces A situation is tolerable until the experience of better terms. Something unnoticed perhaps for years becomes unbearable. Little things. Big things. It depends on perspective. For me, the little thing of tactile sensitivity and shoelaces apparently is a big thing.

My kinda neurotic history with shoelaces stems from a pair of cherished Keds in elementary school. The pastel upper in contrast to the bright white laces encouraged it. In the third grade, those thin kicks encouraged plantar fasciitis, too. Hey, I played tag with tenacity, no regrets. Then in fourth grade, a switch to the high top, criss-cross laced Reebok pumps, the placebo of tight footwear. The short, ill-fated time in the intramural league did not leave a strong impression on my feet. I continued to relace running shoes straight through high school. My shoes, my way: the bar lace AKA the fashion lace style. Tidy and secure without dorsal pain. Most sneakers only needed to be sorted once; set it and forget it. Months later, turn the eyestay back and a previously hidden, dirty shoelace at the grommet junction stares back.

Some people are ok with the traditional crisscrossed style. Some may not mind the excessive amount of care needed to keep hiking boots sturdy. Then there’s the still out of reach–for most of us–Nike Mag solution teased in Back to the Future. C’mon designer people, you had twenty five years to master the auto laces. Sigh. No matter, tons of lace styles exist. So many ways in fact, many websites explain and discuss them in depth like a fantasy football roster comparison. Here’s one take on my bar lace.

Last month I needed new sneakers in order to combat a baby bunion jockeying for a toehold. With no luck from the pseudo-warehouse shoe store, I searched online. Ordered. Shipped. Tried on. Felt great…on my soles. I wore them, pleased with the extra room in the toe-box, no pinch.

Last weekend, I’m in my sister’s laundry room. I go to tighten the laces and that’s when I discovered the real problem: factory bind, a lot of crisscrossing nonsense resembling the facade of a Tudor style house. Unacceptable. I yearn for a punched eyestay with metal grommets reinforcing the eyelets type, not these bare holes and webbed eyelets attached like above ground pipes. It’s messy. It’s not ok.

“Do you need help?” my sister asks as she bends over my crouching figure. I fumble to get them fixed. I wave her off and continue my speedy assessment. My low vision honed tactile skills overcome the black on black, low contrast material. I discover the full issue: the shoe is not constructed with uniform eyelets, it’s half punched eyelet, half webbed eyelet. No hiding the lace movement in the bar style. (I understand I’m going down the road of sneaker nerd territory. I’m sorry.) I cinch my laces for the time being and we depart.

I’d love to know the percentage of the population who cares about lacing styles. Maybe I’m in the niche of a niche. Let’s hope not. There are a lot of things I don’t see and don’t miss anymore with my visual impairment. With laces though, I want them to feel as good as they look, rather than mirroring a tired Jim Breuer meeting a chatty Jack Nicholson in an elevator.

Sneakers with near to Bar lacingPlayground determination reemerged and I figured out a way to trick my webbed eyelets into compliance. Let’s just say I’m not entirely pleased, and if I buy my next pair online, I’ll be zooming in a lot on those images. There will be no more punchless sneakers on these feet. For me, it’s important. You win some, you lose some. Then you get your laces even.


How do you lace your sneakers? Do you notice how other people lace theirs? Have you reached the point of no return and gone velcro? Tell me about it.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. charliejenny says:

    Being Autistic my fine motor skills stink. Tying shoes is a journey in itself I am not good at, and most likely never will be. So I do my two bunny ear trick when I have to wear them, and live in non lace boots the rest of the time.

    1. Great alternative to laces.

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