Why your shoelaces come untied when you run


This must be one of the most frustrating things that happens a when you go out on a fun run! You have tried so many different knots and double knots, yet they still manage to come untied! It can be so awkward finding a suitable place to stop and bend over, then re-lace your shoes safely before carrying on your run.

Why does this happen?

It has happened to us all, but have you ever actually asked why it happens? Is there anything we can do to make this annoying thing happen less often? Believe it or knot (sorry!) there was a study conducted at the University of California at Berkeley, and researchers studied shoelace knots.

Studies showed that there might be more behind the problem with shoelaces coming untied than meets the eye. Researchers wanted to be able to understand knotted structures, so used the shoelace as a simple method of attempting to do this, then with their findings would try and apply this new found knowledge to other, more complex matters such as DNA.

Understanding the knot

No experiments had been done previously to test which knots were better than others, so we have to admire the originality of their research ideas. Studies conducted included lots of different experiments like using a slow-motion camera, running on a treadmill and using a bow knot to tie the laces of running shoes.

What they found

When we run, there is a lot of impact which can be up to 7 times the force of gravity!! This makes the knots that are tied in your laces looser as they stretch and relax continuously. Add this to your swinging lower limbs, and you create inertia, giving the end part of the laces enough momentum to pull the knots apart.

They then tried adding weight to the end of each lace, and this made the knots fall apart even quicker! So sometimes it seems mother nature always has the upper hand when it comes to the outcome of determining the possibility vs. outcome of situations!

Do different laces work better?

Scientists believe that some materials will be better, but the fundamental causes will always be the same, it may simply happen sooner to some people through personal choices and physical patterns than others. Just because this problem is inevitable does not mean you should become careless at tying your laces, Not tying them is a one-stop request to a severe injury that will put your running career on hold or may stop it all together.

It is unpredictable in how and when it will exactly happen, but tying double knots that are tight and secure means you will less likely have to stop on a run to redo your shoe laces. Or the alternative is to buy running shoes that don’t need laces; there are plenty of options available that offer secure and comfortable arch and heel support. So keep on running and don’t let you laces get you down!